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Becoming The American Dream

Godwin Daf is the personification of the “American Dream”.

Daf is a black immigrant from Lagos, Nigeria. He came to the United States with his wife and two kids in the 2000.

At 18, Daf began to play the immigration lottery known as  “The Diversity Immigrant Visa”. The DV Program allows for up to 55,000 immigrant visas to be awarded each year. Foreign nationals of countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. can participate in a random drawing for the potential of getting an immigrant visa.

Daf played the DV lottery for 14 years. Through those long years of waiting he never lost hope. “I applied and played every year because I knew that it was my purpose to come to America,” said Daf.

While he was applying and making plans to come to America, his life in Nigeria didn’t stop.  He lost both of his parents, graduated college, got married and had his two daughters. All the while he was planning his move because he knew in his heart his approval will come.

In 1998 after a routine doctor’s visit with his wife, they found out they were pregnant with their second child. That same day Daf went to check the mail where he found the letter he had prayed for.

“My dream has come true, and I’ll now be able to provide the best life for my kids.”- Godwin Daf

People that are born outside of the U.S. have high expectations for what life is supposed to look like. “The transition was harder than we imagined,” said Daf.

Initially, they planned for his mother-in-law to come to the U.S. soon after they got settled, so that she could help with the children. This would allow both him and his wife be able to attend school here in the U.S. Unfortunately, later that year she passed away suddenly. They were alone in a new country and struggled a lot, working multiple jobs just to make ends meet.

Just when they thought things couldn’t get harder, in early 2002 his wife found out she was pregnant with their third child. Daf contemplated going back to Nigeria, because of how hard things were for them. He and his wife prayed that they would get some sort of breakthrough.

Then in 2004, Daf got a job working and going to school to be a mechanic. In 2005 he finished the program and was finally able to purchase a house. Shortly after buying their house, they had their second son, “Everything began to fall in place the right way at the right time,” said Daf.

After years of working as a mechanic, Daf decided that it was finally time to live out his American dream and open up his own business, “Daf Auto Repair LLC”. He is now his own boss and is breaking the harmful stereotypes against black business owners. He a part of the 2.4% of black businesses owners.

Daf’s mechanic shop has been open for 13 years now and he is looking to expand into a used car lot in the next year.

Photo by Stephanie Obediku
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