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Lilian Abdul

Lilian Abdul

Accountant and Mother of Six

Born: Nigeria
Heritage: Nigerian

When you see someone different from you, think about that person. They might have something they are struggling with. They might need help from you. Say hello, be kind. A lot of immigrants come to America and they need your help. It starts with you kids. Their skin might be different but their hearts are the same as yours.

Lilian Abdul

Accountant and Mother of Six

My name is Lilian Abdul. I was born May 13, 1957 in Nigeria, West Africa. Nigeria is a male dominated country. Women and children do not have the same rights as men. Men are in control and women and children are not allowed to question anything or speak their mind.

I was raised in a very devout Catholic family. We went to morning mass during the week. Religion played a role in forming my character. Growing up, I went to Catholic school and was taught by nuns.

The nuns taught us to be good kids and disciplined us by hitting us with rulers when we talked out of turn. There I learned how to speak English, and decided that I wanted to be a nun too. I joined the convent. I learned many things there too.

When my father died my life changed. I decided not to be a nun and I went to college. I married a man who was Muslim by birth. Because I am Catholic nobody believed that the marriage would work, but he was a good man. He allowed me to practice my Christianity and agreed to raise our children Catholic. I stayed steadfast because I loved him and my marriage was based on love.

We read the Koran and the Bible. Eventually my husband decided to become a Christian too. He had 3 children of his own and we had 3 more children, 6 children all together. My husband was a professor at a University and I went to college and got a 4-year degree in accounting and a 2 year degree in business.

Sadly, my husband passed away, leaving me in Nigeria with 6 children to raise. I was scared for my children and I wanted them to have a good life. I decided to go to America, where women and children have freedom.

When I got to America my kids were accepted in school, but it was hard for me to find a job even though I was qualified and did well on the tests. My kids were treated very well in school, but it was hard for me to be accepted by people at church. We were different, but as people got to know me, they accepted me.

Now, I am free. I can speak my mind. I can practice my religion. My kids can go to school. I got a job as an accountant at a very good company. I can earn money and the money has value. I can buy clothes and can eat good food. America is a good country. I call it the land of milk and honey.


Nigeria, West Africa

Honoring Lilian Abdul

Nigeria, West Africa

I was born in Nigeria
Nigeria, West Africa
Colonized a poor country
Didn’t have much money
Nigeria, West Africa

Walked to school with no shoes on
On the playground we would sing songs
With our bodies danced for fun
In a Catholic School taught by nuns
Nigeria, West Africa

If we talked we got hit
Then I joined the convent
Sewing clothes growing food
Without men controlling you
Nigeria, West Africa

After my father passed away
Left the convent, made a change
Fell in love with a good man
Who believed in Islam
Nigeria, West Africa

He had three children of his own
Before we married and built a home
He agreed to let me raise
Our children in a Catholic way
Nigeria, West Africa

After my husband passed away
I needed to make a change
Without him had to think twice
Before I spoke might lose my life
Nigeria, West Africa

So we came to the U.S.A.
Where children don’t have to pay
To go to school like I did
Give respect to the kids
Nigeria, West Africa

Yet in this land of the free
Even with a college degree
Couldn’t find work that would pay
Much above minimum wage
Nigeria, West Africa

At first at church people didn’t come
To ask me where I’m from
What could I do to meet them
I just want to be their friend
Nigeria, West Africa

After a while I realized
They were afraid, so was I
Reached out to them, now them to me
Now, at last, I am free
Nigeria, West Africa

Words & music by Larry Long with Carrie Nord’s 3rd Grade Class of Wilshire Park Elementary School
St. Anthony Village, Minnesota

© Larry Long 2009 / BMI