The story of Adesola Orimalade, our Director of Treasury
Storytelling has always been an integral part of my life. A little bit of that is linked to my culture and upbringing. As a child growing up in Nigeria, storytelling was and still remains a part of our culture. I still remember vividly the characters and content of some of these stories; the Tortoise being the main protagonist in many of them. Although all these stories were very entertaining, they were also full of moral messages. Many of these stories had been passed down from one generation to another, from those who told the stories to those who listened.
Later on, we had a very popular television series called ‘Tales By Moonlight’ which again was about storytelling. As a child, I was a daydreamer and in my escapades I would often imagine life in the future, living in another place or country, and so on … I had a good imagination and the world in my daydream presented unlimited opportunities for me. My Dad also encouraged me to start reading early and I remember I used to take one of the daily newspapers and sit there trying to read and understand the words/stories. In case you are wondering, yes, I was also a very inquisitive child; always asking loads of questions.
When you put together the environment around storytelling, the cultural impact and the personal trait I had for daydreaming, you could say those experiences laid the foundation for my entire journey as a writer and storyteller.
When did I start writing?
I cannot recollect with vivid imagination when I first put pen to paper but I knew that it all started when I was in primary school in Nigeria. I remember sharing these manuscripts with my classmates and friends and they absolutely loved them. I would also draw cartoon characters and share these too with my friends and classmates…. I can still draw but my writing is much better than my drawing and painting abilities.
How does this help people around me?
As an adult, I have had many life experiences, and yet like most people I have held with me. a lot of those experiences and the lessons from them. A few years ago I worked for an organisation in a town in Hampshire, England. On some days and during my lunch break I would walk to a small church in the town, sit there and have some quiet meditation. The church had a small cemetery in the courtyard and I would have to walk through this courtyard to get to the church. Some of the headstones were from the 19th century and I used to pause to look at them, thinking about all the people now buried in this space. I would often wonder how many of these people took with them so many stories and experiences that were never shared; for one reason or another.
We all have a story to tell but many of us; for many reasons, will not share those stories with others. Some people will not even share those stories with their closest friends and family. Whether I am writing a children’s book or an article on homelessness I always hope I am using that medium to educate, inform and/or entertain my readers.
What inspires me is people, life, the experience of others, my own experience and of course, reading. I have just written and published a picture book titled ‘Grandpa’s Shoes’, suitable for children between the age of 5 and 7 years.
The story of “Grandpa’s Shoes”
“Grandpa’s Shoes” is a book I wrote about family, the intergenerational flow that exists, the warmth between family members and it is about dreams coming true.
What made me want to write this book?
The last twelve months have been extremely difficult for all of us. As a community, regardless of whether I know you closely or not, all of us, whether directly or otherwise, have been affected by the events of the last year. Even though no one can say with certainty if and when we would be able to say we are “beyond the pandemic”, in the midst of the continued grief and uncertainties, healing needs to start.
Healing here refers to that deep ingrained belief that we will once again live our lives again and that however that may look, we will find ways and means to do those things we had been robbed by the effect of the pandemic. “Grandpa’s Shoes: is therefore a story of hope, of dreams lost and regained and of a new future.
The main character is Kevin. You may wonder what makes him so special? As a child, I was a daydreamer and while not all of those dreams have become reality, I feel blessed that I was able to dream and can still dream. Many times, we deny children the ability and space to daydream and in doing so we end up robbing them of an essential part of childhood. Kevin is a daydreamer and that is a beautiful attribute to teach and nurture in children. In writing this book, my publisher and I wanted to reflect on the world as it is today. The family is today more and more diverse and multicultural hence Kevin and his sister are mixed race. Kevin’s parents are of mixed race and of Indian origin, Grandpa is of African origin while Grandma is white. The question is, would Grandpa’s Shoes ever get the chance to go out again?
That’s the million-dollar question…I can’t give anything away now so you’ll have to wait and see but as the book has shown us, it is never wrong to keep hope alive.
Do you find Adesola’s work inspiring as we do and you would like to work closely with him? Check out our open positions in Finance and don’t hesitate to apply.