March 11, 2009 > Local Meals on Wheels driver writes nonfiction
Local Meals on Wheels driver writes nonfiction
By Monica L. Barbara
There's more to this LIFE EdlerCare Meals on Wheels Driver than meets the eye. Bob Siller has worked part-time for the organization for almost three years with a daily routine of picking up meals from Livermore and delivering them to seniors in Fremont. He is also a published author whose travels and experiences in Nigeria inspired his writing.
A long-time resident of the Bay Area, Siller served in the military for four years and then worked as a data communications operator for the U.S. Civil Service before becoming the co-owner of a sporting good store in East Oakland in 1977. It is the latter that would prove to be life changing.
Siller first traveled to Nigeria in 1978 to pursue a business opportunity. "I had my sporting goods store, and I supplied a Nigerian businessman with an order for the Nigerian Army. After they received the order, they invited me to Nigeria for future business," says Siller. Siller's pursuits would lead him back to Nigeria four times.
"Before I knew it, I was there for 14 years," says Siller. During those 14 years, he witnessed many of Nigeria's painful realities, "living under military rule, corruption, ethnic and religious intolerance," but he also came to know Nigeria's people. "Despite these difficulties, I had the opportunity of sharing the warm and friendly relationships with members of the three major ethnic groups (Hausa, Ibo, and Yoruba) and some of the over 250 minorities," says Siller.
He returned to the states with a passion to share what he'd witnessed with others. The culmination of that passion to share came about in October of 2008 when Siller completed writing A Country Called Nigeria: The Journey of an African American Businessman Who Lived in Nigeria for more than Fourteen Years.
A Country Called Nigeria was self-published by Siller through Xlibris. It has, to date, sold between 250-500 copies. The initial book release took place in March of 2008 at the Fremont Community Center, and Siller plans to be at the National Black Book Festival May 16-17 in Houston, TX. In the coming months, Siller will be distributing A Country Called Nigeria to Bay Area libraries and planning publicity events throughout the Bay Area.
Of his future Siller says, "I had no plans of becoming a writer, but after experiencing what I experienced in Nigeria, I knew I had to become a writer. My second book will be Journeys in Time, based on the oral traditions of my ancestors, and will be a positive reflection of how an African American community lived during a post-slavery period."
The most important thing Siller hopes readers will take away from A Country Called Nigeria is, "a positive attitude." He adds, "I want people to learn something from it. The way I see it, it's educational, historic. It's about how other ethnic groups live their lives. It's an adventurous book from a political and social standpoint. It's all about trying to pass on good will to someone else."
For more information about Bob Siller, visit www.robertsillerjr.com. A Country Called Nigeria can be purchased online through Amazon.com or Xlibris.com.
A Country Called Nigeria
ISBN (TP): 978-1-4257-8666-3
ISBN (HB): 978-1-4257-8674-8