News: Brothers' journey takes them from Italy, Nigeria to Southern California
Story by Cpl. Thomas Bricker
BARSTOW, Calif. - The saying goes 'birds of a feather flock together,' meaning those with common interests or characteristics are more likely to keep each other's company, but what about family?
Two contractors on Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow have flown across the globe together, experienced new countries and cultures, and now share a common destination each work week.
Seun and Seyi (pronounced Shawn and Shay) Dodo-Williams, web and database administrators on base, were both born in Italy. Before they came to the U.S., the brothers spent nearly 10 years in Africa.
"My family moved to Nigeria in 1990," said Seun, the elder brother of three years. "I remember my dad traveled between the two countries [Italy and Nigeria] when we were little," he added.
The two got their first glimpse of a military environment at a young age. Seun explained that the school he attended as a child had a lot of military structure to it. Students learned to stand in formations in assembly each morning and also marched as a class.
In 1999, the brothers and their family left the Eastern Hemisphere to settle in a new country, America.
"We moved to Southern California from Nigeria when I was 15 years old," explained Seun. "We had family who lived here so that's why we came," he added.
As they each finished high school, Seun and Seyi attended college, majoring in computer information systems and chemical engineering respectively. Seyi later changed his major to business and contract administration.
Upon graduation from school, Seun worked as a freelance web designer for several months before coming to MCLB Barstow.
"I was looking through employment websites for a bit," Seun said. "One day, I got a call from a contracting agency about a job up here. It sounded good, so I took it," he added.
It wasn't long after Seun began his work on base that he would soon see a familiar face. Nearly a month later, Seyi began to work on the base as well.
"The same guy that talked to Seun [about the contract on base] mentioned another job dealing with databases," explained Seyi. "Seun told him I worked with them on a regular basis and I applied for that job," he added.
Seyi later explained he was a bit skeptical to apply for a job on the same military installation that employed his brother. Having never dealt with any military work before, he was unsure if rules prohibited it due to conflicts of interest.
This wasn't the only thing in which the brothers were in the dark. Before coming to work on MCLB Barstow, the only information they had on how the Marine Corps worked was relayed to them through television.
"I actually expected to see Marines jumping out of helicopters and doing drills all over the place when I first came here," Seun said with a laugh. "I didn't know what to expect."
"The only thing we had to gauge it on was the movie 'Full Metal Jacket,'" added Seyi. "We knew it was going to be different but we didn't know how different," he chuckled.
Since coming to MCLB Barstow in late 2011, the Dodo-Williams brothers have come to understand the military lifestyle a lot better. Each one works with Marines on a daily basis and has been able to immerse themselves in a new kind of life.
"It took me a while to adjust, but I've caught on to a lot of things. I've noticed how important the rank system is to Marines and how professional they are in their work environment," explained Seyi. "It's great working with them. They're great people: funny, courteous, and down to earth," he added.
Working on the same base with the same schedule has worked out for Seun and Seyi. The two brothers carpool everyday to save on gas.
When not at work, the two can be found indulging in their hobbies, some of which they share as well. While Seun works in photography and plays soccer in his free time, Seyi reads works of nonfiction and surfs the internet. Both are fans of music and video games and active in their church.
The brothers plan to stay with MCLB Barstow as long as they can and continue their work. When Seun first came to Barstow for work, he was reminded of his time in Nigerian primary school, but he's gotten used to the way the base runs and enjoys his work here.
"It's a great job. If we can keep renewing our contracts, I'd have no problem staying here," Seun concluded.