There’s always a story behind every story.
1993, that was the beginning of my story. We fled from my country of birth walking for 2 weeks bare feet across the savanna grassland of Eastern Africa, from South Sudan to Uganda. I was barely 6 or 7.

I remembered seeing both young and old people with blisters all over their feet. Mosquitos and other wildlife tormented people during the nights and dehydration afflicted them during the day. As we walked, we could hear the sound of heavy guns echoing from a distance, as if it was coming our way forcing us to walk even faster, with a heavy load on top of everyone heads. I was given 5 liters of salt to carry. If you didn’t know, salt is crazy heavy: that shit made me stumble painfully as I moved along .

Anyway, we crossed about 7 dangerous rivers and I almost fell victim of one. I somehow decided it was a good idea to jump into the river to attempt to cross it on my own. I was helped across by one good samaritan lady who saw me going down stream. At one point, we were hit by a severe storm in the middle of nowhere: there was no shelter and people where afraid to hide under big trees in fear of being hit by lighting. A terrible 2-weeks experience.
If I thought this was bad, the worst was still to come in the form of life in refugee camps. If there was one thing I hated the most, it would be life in refugee camps. After only 2 weeks into the first camp we arrived too, a crisis almost took my life.

The UNHCH, WFP or whoever was responsible provided the refugees with poisonous beans covered in toxic pesticide. The result was hundreds of dead bodies. I was nearly died, but I was miraculously saved by my mom, who had been already in the contry for several months before we arrived. She was staying approximately 8 hours drive away from where our camp was. Apparently the war hit them first and they left several months before us.

My older brother and I were staying with my grandparents at the time. When my mum heard that we were in the country, she came as fast as a bullet. It was a complete miracle not only that she came, but that she received the news that we were in the country. Those days, 100% of the refugees didn’t have access to the telephone. And there was no freedom of movement. Refugees were restricted only to move within the camp. You cannot just get up, pack and go. It was like a prison in the jungle.

So, it was a complete miracle that she came in time. There was no access to any medical center in the camp. When you got sick, you had to pray to God that your immune system would be strong enough to fight whatever you got; or just die. Man, I was sick like a dog. I remember my entire body was swelling up. You could press any part of my body with your fingers and it would go right in. I was seriously more dead than alive.

When my mom saw me, tears rolled down her eyes. I remembered hearing my mom praying. I wasn’t really sure whether she was talking to me or to God. “You will not die, my son, she proclaimed. My heart is pure. I never had any conflict with anyone. And as long as am alive, nothing will happen to you”. At that instance my mom didn’t want to stay another second in that refugee camp.
She just wanted to pick me up and make a U-turn, but her mom and some of her sibling who she hasn’t seen for over a year were also in the camp. To make the matter worst, her mom had leg infection and it was eating itself up. She was in so much pain that she couldn’t sleep at night. On the other hand, her younger sister’s child was sick for a few days and just passed away the same day my mum got there. It was a complete nightmare that you just wish you could wake up from.

But there was no waking up and there was no escaping. We were trapped. Anyway, my mum did whatever she had to do and within 24 hours, we were ready to leave. As we were set to go, suddenly, we couldn’t find any car that could take us. There was no vehicle coming or going from the camp. The only option we had was to pay someone with a bike who could take us on a painful 3 hours ride along a narrow, busy, bumpy and rocky road to a small town where we could possibly find a car.

When we got there, there was no mean of transportation. We waited for more than 10 hours before some old truck showed up and agreed to take us. By the time we got to our destination, I was already so weak that I wasn’t able to walk anymore. I presume that I was a day or two away from death.

My mom threw her bag on the floor, picked me up and put me on her back to carry me to a mission hospital, where they saved my little black ass. I owe everything to my mom and those doctors: After that experience, I wanted nothing more than becoming a doctor myself, but that’s another story. When I got better, we moved back to a refugee camp where I spent the next 10 years of my life, moving from refugee camps to refugee camp in conditions I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

I can describe life in a refugee camps in 5 words: “ A daily fight to survive “. I remembered my entire grade 1 to 3 classroom was under a tree, sitting on rocks that we carried ourselves. You either bring something to sit on, or sit on a dusty floor. There was no other option. They didn’t have enough classrooms or desks to accommodate everyone; I used to share everything with my friends. Pens, books even clothes.
Coming to Australia was a dream until we landed. I felt lonely and stranded. I only spoke basic English with an accent that no one could understand it. In most cases, I had to spell what I mean on a piece of paper because no one understand me.

Right until that time, I didn't know anything about computer. In my computer class, I was the slowest kid. I remembered one white kid from my computer class asked me one time "man, why are you so slow?" I was so slow that, I always had to missed break time just to catch up on my typing. I was not having fun at all. I felt stupid, empty and alone.

The first 5 years in Australia, I was basically living my past. I was looking back on every incident of my life as being a terrible experience. My school days, my relationship with people, my self-esteem, the picture of the future, all were thoughts of negativity. I was creating my secret museum of mental horror daily.

That was when Music came into the picture. My biggest therapy of all time. The only tool that gave me the platform to express what was inside me. For 7 years, I’ve devoted my life and everything I am to creating music and performing. During that time I was writing new lyrics every single day of the week, for 7 years straight. I was always with pen & paper wherever I went. I still do.
It was an obsession. Sometime I would jump out of the shower with soap in my eyes searching for pen and paper because an idea just pop in my head. I’ve written over 8 books of rhymes.

Performed in every most celebrated Festival in Brisbane. Every opening mic, clubs, pubs, you name it. You will find Mantist there performing, paid or not, I didn’t care. For years, I didn’t give a shit about the financial side of things.

After a while, I started developing what I like to call “A musician mentality”. Which is doing everything to prepare yourself for someone to discover you and make you a star. Instead of doing everything to make yourself a star. As the years passed, I was growing more and more anxious that I was way behind financially from where I really wanted to be.
When I arrived in Australia, I came with zero sellable and marketable skills. I could barely speak any English. I did not place my hand on a computer not even one time. So, I was completely new with those tech stuffs.

My very first job was at MacDonald working for $7 an hour. It was a horrible experience. My supervisor, was a hack of a fella. His favourite words were, "come on! come on! people, hurry up! hurry up! customers are waiting." I was feeling so overwhelmed and basically having a horrible time.

One day, he came to me with his hurry up! hurry up! talk and I got fed up and yell out - "HEY MAN, I'M WORKING AS FAST AS I CAN. I'M NOT A MACHINE." Next thing I know, I was being called into the office and receiving, "sorry, we have to let you go" talk.

My second job was at a car wash working for $8 an hour cleaning rich people cars. You always find business cards inside the cars and most of them were driving those $80,000 to $100,000 plus thousand dollars cars. I would some time sit inside and ran my hand over the new leather seats and breath in the new car smell.
I was working so, so hard and they were there chilling and drinking coffee. I would stare through the windows as my boss and the customers shared jokes and laughing. Basically having a good time. I kept thinking to myself, "man, why can't I live like that?"

When I was in college, I got a part-time job as a cleaner. I was cleaning offices after school late into the night. My so call boss did not appreciate anything I did. He would always come back and find mistake in what I did. "The desk is not clean properly. I am taking too slow."

When I finished school, I got myself a so called nice and secure job with a government firm. working in a clean office and earning about $45,000 a year. That was about $2000 a fortnight before tax.

At first, I gotta admit, it felt good. As I reflect back on my journey up to that time. Here is Mantist. Born in a war torn. Raise in a refugee camps. Came to Australia. barely speak any English and within just 8 years, he is already rubbing shoulders with all this middle class people. I was proud of how far I came.

Suddenly, I notice that, I was putting on weight. Sitting 8 hours, Monday to Friday behind a computer started putting it toll on me. I was always been known as Mr fit guy and never before did I felt like, I was losing control of my own body until around that time. I started to see beer belly popping out. I was over eating. Mostly eating out of boredom.
I started to see a pattern that I didn't like and every cells of my body were telling me, "this job thing is not for you man."

One day, a friend of mine invited me to meet this successful guy who is looking for some sharp and ambitious folks for some exciting opportunity. When I went there, it turns out to be a network marketing business meeting. I sat at the back of the building as I listen to the speaker explaining to us how the rich make their money. How the poor make their money. What their differences are in term of mindset. Then he talks about a lifestyle business opportunity they have and what possibilities it can bring to you and your love ones.

After that meeting, it's almost like, a light been turn on inside me. I had this strong feeling that, I've found my place. I was given bunch of cds to go listen which strengthen the conviction. I knew for sure that, working for another man was not for me. That’s how I got into business and started developing my business skills by changing my thinking, changing my action and the rest is history.

P.S. As you can see, if I can do it, you certainly can too. You just need to decide on 3 things right now before we move forward. 1. Decide that you want to build your passion business. 2. Decided on how you are going to build your passion business. PS (This is what am here for. To show you the how. 3. Decide that, you will NEVER QUIT, no matter what challenge or difficulties come your ways until you breakthrough. _ Mantist Oryem. Your friend in success :)
  • Founder of Mantistic Productions
  • Founder of Get Paid Living Your Passion
  • Music Producer and spoken word poet – Mantistmusic.com
  • Performed in many Brisbane festivals such as the Brisbane Festival and the Zillmere Multicultural Festival
  • Headlined for World Refugee Community Day Festival with a turnout of 13,000 plus people
  • Performed in many small festivals such as Youth Day Festival and World Aids Day Festival, and many clubs, pubs, birthday parties, schools, and more
  • Been featured in many magazines and newspaper articles: such as The Courier Mail, MX, City News, Scene Magazine, The Chronicle, and more
  • Appeared on many radio stations (where his music was played or he was interviewed) such as ABC Coast FM, ABC Radio, SBS Radio radio, 4ZZZ and more
  • Released 3 original music albums and 1 spoken word album
  • Sold 25,000 hard and digital copies of his albums
  • Facilitated dozen of music and spoken words workshops
  • Finalist in Australian Poetry Slam 2011
  • Winner of Griffith University short film most outstanding male performance
  • Qmusic song Award finalist 2008 and 2009
  • Major in Audio and Film productions with SAE qantm
  • Diploma in Community Development
  • Early careers in sales and IT Engineering
  • Over 150,000 plus followers on his online platforms