Trace Goen cuts an imposing figure. The tall and strapping doctor from Texas seems right at home on a ranch, but he’s flying out to Nigeria to take part in a monumental ceremony that will crown him the king of the nomadic Fulani tribe in Okinoki.
Goen came to Africa nearly six years ago to work at the Egbe hospital clinic and he never dreamed that he’d become so entrenched in the customs of the Fulani tribe that he’d one day come back to be crowned royalty.
The most interesting aspect of the event was not only that Goen is a white American, but that he’s a devout Christian who now happens to be the king of a largely Islamic cattle herder tribe who number close to 30 million throughout West Africa.
As Goen came back to Africa, he made sure to check on the cattle, which are like gold to the tribespeople, inoculate the children, ask after specific members of the tribe, and visit Fulani patients in their hospital rooms.
At his coronation, Goen was given a long white cloth and head covering, which symbolized his ascent to the power of king over millions of people. Goen proceeded to meet with other kings and emissaries to promote good relations and conversation among the other tribes in the region.