I inserted my hand into my pocket and brought out a ₦500 note. It was the last and only money with me. I woke up this morning to a message on my phone from the bank. It says “Your account balance for the month is ₦15.10k”. The economy has been frowning lately. While some people were wailing and blaming the government. All I could think of is how to get more funds. A friend of mine had previously called to inform me about a laptop he wants to sell. My plan was to go over to his place, collect the laptop and make profits from the sales. Unfortunately, I needed to get some food in my stomach, and transport to and fro my friends place costs ₦500. I was in dilemma on what to put on my scale of preference. Food now or food later? After long deliberation I resolved to go on with my task, “food can come later”, I thought.
I jumped into the street and started towards my destination. I was distracted by the sight of a woman, roughly 40years who looks older than her age. She was coming towards my direction and had her eyes set on me. I didn’t know to expect from her and with the current security situation in the country my heart started racing. She stopped me with a greeting. “Good morning my son”, she said. “Good morning madam”, I replied anxiously waiting for her next words. At first she paused, as if deciding to end our meeting. But then she continued narrating her story. “I am married with kids, my husband abandoned us. He said he couldn’t feed himself lest he feed me and the children. He had lost his job and when he couldn’t find another, one morning we woke up and he was gone. I am only a housewife; I’ve been surviving by doing petty business in my neighborhood. The little capital I have has finished trying to feed myself and the kids. Please if you have anything to help me buy breakfast no matter how much, I will forever be grateful”. By the time she finished, my eyes were swollen. This is something my conscience will never let me go unchecked. I wanted to calm her but I only managed to mutter some words. I still didn’t know what I said. I put my hands into my pocket and removed the ₦500 I had and gave it to her. She thanked and prayed for me. I told her not to border, that she should hurry home and get the kids something to eat. She turned around and left.
I stood there for some minutes thinking of the next line of action. I couldn’t come up with any idea. I whispered to myself and said “God will provide”. I went home and took to my bed. Sleep was nowhere to be found as my stomach kept thundering. After some struggles with my reality, I began to doze off. Just then, as if in my dreams, I heard the message beep from my phone. I opened my eyes to read the SMS and to my amazement, one of my clients has a job for me. He needs a website developed for a company ASAP (as soon as possible). He has already sent the advance money for the work. I haven’t finished reading when I received another text message, it reads “Credit Alert: Your account has been credited with ₦80,000.00, your total account balance is ₦80,015.10”. It was an ecstatic moment as I hurriedly prepared myself for the task of the day.
I didn’t know what to do. I am jobless and penniless. I have three children and none of them is going to school. It’s not a priority, what they need now is food. A hungry child will not learn, what is the use is if they go to school. Even if they did go, how will I pay the school fees when the person whose responsibility it is has abandoned us? My husband, once a charming and brilliant young man, after working for twelve years for a national bank was retrenched without benefits. He lost most of his sanity afterwards. After going out every day in search for job which was never available. He packed his luggage one day and left. Now I am saddled with the task of being the bread winner. Sympathizers gave me some money which I used to start a petty business. I was selling detergents, soaps and domestic goods. After a while I lost everything as the responsibilities keeps getting bigger. I look old and pale, one will say I am a grandmother. I am yet to reach 40years but life has taking toll on me already.
I resolved to go into the street and find work to do. Anything that will bring honest income to feed my children, I will do it. After a long search I wasn’t able to get any work. I was very hungry and exhausted. But it’s the kid who I fear the most for. “Should I beg?” I asked myself. It seems I have no option left. Just then, I saw a young boy in his early twenties coming my way. If I was going to do this, then I should start with him. I stopped him with a greeting and he responded. He looked anxious, somehow afraid. I paused; I have never done this before. I thought of letting the gentleman go. Nevertheless, I continued to narrate my predicament to him. He was touched; I could see it in his eyes. He wanted to say something; he said something which I couldn’t understand because I didn’t hear. He gave me ₦500 and I thanked him, but he asked me not to bother and emphasize that I hurry home to my children. I went back home, stopping at the pharmacy to buy some pain killers. I also bought bean cakes and bread on my way. It has been a rough morning. I arrived home to the most pleasant scene ever. My husband has returned. He had brought food stuffs and prepared a nice breakfast for the kids. He rushed to me and hugged me as soon as he saw me. With tears in his eyes, he begged for my forgiveness and promised never to desert us again. I pardoned him. He had gotten another job with an insurance company. I looked at him and held his hands, reminding him of what I told him the night before he left us. “Oh darling, I have always told you that God will provide”.