Oseaguina was perplexed to hear his wife say, “Papa Ehijele, dis year go beta for us.” Like him, anyone in his place would have doubted the optimism of his wife, Betty. Though he was a very hard-working commercial bus driver, the breakdown of his vehicle kept him out of business all through January 2020.
From selling qualitative palm oil at Ugboha market, luck smiled on Betty through the benevolence of her customer, mama Celina. One would wonder what kept this customer glued to Betty’s oil. Did she jaz her? Even when she was not in the market on any market day that fell on Wednesday, her prayer meeting day, some of her customers would not hesitate to go get palm oil at her home after she returned from prayer meeting. The quality of her oil was not to be compared to any others.
“How prayer meeting today?” asked mama Celina after getting the palm oil she requested. “I go want make we sidan talk small.”
At these words, Betty was all ears. “U remember my sista for Uromi wen bi cook for PeteLomien College.”
Betty thought for a while and before she could respond, mama Celina added, “that my sista wen her husband dey work for Council.”
Aided by this additional information, she responded in the affirmative.
“She say make I help am make arrangement for 50 20-litre jerry cans of red oye.”
Madam Kate being a prudent administrator often purchased commodities from rural areas where she was sure of getting qualitative products at the best rates. This new business opportunity was to improve Betty’s family economy. Though it was very promising, it came with a challenge, low capital. Betty was quick to make this known to mama Celina. “My sista, I hapi say your sista wan follow me buy this plenty oye. But I no get enough money to fit buy and mill the banga wen go fit dis quantity of oye.”
Her friendly counsel was what Betty needed to break even. “U fit collect loan from Microfinance Bank take do the supply.”
Because of her reputation, and the prospect of the business, she was promptly considered by the bank. In no distant time, she made her first supply of 30 jerry cans in February. She was to get the complete payment upon delivery of the remaining 20 jerry cans in March.
Within a twinkle of an eye, the livelihood of the family improved. Oseaguina was able to fix his car with the money he borrowed from a friend. His assurance outside his unstable daily income was the payment for the supply Betty made.
Then the coronavirus pandemic that led to the closure of schools and reduced movement of persons dashed their hope. The remaining 20 jerry cans of oil were no longer needed because the students were at home. Consequently, she was unable to receive the anticipated cash to pay her loan from the bank.
With Oseaguina now earning barely enough to fuel his bus, and his wife buried in debt, his family had no hope for their next meal.
© ELOMIEN LEONARD, May 2020.