When my father died, my mom was faced with the challenge of raising 7 children by herself.
The oldest was about 17 years old while the youngest was about 3 years old.
Imagine dinner for 7 eaters. Imagine breakfast for 7 teenagers. Imagine lunch for 7 Oliver Twists. Imagine school fees for 7 secondary and primary school kids. Imagine school books, school uniforms and more for 7 students. Imagine hospital bills for 7 rough players and risk takers. Imagine the cost of Christmas dress for 7 teenagers. Imagine managing 7 playful kids in Church on sunday. Imagine the number of internal-and-external troubles she had to settle per week. Imagine cooking thrice a day for 7 ever hungry kids.
My mom had only primary school education. But she spoke, read and wrote like a graduate. When my dad died and having lost all family savings to my father’s medical bills, she resorted to palm oil marketing business.
She bought palm oil from her fellow women on credit, refined it by heating it on firewood and took it to Benin for marketing. After selling the oil in Benin, she would buy Benin garri and sell the garri to women on her return.
What I hated about this business include:
- Heating the oil: My siblings and I would have to go to the forest to gather firewood. We would have to make the fire and it took a long time for the oil to get ready for packaging.
- My mother and her fellow business women went to Benin sitting at the back of trucks. We used to call that truck “gwongworo.” I was always afraid of accident and robbery.
Though dead, I celebrate my mother and all widows raising multiple children by themselves.
That was why I launched YOMI at CSAAE to support such women. No woman should ever suffer like my mom.
Happy IWD celebrations to all widows out there!