Mama Divine was a lanky, very dark and young mother of two kids. She owns a moderate foodstuff business which every family in our estate depends on for their mini mid-week shopping.
Her story was as unbelievable as it is pitiable. Having left her home in Delta state at the age of 14 after several issues with her stepmother, she arrived Lagos seeking a way forward in life.
From sleeping in churches, to working and sleeping at a restaurant, and finally to accepting shelter under a man’s roof, Mama Divine has had her own share of life’s unfair treatment.
A few short years later, she has two sons for the man who sheltered and eventually left her – and alone, she has struggled to make a living in order to give her children the best she could. She wasn’t prepared to let her children suffer like she had even if it meant working double time.
Life for her was all about her two children.
One day, she walked up to me and said.
“Aunty abeg no vex, I wan ask you something.” I urged her to go ahead. “I wan start to dey save money for bank but I no sabi answer the question wey dey the paper.”
“Okay, show me” I said. She motioned for me to wait as she rushed into her one-room apartment to fetch the forms.
I took the forms and moved closer to a bench by the pavement to sit and put her through. While we filled the form, she told me stories that brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t believe that this young girl had so much to worry about. While her mates went about bothered only by the latest clothes to wear and choicest hair-do to make, she was here at 21 thinking about how to eke a living and give her two boys the best.
When I saw how much she desired the best for her children, it was only right that I mentioned the education plan to her.
I explained that if she put as little as N5k in that account every month, in five years, she would have a lump sum along with accrued interest to fund her sons’ education. I went on to explain that even in the case of uncertainty, the plan could translate to insurance for her children ensuring that her dreams for them never gets altered along the way. No more does she have to constantly worry if she can afford to send her children to the university.
She looked me in the eye and said “Aunty, God go bless you well well.” I nodded as I held back a tear threatening to spill. I advised her to henceforth, try to put some money in the new account she was opening every month in case of emergency or have her customers pay into the account.
I also made sure to get the education plan form for her the following week and helped her fill it out. To ensure she keeps it funded, Mama Divine opted for a direct debit (after I explained what it was to her) – that way she would be able to stay consistent with putting money in the education account and wouldn’t use the money for something else.
As long as I stayed in that vicinity, I would do my best to help this strong woman in the best way I could because her willingness to secure a future for her children is nothing short of admirable.