A Nigerian lady who works in one of the new generation banks has taken to her Twitter handle to share the inspiring story of an akara seller who turned landlord within the twinkle of an eye.
Her words below:
There’s a woman who lives two streets away from where I stay, her husband passed on years back. On my way back from work one day, I stopped at the suya spot close to my house to buy suya when this woman approached me & said she wanted to talk to me. After buying the suya, we both went to the house. She explained how rough things have been for her since her husband left & how her little kiosk wasn’t able to cater to her & her 5kids. She came to see if there was a way I could help with a loan of 50k payable in 3 months.
Inside I smiled; cos she sees me dress in suit & head out to work every day she must assume my dad owns the bank & I can influence policy & get them to give a loan to a non-customer. Long-serving customers find it difficult accessing loan’s let alone someone without an account. I told her I would get back to her in a day or two. I discussed it with husband when he returned & we decided to help her. The following day I sent someone to her place with cash & she showed up minutes later to come to say thank you.
A few weeks later she shut down her kiosk on the street and moved further to the main road, picked a spot & started selling akara, yam, puff-puff, Agege bread & ogi. She would head out very early cos I always see her on my way to work as early as 6/6.30am. In the evenings on my way back I would see her still there but this time with her kids. One Saturday she comes to the house to return the loan. She then says she wants me to help her with opening an account. I promised to get her account opening forms, guide how to fill it & told her to go return it to the branch nearest to the house.
A few months later she pays us a visit, says she will hardly be at her spot as she will be spending time at a building site just after Ikotun-Egbe. The building, I asked? She said they have had the land for a very long time & she now wants to start building from the proceeds of her akara sales. Akara seller started constructing a one story-building meanwhile every morning I would wear a suit, head to work & be called madam! 😢 We chatted & I wished her all the best. She eventually finished the first floor & stopped.
She visited to tell me she had finished the 1st floor so I asked if she was going to move & she said no! That she was going to put in a tenant since its a 3 bedroom flat, that whatever rent the tenant pays, she would use it to continue work on the top floor. Meanwhile, she was still running her akara business with her kids. I asked why she wasn’t moving & why she preferred being a tenant in a face-me-i-slap-you apartment. She listed a few things that made me marvel at her street wisdom; she said the location where the house is isn’t good enough for her to transfer her akara business too.
That her current location, there are many primary/secondary schools around. So children on their way to school buy akara/puff puff/yam etc from her daily. That there are bars close by that sell fish/Cowtail pepper soup & they buy her ogi daily and I shouldn’t forget the bus stop where her spot is close to, many workers going or on their way back patronize her.
So she can’t afford to move from that spot. So she would rather finish her building & rent both flats out using the proceeds to pay rent at her small place while maintaining her akara business. She mentioned how beans/flour/corn/firewood sellers all give her credit & she pays end of the week. She said it would be difficult creating such a business relationship in a new place. Akara seller turned to house owner in front of me.