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My story is not different from your own, the only difference we share is that I am telling mine and you are reading it.
I was born into poverty and the only thing my family had was a small farm where my Father cultivated fruits and vegetable which was the only source of income for the family, we also owned a road side vending space. I began selling with my Mother at age four while other kids were in school learning. Yes Education is the key to success but sometimes the reverse is the case.
My Father died when I turned twelve years; he was killed by a Python which swallowed him half. His death left me alone with my Mother who was having difficulties with her sight, there was no money for the cataract operation she needed to save her sight so six months after my Dad’s death, she lost her sight. I was the only one to care for her although by this time, we have occupied a bigger space along the road as you can see in the picture where I was cutting a coconut.
I became a son and husband to my Mother, although she tried to be strong but how can she be without her sight, she encouraged me to believe in myself but how can I believe in myself when I didn’t even understand why on earth I ended up as their son. There were lots of wealthy couples without children and God sent me to the poorest of all. I almost abandoned my Mother at a certain point but you see, I loved her and in as much as I wallow in grief because of my family’s financial situation, I still have reasons to be happy because I was free. No one tells me where to go and what not to do, no one says that I am wrong or right and no one flogs or scolds me. This is freedom and no kid had it except me.
Life is all about the way you see it because for everything you have, there is still something you don’t have and for the ones you don’t have, there is much to boast about which you have.
I have no education but I have freedom
I have no father but I have myself
My mother is blind but I can see
I have no money but I have daily bread
People laughed at me all the time, kids make fun of me and I was known everywhere as the banana boy but that notwithstanding, my stand was always busy, parked with customers because of the availability of fruits and vegetable all the time, I learned that from my late Father so I made sure that there was always stuffs for my customers. I sold one of the best plantain, banana, pine apple, coconut; name it. Our small farm yielded everything and I learned the advantages of fertilizer from my Late Father.
Life is tough they say but believe me; the tougher it is the wiser you are. I am what I am today because of the experiences I had growing up. By the time I was Eighteen, I had three cousins who also were born into poverty working with me and like education put it. ‘Division of labor’. I made sure that we were all highly productive; I had area I managed like buying of fertilizer, transporting stuffs to the stand and also planting of new crops.
Two years working with my cousins brought the expansion of the business, you see, I did not put them under salary but made it clear that it was a family business so everyone has a percentage from sells, perhaps that was the wisest thing I did. I introduced hawking fresh fruits, we sliced and package fruits then William who was the youngest will hawk them.
What we all seek in life is BREAKTHROUGH. You see most of the kids that laughed at me graduated from the University, majored in nice discipline(s) but there was no work, unemployment was the country’s major problem but look at me, the uneducated son of the blind widow, I have my small farm and my shed and above all things little change to lend someone.
Anyway, everything about life is how you make it. I was not educated but I learned to be wise from my late Father. I didn’t know how it happened but I saw the advert that day while transporting fertilizer from my supplier's warehouse to the farm. The company was in need of factory workers. I went there the next day but did not meet the qualification needed but this is a beverage company and “even if I cannot work as plant operator, there is still something I can do for you sir”, I told the recruiting officer.
He did not object to it and loved the idea if I can meet the demand. You see, I got the contract to supply them fruits such as mango, banana, apple, orange, paw paw, pine apple, guava, water melon etc. The demand was high but I had an idea so with the upfront payment of ten thousand dollars, I brought couple of farmers together and that was how I was able to make the first supply and after that, the rest was my breakthrough. I began supplying the company the fruits they use for their juice, I did it for three years and by now my farm expanded with one hundred workers and machinery to make work fast and easy.
I know that as you are reading this, you will have the feeling that I am wise, yes there is no doubt about that but my blessing is not just wisdom but the ability to manage money, this is what some of us don’t have but I have it so I was able to save every penny that I made and five years as a major supplier, I built my own juice making plant, I also had vending machines scattered everywhere so that people could easily buy my products. Fruits from my farm is packed neatly and sold in all most all the big and small market(s) in the country. I had my breakthrough and also the money for my Mother’s eye operation and because of her predicament, I set up an eye foundation where people who suffer the same fate she suffered are operated on for free.
My story is a success story because today in my factory, most of my employees are those kids that laughed at the banana boy, the factory that gave me the opportunity ran into bankruptcy in 2008 and was on the verge of collapsing then the same manager who refused to hire me then because I had no factory skills came to me for assistance, you see I had no experience according to me but now he wants me to help the struggling company. Anyway, the company was sold to me and I retained him as the manager, now you see why the wise said; YOU NEVER CAN TELL.
It doesn’t matter who you are and what you are going through, I once regretted being born by my parents, I caused the month of August but do you think that you will be reading this if I was the son of the president? No. Therefore, I bless my late Father’s memory and honor my Mother for not aborting me, I am glad that I am their son because without them, I wouldn’t be what I am today. You can be what you want to be, the government has nothing to offer, create one. Do not mind what people might say about what you are doing because I just completed my first degree at age 42. Package yourself and tell your own story someday.