She looked at me with a familiar face. A face that says “I don’t think I want to sleep with men to feed myself, only to feed you too”. Amaka was the same girl that told me to “use what I have to get what I want”.
When we first met, she lied about her name just like the others but luck ran out on her when she called someone on the phone and mentioned her real name. Everyone heard and laughed, from then on, we called her by her real name; Amaka.
Before she could say anything mean to me, I quickly added: “I want to use what I have to get what I want”. She smiled and handed the money to me.
I walked to Odo Street in Obalende to meet with Mummy Isaiah, who sells soft drinks. She was a widow with three children and everyone knew she was a nice woman. I confided in her about my business and she was happy to give me 20 empty plastic drink containers at no cost.
My first business started immediately. Selling Zobo drink.
You see, the kind of life the girls in Obalende lived was very intimidating. They had mobile phones with camera, wore beautiful clothes and nice hairstyles. And because I naturally don’t even have front hair, (hands on my face) I shaved off my hair entirely just so I don’t have to compete with their beautiful hairstyles and the likes.
Picture this, slim teenage girl with a “Hausa face” as they called it, with a long chin, hair shaved off and a very long neck (like a Pepsi long throat bottle). Well, there’s nothing there to compete with so no one even bothered.
My first week in business wasn’t so great. My “friends” all bought without paying and I was left with no money to continue. But that didn’t stop me, I continued regardless and by the third week, I started to make profit.
Were there days I felt shamed of selling zobo?
Were there times I felt like this is not the life that I wanted for myself?
But, I just couldn’t get out. I had nowhere else to go and I knew there was NO WAY I was going back to Kaduna.