INTERVIEW WITH JACINTA UDE
What motivated your movement from the East to Abuja?
I came here for a job hunt in 2019. I actually come from a poor family trying to survive. We’re seven in number. In 2015, I concluded high school in Enugu, my hometown.
I was troubled by the state of things and the only job I could get was to become a house help and at the same time, I was joining my mother to cultivate people’s farms for extra money. We sometimes trekked to the farm wearing unmatched footwear. N1500 working on a large portion of land was equally a large sum before us. My dad was blind, we lacked negotiating power when it comes to bargaining.
I was in junior high when he lost his sight. He had always been the major provider. I was happy helping my mom at the farm knowing that is where food comes from despite it isn’t our land.
Sometimes we worked while we were hungry. This was the major reason I left for Abuja in search of a greener pasture.
How was life in high school?
Paying school fees was a challenge. I was frequently chased back home. But usually, I don’t return home. I prefer to sneak around until school closes for the day. Due to economical hardship, I never had the chance to sit for a Senior School Certificate Examination.
How were you able to land a salesman job with no experience?
I would simply say I was lucky, though the salary is nothing to write home about. Currently my focus is to save towards starting a business. I’ve interest in buying and selling footwear.
I am 24 now and I don’t think I’ll be furthering my education unless there’s a huge financial support somehow. I’ve decided not to go into any relationship but to focus on achieving my goals.
How’s market sales been in this recession?
It’s been really hard. Other salespersons here receive money for feeding and transport but my case is quite different as I do not receive money for such from my boss.
Despite the financial challenges, I still squeeze some amount to save at the end of the month. I live with my elder sister and her family.
What are your philosophies about life?
I believe that as a woman l don’t need a man to provide for me. Despite how poor my family is, my mother always ensured the little things I needed was made available.
She bought me body lotions after selling beans cake to make little income for the family. She has laid examples of an independent woman, though my father was the major provider when he had his sight but my mother wasn’t the housewife type.
Another reason she did all that was to protect me from having the same experiences she did. She taught me to hold my own and not depend on a man.
Though I’m no longer in a relationship, even when I was dating, I was never the type that demands money from my man. I just believe we all can work for our money.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Owning my own business and setting the terms and conditions. Things have been hard. My mom is currently sick and I’ve been handling the bills taking from my savings. She’s my life and I’ll do all I can to help. My siblings are unemployed and therefore they cannot help. I’m suffering from ulcer as well but I see no limitations to what I can achieve with or without a degree.
By Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist for A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow.