Are we there yet? I asked the young man taking me to his friend’s shop. The shop is by the corner of the road, he replied.
So now, I’m thinking in my head that there are many shops by the corner, which one is it? I hope this young man is not trying to take advantage of me, I thought to myself.
Sweating and panting so hard, amidst the numerous voices cheering this young man, as we continued to his friend’s place.
Some of those cheering were more like Aboki! Who be this fine girl? Your yarinya fine o!!!
Of course the young man was grinning from ear to ear. I began to feel uncomfortable as the cheering got louder.
(After few minutes)
Young man: Fine girl, I wan stop for Meshai, I dey hungry, I wan drink am for tea, this young man politely said.
Me: no problem , (as if I had any choice, lol).
(We’ve walked for 30 minutes)
Me: Are you sure your friend still has a sewing shop?
Young man: Haba Madame! Why I know believe me? (You guys, he meant to say why didn’t I believe him, lol).
So if you are familiar with the Hausa tribe in Northern Nigeria, you will recognize that the first person pronoun “I” is used for everything.
(After much conversations of this manner)
Young man: We don reach the place (pointing to the blue building, by the roadside).
Me: Finally! ( Huge sigh of relief)
( In the shop)
Young man: Mr Eddy , how market ?
Mr. Eddy: market dey o! We dey push am small, small. Na who be this fine girl wey follow you come?
Young man : Eddy! Eddy! I bring market for you. This fine girl wan learn how to sew cloth. Eddy international! I tell am say na you be the original fashion designer wey dey rule this town.
Eddy: Thanks for the compliment, my brother! ( grinning from ear to ear).
Young man : this fine girl say na student. She talk say them dey strike. I know know which one be strike but she wan learn how to sew cloth.
(I was laughing so hard at this young man’s attempt to explain why I was interested in sewing, as I introduced myself to Mr. Eddy).
Me: Hi Mr Eddy, My name is Akudo.
Mr. Eddy: Interesting ! You are namesakes with the lady that taught me how to sew! Nice to meet you, young lady. I hear you are interested in sewing. Can you tell me more about yourself?
Me: Absolutely! that’s why I’m here. I am a student in the University of Nigeria , and we are on strike again. I don’t want to stay home idling away my time.
Mr Eddy : Have you ever used the sewing machine ?
Me: No Sir! I do know how to use a needle and thread.
(Reaching for my purse to display some of the items sewn by me)
Me :Here they are!
Mr. Eddy : Amazing! If you are that good with needle and thread, I’m positive that using a sewing machine will be easy.
Me: Thanks for the compliment!
Mr Eddy : There is a problem. I have stopped accepting students until next year August. I’m afraid I can’t help you.
(You guys! My jaw dropped and my countenance fell. It felt like the world had fallen on my shoulders. In this moment, I reflected on the journey to his shop. I was not going to take no for and answer).
Me: Oh no! Sir! You don’t understand my dilemma. I don’t want to waste one more day at home. I really love sewing. Please squeeze me into your schedule. I am begging you!
(At this time tears were running down my eyes, I was literally on my knees begging. I was so determined)
Me : I promise that you will not regret having me as your student. I promise to abide by your rules.
( I went on and on with my plea)
Mr. Eddy: This is a tough decision! In the past, I’ve accepted students pleading in such manner, and for the most part, they end up breaking rules.
Me: I know that we are just meeting for the first time. I am asking that you give this chance to prove myself.
( the young man also joined in the plea)
Young man: Haba ! Mr. Eddy, make you consider this fine girl. At least, do am for your friend. Na me bring am come your shop. Abeg, no fall my hand oh!
Mr. Eddy: Talk is cheap, but I will give you a chance. Let me warn you. I do not tolerate lateness, laziness, and disobedience. Here is a list of the required items needed to commence classes: A sewing machine, pair of scissors, brown paper, notebook, pen, measuring tape, a crate of soft drinks and a packet of cabin biscuit.
Me: I’m so excited! But the drinks and biscuit? what do we need that for?
Mr. Eddy: Well! It’s an old tradition. These food items are given to other shop owners in the neighborhood. It indicates that we do have a new student.
Me: Interesting! What is the cost of learning?
Mr. Eddy: I charge 3, 000.00 naira per year.
Me: Thank you so much ! When do I start?
Mr. Eddy: As soon as possible!
(feeling so excited)
Me: Oh my God! I can’t believe this is finally happening! Thank you so much Mr. Eddy!
(To the stranger) Thank you sir! What’s your name?
Stranger: My name na Ali
Me : Thanks Ali. God bless you!
By the time this conversation was over, it was getting pretty dark. I hurried home quickly, to share the good news with my family and friends. You guys, it felt like I had just won the lottery. I didn’t know what to do with my self, lol! Finally, my dream was becoming a reality!
On a second thought, what if my dad refuses to give me the money to start my sewing lessons? What if he suddenly changes his mind? My dad’s mood is like a roller coaster. lol! You don’t want to be around when he’s having a bad day. In order to collect that money, I have to wait till he’s in a good mood. More like trying to be the early bird, at a clothing store, on a black Friday sale! Go figure! Lol! Real struggles!
I waited patiently for the weekend. My dad had just woken up from sleep. I over heard him whistling while he drank coffee from his favorite coffee cup. I thought to myself, here is my moment! If I perish, I perish! Like what’s the worst that can happen? Should he refuse? Bump this! At least I made an effort!
…..to be continued!!!!
Photo credit: Online source