Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ariyike meets Abiodun, A street Hawker turned Poet

My name is Abiodun. I was born and raised in one of the rural parts of Lagos. Studied biochemistry at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife . Friends call me coded perhaps because of how diverse I am. I am a writer/blogger and I will like to share my life experience with you.

Life, a price which is given to every human in the same form but surprisingly delivered in different packages. Birth is experienced in the same way as every child whether being born in a farmland, a hospital or in a traditional home will come through the same medium. However, the difference between one package and the other begin to take its course immediately after birth. Not knowing how things were before the age of 4. Even if no one got anything to eat, as the youngest in the house I always got fed . But with time, I was welcomed into the shoes of those who were older than I am, into the world of struggling, I started experiencing what my older ones had been going through.

Primary school started at age 6 and the struggle began to set in gradually. Before the age of 10, my mum started putting some stuffs on the tray for me too. But young and with a free spirit, I would gladly follow my sisters and hawk the plantain chips every day after school. Our journey on the road usually took 3 hours sometimes but I wasn’t bothered. Happy with my sales and with mum’s praises, I gladly cry to go with them the days after. At first life was free but soon I realized that the daily contribution from my sales has a lot to do with the family’s survival. Primary school was rough, tedious, tiring but the best part of it comes at the end of every term. I was a straight A student and once I have been cleared of 1st position by my brothers, mum would shower me with new set of pants. That is her way of encouraging you so you can do better next time.

I thought life was hard in the  past but things were harder now.  Back then, we would manage to get two meals before but now, getting one was a problem. Things grew from bad to worse. Dad and mum tried all they could lay their hands on just so they could put something on the table but it just wasn’t enough. Going to school with an empty stomach became a daily routine until one good samaritan moved in next door. Thank God for "Mama Chioma" the bread seller who would give me bread on credit and I will pay when I came back in the evening. Despite all the trial and challenges, I kept my grades in school and that way I could account for something good going on in my life.

From selling plantain chips, I graduated to selling cherries, KLIN soap, eggs, and finally I hawked bread too. At least selling bread was my freedom from Mamma Chioma’s daily credit as I was struggling to pay my "bread" bills and other bills. Sometimes, the Landlord would cut the electricity from our room because we were owing . The pain you feel when you go out on errands and hear the noise from the TV set in other rooms. No clothes, no shoes. No street credibility but we were calm. At Christmas there was no wish list, there was no chicken, there wasn’t no rice, our school fees was so cheap but we still couldn’t afford that price. But with mum and dad right behind us, we kept our heads up and moved on gradually.

I and three of my siblings were seeking university admission at once. But one day I playfully entered a poetry competition online. 3 months later we received a letter that I had been chosen as a semi-finalist for the grand prize of about 20,000 dollars. I can never forget how we danced with so much joy on that very day. A page was created for me instantly on and I was so proud whenever I logged in my full name and it came up. While still basking in the euphoria, we received another letter which stated that as a Nigerian, I wasn't eligible to enter the competition so I was disqualified. I was sad but it motivated me and made me think that If I could playfully write and get a semi-final spot in a competition where over 10,000 people applied then I could actually become a poet. I started writing love letters and gradually converted them into poetry.

One way or the other, my mum put four of us through College. I started writing and now I do freelance for two online magazines. I also have a soon-to-be published short fictional novel of my own which those who have seen few pages of the story are already booking to buy their copy. Recently I just became a creative consultant for a TV Personality. She is a blessed woman and a wonderful mother. I don’t have a house yet neither do I have my own car, but now I have what is called a life.

Just want to advice anyone who is going through tough times to never ever give up. Tough times they say never last but tough people do. Your dreams will finally come true if you don’t give up on them.

Ariyike says:
His story shows that we must always make the best out of every situation we find ourselves in. Always remember that no condition is permanent.

1 comment:

  1. It's an awesome story! His response to all the trying times is what makes him standout. His breakthrough is already here!