Gifted hands (part IV): The conversation

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.

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(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!!!!

Yours truly,

this nigerian_chic

 

Photo credit: Online source

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gifted hands (part III)-The plan

Me: Hi Belinda! It’s been a while ! What are you up to these days?

Belinda: Girl! I am fine! I’m taking sewing lessons, somewhere downtown.

Me: Wow! That’s great! Can you take me there ? I’m interested in learning how to use a sewing machine. First of all, how much is the cost?

Belinda: I’m not quite sure of the price, it’s been a while since I registered. I think it’s between three to five thousand naira.

Me: Wow! That’s a lot of money. Do you know if your learning place will take me. Like, I want to start as soon as possible.

Belinda: I’m not sure but, there are other places in the area, plus I can accompany you if I’m less busy.

Me: Thanks girl! I have to ask my dad for the money.

Belinda: Good luck with that !

Me: I’ll give it a shot! What’s the worst that can happen? I keep you posted. Keep me in your prayers. Lol!

After the conversation, I  went home, and silently prayed the prayer of  my life. Asking God to forgive me of any sin that will not allow me to gain favor before my dad. Lol!

Y’all, this was a serious ordeal for me, knowing the caliber of person, he was. I had to get my facts in order and rationales to back up my request,  lol! Talking about real struggles. Lol!

(Later  that evening)

Me: Hi dad!

Dad: what do you want? (Brows raised with a frown).

Me: (Stuttering)  I would love to enroll in a sewing school.

Dad: Where did that idea come from? (Frown on the face)

Me: So since this ASUU strike has no expiration date yet, I figure that registering in a sewing school will be a good use of my time.

Dad: hmm ! Let me think about it. .

Me: ok! Thanks!

(Next day)

Me: Hi  dad! Did you consider my request?  I really want to utilize this opportunity. ( begging and saying silent prayers )

Dad: You’re aware that I’m not a fan of learning trading skills. University education is the best way to have a great life in my opinion.

Me: I know , dad (low voice). It’s just a hobby,……

Dad: I hope so! No child of mine will become a tailor! Go do your research and keep me posted on the cost.

Me: Thanks!(All smiles)

(Next day)

Me: Belinda, are you available to accompany to the place we talked about last time?

Belinda : Girl,  I’ve got stuff to do but, here is the address. Good luck!

Me: ok! No worries!

After this conversation,  I was disappointed that Belinda could not go with me. I’ve never  gone downtown alone. Y’all know downtown is downtown home and abroad, horrible stories and all. Lol!

I had mixed emotions, all these thoughts , questioning my passion and decision. At one point,  I said to myself,  “maybe it’s a sign that I shouldn’t explore this part of me”. Nevertheless, I left home in search for the mystery address with optimism. 

 

I arrived at the geographic location that I thought the address should be, after the hassle of asking people around, and being pointed to the different directions.

Frustration was creeping in like a flood, I was close to “throwing in the towel” Then I ran into some random sewing shop filled with a bunch of young men, speaking a different language aka Hausa language.

I showed them the address that I was looking for. They told me the owner had moved to a different location. Guys, you should have seen my face. My countenance suddenly fell. I was sweating profusely and looked so helpless.

One of the young men noticed my sudden change and asked what the problem was. He thought that I was some customer and maybe the tailor had relocated with my clothes.

To his utmost surprise, I replied no. I told him of my ordeal of the school strike, and my interest in fashion and designing. He smiled and said ” no worries,  if you don’t mind,  I know a great place where you can learn”. The young man who owns this  place that I’m going to show you, is my childhood friend. I’ll take you there but, I don’t know if he is still accepting students.

I responded quickly,  “Absolutely!” I literally,  believed this young man’s words and agreed to go to his friend’s sewing shop.

Side note: Each time, I reflect on this segment of my story, it gives me chills. How do you trust a total stranger? Remember,  it’s downtown ! Anything can go wrong!

I believe that when purpose and passion collides with destiny, the impossible becomes possible! The world we leave in, questions the authenticity of assistance from strangers,  sometimes, strangers are angels indiguise!

For the record, Do not follow strangers.

 

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On this note, do you think that this young man was truly an angel,  Are you interested in the conversation that took place at his friend’s shop ? Do you think my plan actually worked?

Stay tuned for part IV…..

Much love! Muah!!!!

this Nigerian chic ♥♥♥♥

 

Photo credit: https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=angel+stranger&FORM=HDRSC2