By Ifeyinwa Kojo
Thank You. I am not such I know why am saying it but it kinda feels good.
I was coming back from a long trip. The Airline had moved my flight from 5pm to a glorious 8.30pm flight. Finally arrived, still very happy, still holding on to my inner peace, the driver picked me up. Half way in the middle of Ikeja somewhere, all the lights on the dashboard flashed red and the car went off. I smiled. Refused to lose my peace. The driver went down, fiddled with stuff at the bonnet for about 15 minutes and came back. The car whined to a start and we continued.
10mins later same thing happened. Time was 10.30pm. Been on this journey since 3pm. Hmmn.
I smiled again. Searching for the peace. I was getting to that point. The driver managed to get the car off the road and went seeking for help.
With nothing to do but hold on to my peace, I observed my surroundings. We were very close to a night market. The beehive of activities there shocked me. At the point when I was feeling that life was unfair to me, I looked over and saw a woman with her son.
She had spread out her entire ware on a very small space on the ground. The carrots couldn't be more that 30, if I mentally group them in 10s, I won't count up to 5 groups. Same for the cucumber and green peppers. I did a quick mental calculation, her entire stock wasn't up to 5k even if she doubled her price.
Why was she sitting there in the middle of the night with a little boy that was practically sleeping on his feet. I watched her hustle for customers and was practically begging them to buy. I noticed the difference between how men and women shop. All the women that came to her, practically gave her a hard bargaining time, and still left without buying. The 2 men that approached her did little or no bargaining and bought. And she would out of her small pile, give them extra (jara). The gratitude on her face after each sale broke my heart.
From time to time, she will reshuffle her market, count them and check the total sales she had made. I was so sure she was checking to see if she will break even or make a loss after the whole sale. The salesman in me rose up. This is what I do for a living, the difference is that I don't have to sit in a dark corner at night and hustle it.
We all reach out to customers, we sell, we negotiate and we review the target against the sales.
I felt a deep attachment to her, for her courage in such a challenging profession. Whether corporate or retail, whether day or night, whether office or open market, whether manager or officer, sale na sale.
We are all hustlers, for the bride called "Customer". The driver was done, the car was back and we were set to leave. Time was 11.11pm. I was not going to leave my fellow professional in that market. If am going, she goes with me. I went to her and asked how much she will charge if I bought the whole goods. At 1st, she was shocked, then when realized I meant business, she put a price. 3k! Dad, the total market was worth 3k! I gave her 5k.
She was reluctant at 1st. I had to explain why I was doing that. I understood that, in this age and time, I could be a ritualist. I needed her to take her son home. They lived close by, so it was just a few minutes walk for them. She held the money to her chest and prayed for me. I liked that. I could see the tears in her eyes as she packed. I drove home. I have found my peace.
You See why I said Thank You?
Even in my worst situation in life, I am still at the top for someone. Thank You.
I know that sometimes I feel troubled about my profession but I really love it. Thank You.
I ask that You bless the works of our hands, that we may find joy in doing good. Thank You.
Oh, by the way Dad, I called Rita back. It was a very painful call for me, so please I will like to detoxify a little before I talk about it. Thank You.
This is Your daughter and I am checking in.