I have learnt two important things in life and they are 1. Living in the city is hard and 2. Living in the city without a job is very hard. Life is never a bed of roses but it smiles on anyone who is ready to work hard and smart.
My name is Charity Efete, the first child of late Mr and Mrs Efete who died in a robbery attack. I have a kid brother, Jeffery Efete is his name. Things were really hard for my brother and I since we were little because of the early passing of our parents. We practically moved from one aunty’s house to another as well as one uncle’s house to another.
The good part of all our suffering was that we were both able to finish school. We would have loved to go for our master’s degree but that was not just going to be possible because of our poor financial situation and we didn’t want to continue troubling our uncles and aunties for help. Long since we finished school, we both went around looking for jobs but we had to manage the menial ones we got. My brother got tired and decided to try his luck at Abuja. Its been well over a year since he left and although we talk over the phone every day, I still miss him so dearly. However, I know that hustling must go on. As for me, I stopped hustling after I got a job at a big mansion as a housekeeper.
Surprising right? Why should being a housekeeper be enough for me? Well, it’s not as simple as that. The name housekeeper was only my cover but the real job was something else. Here, let me tell you how it started and what really happened.
Back then when I was hustling, I was still working as a salesgirl for a woman who felt she could step on anyone at any time when I saw a vacancy for a housekeeper at one of the mansions owned by the Averos. The Averos are very rich people who have influence all over the country. Their father, Chief Luke Avero, is a member of the house of representatives at the federal level. His wife and two daughters also held different political offices but his crazy son was a celebrity. He was into movies, modelling and anything entertainment.
This family lived largely and since I knew some people who worked with them, I knew they paid very well, no matter the position one occupied in their home or company. Of course, I am a graduate but in a country where good employment with good pay is gold, I decided to take what was available and go for the interview.
By 8:00 AM on the morning of the interview, I was set and soon on my way to the Averos’ mansion which was located somewhere in the Lagos Metropolis. When I got there I was very surprised to see a lot of people, especially young guys and aged women. I always thought young men wanted only white-collar jobs; I guess I was mistaken. As for the aged women, I guess the hustling wasn’t over for them, not yet.
While waiting, we stood outside in the sun for so long and I wondered if the interview would still hold or if we were in the wrong place. We weren’t given a place to stay so we gathered under the trees in the garden and sat on the trimmed grasses. Out of boredom and frustration, we started to converse with each other so as to make friends and also while away time but still, we were getting fed up.
I arrived at the venue at about 8:45 AM but as at 12noon, we still had heard nothing from the employers. They didn’t even come out to talk to us or even see us. Some of the aged women hissed and cursed before picking up their bags and going home, some of the young men and ladies also left. With every passing hour our number reduced drastically and by 4:00 PM, there were just five of us left. Me, an aged woman in her early fifties, Two Men and a teenage girl. The woman looked really tired and hungry. She was a little light-complexioned, chubby, had grey hairs that were really long and beautiful for her age. She wore a brown blouse over a very long skirt that got to her ankle.
She was quiet almost throughout. The men and the teenage girl seemed to get along well and I wondered at it but after a few minutes of eavesdropping on their conversation, I found out that they were somehow related but I wasn’t too sure how.
No wonder they were still around. I thought. They were together so I was guessing that if one decided to go home, the others will follow.
I turned my attention back to the aged woman, she looked lonely and very tired so I decided to keep her company for a while and then persuade her to go home. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I didn’t want her to get the job okay, I just felt she should not go through so much stress because of people who treated others shabbily all because they lived in a mansion.
Anyway, she didn’t listen to me. She told me she couldn’t go back home empty-handed because she was a widow with two boys and a girl who needed financial assistance for their university education. She was able to get part of the money needed but she needed ways to raise the other half. In her own words:
“I’d rather stay here until midnight and get the job than walk away now and lose out. I have nowhere else to go.”
I understood her situation perfectly and so I stopped trying to make her leave. We put the issue behind us and talked about other things. It was then I discovered how nice a woman she was. I was getting along really good with her and I enjoyed her company. Oh! Before I forget, her name is Mrs Hope Ujete.
After we had stayed a little longer and no one still came out to meet us, I decided that it was time to eat, so, I offered to buy both of us food and a bottle of malt. She thanked me as I stood up and got ready to leave the compound. I wanted to quickly buy the food and get back. I was still walking towards the large gate when one of the vehicles parked in the second garage built away from the main mansion suddenly exploded.
Unfortunately, I was close to it. The force picked me off the ground and threw me backwards. I landed hard on my back. The sudden explosion really shook me and the pains I felt from landing so hard were terrible. Fortunately, I lived seven years of my life close to an army barrack where I had lots of friends. My friends and I formed a scout group in the barracks and we were constantly given combat training by some of the soldiers.
Although the scout group was used for some security jobs, it was nothing too serious. The training helped me so many times later in my life and I am still grateful for it. While lying on the ground after the explosion, I remembered what our scout instructors told us about sudden attacks and how to survive it. Refusing to waste more time, I quickly got to my feet and staggered to the others who were equally surprised and shocked by the blast.
While we were wondering what was going on, especially since no one came out from the mansion to ask what happened and also take in the damages, we saw some masked men walk into the compound. They held the security man at gunpoint and pulled him along. The sight frightened us and I was sure I was really in the wrong place.