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WOMEN OF CIRCUMSTANCES (I): Sorrowful tales of single mothers in debt, who engage in menial jobs to send their kids to schools

Following the resumption of primary and secondary schools, which put pressure on parents’ hustling and bustling spirits, particularly single mothers who are raising their children independently, Within Nigeria journalist, SODIQ LAWAL CHOCOMILO spoke with a number of single mothers who opened up about their struggles and how their husbands had abandoned them.

In the first of this second series, he writes about two single mothers with two and three children, respectively, who are designated as Abiodun and Bukola (not real names). He talks about Bukola, whose children had left their private schools and were considering dropping out of public school too, and Abiodun, whose mother struggles to afford her children’s tuition.

Abiodun Adeosun, a 36-year-old woman who lived in the same neighborhood as this reporter, had followed her two sons, Dipo and Kola, to school to beg the proprietor to let the kids enter their respective classrooms. This took place after one of their teachers wrote a brief note inside their assignment book to remind them that they still owed tuition for the previous session.

Kola, a seven-year-old child, owes N10000, while Dipo, his 12-year-old sibling, owes N15000. Since the previous session, these amounts were meant to have been paid. Abiodun (not her real name) warned in her native Yoruba language that if she didn’t accompany them to school, they would be sent back home or told to wait in the scorching sun outside the school gate.

Abiodun, who was waiting on an electric pole for her oldest son to return from buying puff-puff, informed this reporter that she had no alternative but to accompany them to school, bow down, and beg the owner if she did not want them to roam the streets.

“I did the best I could. My helpers appear to be struggling as well because of the difficult economy. Simply put, I’m hoping they’ll heed my request before October is over. In this awful economy, it’s quite a challenge to raise two sons at once. I occasionally experience brain overload about 2am in the morning. My blood pressure (BP) was quite high the previous time I had a test. Abiodun, who appeared somewhat dejected, said to this reporter, “I do not want to die.”

It’s very depressing. This reporter, who is attempting to find out where their father is, claims that it would have been fair or better if he were still living.

Abiodun grinned as she drew her sons to her front while struggling to keep her balance after erroneously walking on some stones. She replied as she turned to face the road that led to her sons’ school. “I want to see their principal before assembly and we still have some kilometers to trek,” she said. In order to make things simpler and faster for Abiodun and her sons, this reporter offered to drop them off in front of their school. She declined but later changed her mind after this reporter persuaded her.

She remained silent till we arrived at the school entrance for her kid. She entered the school with her sons. They entered the owner’s office as this reporter watched. She exited the school’s gate thirty minutes later and was astounded that the reporter had waited for her. What keeps you here? She enquired of the reporter. I don’t desire partial payment. This reporter answered, “Let me take you home.”

The proprietor of the school is friendly. I was given two weeks by her. I was required to affix my signature to a statement promising to pay the new fees and debt. She continued, “I really need money.

In order to protect her sons, Abiodun said she remained silent during the first ride. I don’t want them to hear what we’re saying,” she said.

“My sons have different fathers.” While I was attending Osun State Polytechnic in Iree, I had my first child. Since middle school, I’ve been in love with his father. He denied being responsible for my pregnancy, and my parents—particularly my mother—were against abortion. I struggled to finish my National Diploma after giving birth while keeping the baby. She explained, “I was unable to further my education.”

I was mistaken in believing that after receiving my ND, I would find a well-paying career. Due to my parents’ inability to support both my child and I, I had to drop out of school. Later, I picked up sewing. During my apprenticeship, I met the father of my second child. He showed me his affection. I told him that I am a single mother, and he agreed to marry me. He had understanding, love, and compassion. She continued, “Despite my errors, I was happy that I could finally settle down.

Abiodun revealed that she dated the man who would become the father of her second son for two years before they eventually got married while detailing how her narrative of love turned sour.

He purchased tailoring equipment and made two years’ worth of shop rent payments. He purchased some clothing supplies. We did families’ introduction  and cohabited for two years. Because only his friends came to our son’s naming ceremony, I began to have my suspicions about him. He said that he does not want to make noise when I questioned him. He claimed he was guarding the infant and me.

Just eight months after the naming ceremony, I returned from the shop and was rudely astonished to see that he had emptied his closet and taken certain items. Abiodun continued to cry as she explained, “I haven’t seen him in six years.” The 36-year-old woman ordered the reporter to park next to an electric pole where she alighted and said goodbye after thanking the journalist for the shift.

Abiodun Adeosun is not alone. Many of the single mothers our reporter spoke with claimed to have had challenges and difficulties in raising their kids. The percentage of children raised by a single parent rises as the number of single mothers increases. Some of these kids barely had enough money to eat three square meals a day, while others grew up in poverty. By working menial occupations on the streets, these kids seek to support their mothers.

This reporter spoke with another single mother who went by the name Bukola Olatunji (not her real name), who said that she had been raising her three kids alone for the past three years.

Further disclosing that she had pulled her kids out of private school, Bukola said she was no longer able to afford to pay their tuition, especially the bus cost.

Due to the difficult economy, I could hardly feed them. I have fed my children with both capital and profit, thus my store of provisions is now closed. Despite how exhausted I am, I can’t leave my kids. Every Monday, I go to the market, and throughout the week, I do odd jobs. A pretty dejected Bukola told WITHIN NIGERIA, “I am content as long as I feed my kids.

A victim of domestic abuse named Bukola revealed that she left her spouse because of his frequent beatings and lack of affection.

I resisted leaving my marriage because I adore my kids. Later, when my health started to decline, I made the decision to pack my stuff. Because I believed he could change, I stayed in the marriage for eight years. She went on to say, “I came to the conclusion that he can not change the moment he started womanizing and coming home very late at night as a drunk.”

Bukola claimed that her husband frequently physically abused her over flimsy excuses.

I once ended up in the hospital. Until I was released, he did not show up. He made up fabricated claims about me and told my relatives that I am careless and fornicates with males. I was forced to leave his home with no other option. My kids and I walked out. I left his residence with a swollen eye,” Bukold continued.

He was upset and irate that I took the kids. He claimed that he would not pay any school fees or take care of his children’s needs if I did not give them back. I’ve told his parents about this a number of times. He has been spoken to, but he still seems at ease with his negative attitude. For days, I fasted and prayed. Though it was a terrible choice, I was forced to end my marriage. She vehemently grumbled, “I work my ass off to feed these kids.

Shout Out!!!

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