I got dressed in my jeans trousers and white T-shirt and
noticed to my dismay that I was losing some weight as the jeans trouser which
used to hug my bottom, was loose.
“Which kain thing be dis na?” I say to myself as I make a
mental note to quickly chop up.
I left my house and walked the short distance to Jimoh’s school
which wasn’t far from out house. I reached the gate and saw an elderly gate man
at the gate
“Good morning sir.” I greeted.
“Good morning.” He answered staring at me interestedly.
“I dey find work and my broda tell me say, work dey for
inside school.”
“Work? Which type of work?” He asked in confusion.
“Kitchen work.” I replied.
“We nor get kitchen for dis school.” He said.
“Na…errrm…mama put work.” I say quickly.

“You mean say, Mama Nkechi dey find pesin to work for am?”
“Na Mama Nkechi dey sell food?”
“Nor be only she but de oda woman wey dey sell get pesin wey
dey work with am.” He supplied.
“Okay, na Mama Nkechi I wan work with.”
“Make I ask am…wait small.” He said and closed the gate.
At about five minutes later, he opened the gate and a woman
stared at me.
“I know you?” She asked.
“No ma, na my boy wey dey for house talk say he hear when
you say you dey find pesin wey go helep you.”
She looked at me.
“Yes, I talk say I need pesin but…”
“Ehen….na true he talk.” I said quickly.
“Yes I know say na true but e be like say you dey
over-qualify for the job.” She said.
“Me ke? Over qualify?” I croaked.
She sighed and said.
“I go try you for today…if you work well, then…”
“You nor go dey disappointed…” I promised.
The gateman opened the door wider as I walked into the
school.
“After ya trial today, I go carry you go meet the school
nutrition teacher…na de kain protocol we dey observe for hia.” The woman
said.
“My name na Abosede.” I introduced.
“Everybody dey call me Mama Nkechi but my name na Titi….I
dey marry Igbo.” She said.
I smiled as I followed her towards the school canteen.
*********
It was break time and I was amazed at the way pupils of the
primary school rushed towards the canteen with their money in their hands.
“Rice twenty naira, plantain ten naira…” They shouted,
calling out their orders.
Mama Nkechi had to take some food to some teachers so she
taught me how to sell food to the pupils. The least amount of rice stood at
twenty naira per spoon, plantain was five naira per slice and meat was twenty
naira per piece. There was spaghetti and beans but she had assured me that
beans wasn’t a favourite of the pupils.
I saw Jimoh roaming about the canteen area and called out to
him, his eyes brightened as soon as he saw me and he hurried up to the stall.
“Auntie…” He smiled.
“You don chop?” I asked.
“Mummy nor give me money come school today.” He said.
I quickly brought out a plate and served him some food,
Jimoh had a soft spot in my heart and I really liked him a lot. Staring at him
reminded me of an unpleasantness that happened long ago but my mother had stood
in for me. I gave him the plate of food and he happily took it from me with
thanks.
For the children who stood in queues to buy food, I served
them with half portion of food as I was very hungry and I had calculated the amount
of food I needed to eat. For instance, when a child asked for rice of fifty
naira, I served her or him thirty naira worth of rice and put the twenty naira’s
worth into a nylon bag just behind the cooler. By the time I was done selling,
I was exhausted. I was able to finish selling before Mama Nkechi came back as
she took a while with the teachers and she was very pleased with a job well
done. She was just appraising me when a small child walked up to us.
“Mama Nkechi, dis ya food today nor try at all ooo…if you
see fifty naira rice ehn…” The girl whined.
“Nor vex…na rice don put money for market.” Mama Nkechi
said.
“Na when rice put money? Nor be de same fifty naira rice I
dey buy from you every day? Today own na wah.” The girl said disappointingly.
“Keep quiet, see as you dey talk like say Mama Nkechi be ya
mate.” I fired.
“Shebi na you sell de shikere rice wey I chop abi?” She said
snapping her little finger at me. “You go see if I go come here buy food
tomorrow…”
“Patience, which kain talk be dat one na? Of course you go
buy food for my shade tomorrow.” 
Mama Nkechi said patronisingly to the girl.
“No! I go buy from Iya Tosin shade…dis kain rice wey I
chop today nor reach half of my belle.” The girl said.
“Oya come, make I put small rice give you…you hear?” Mama
Nkechi said.
The girl waited for another plate of rice to be served to
her while I seethed. I glared at my small bag where I had stored the rice in
the nylon bag and desperately wanted to go home to feast on my loot.
“Rice don even finish for inside cooler.” Mama Nkechi said. “You
see say, na correct measurement my assistant give you.” She said as she handed
over the plate of rice to her.
“You sure say she nor chop am finish?” The sharp mouthed
girl asked.
“Go chop ya food jare! Nor use dat ya mouth insult pesin for
hia, Abosede nor be ya mate.” Mama Nkechi said sounding upset.
The girl took the plate of food and walked over to seat on a
bench to eat the food.
“Nor mind dese pikin dem, nor be how all of dem dey behave
ooo but dis particular pikin dey too stubborn.” Mama Nkechi said.
“Issorait….make I dey go house na…shebi my work don
finish.”
“Yes, ya work don finish. You go just help me wash de cooler
dem and put am for barrow. I go pack de small rice wey remain for my pikin dem.”
She said.
I was shocked, so I don’t get any food for working at a
school canteen?
“You don pass probation so from tomorrow, I go dey pay you
two hundred naira per day.” She said.
My eyes widened in shock! Two hundred naira? What? After
sweating over the sale of food to over one hundred children and receiving insults
from a small girl, all I was to receive was two hundred naira? Was life this
hard?

To be continued next week…

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