I love food and cooking. Ten years ago, I started trying out recipes at home for my immediate family and I got compliments for my efforts. I played with the idea of cooking for commercial purpose in my mind. But immediately after my first degree, I got married. Being married, I encountered a lot of problems and somehow along the line forgot my dream. Though I was selling fabrics, jewelry and perfumes, it was not fulfilling for me. I have a thing for cakes and decided to learn how to make them. People find it demeaning when you want to go into commercial cooking or selling of food items. This gave me a hard time convincing my husband to allow me go to a culinary school. Finally, I found one and registered. But my marriage ended a week after and I had to leave Abuja. Back in Kano, I was depressed and did not know where to start from. Fortunately for me, my parents were supportive and stood by me. I decided to pick up my life because my parents had expectations and I had to live up to it. I found the best culinary school in Kano but their charge was extravagant. There and then I told my mum, who was there with me, that I’d rather go to a culinary school abroad than pay that much. My mother agreed with me. I traveled to Dubai and London to check for culinary schools. I found a suitable one in London and was lucky to have a very good teacher. She was patient with me as I was still vulnerable. She gave me books and I bought more books. I spent one month learning and she imparted so much on me. On coming back home, it crossed my mind people may reject my cake and I got scared. My mum placed the first order, then my sister’s fashion house and my friends followed suit. Their feedback encouraged me, so I started posting photos of their orders on social media, giving out hand flyers and complimentary cards and attending social gatherings. The rest is history.
I have been a traditional birth attendant for more than eight years. Before then, I sell cooking ingredients like locust beans, baobab leaves, cooking salt and chili powder inside my house. But what I made was never enough as I often have to dip into my capital. So I decided to become a traditional birth attendant. As a traditional birth attendant, after a woman puts to bed, I separate her baby from the placenta and bury the placenta. Finally, I bathe the mother and her baby with herbal water. And sometimes I am called back to bury the baby’s umbilical cord when it falls. I am given grains and paid two to five hundred for my services. I raised my children and assist my grandchildren from my earnings.
When I was a student, the six hours drive from Kano to Maiduguri in Borno express was unbearable. Besides the heat, I had to put my legs up on a mountain of people’s luggage, endure farts and unending stares of rural travelers. Then I get to school and have to join endless queues for basically everything. The queue for course registrations are the most annoying as the lecturers often decide to close for the day only when I am next in line. In class, a lecturer may turn up at the end of the first hour of a two hours class to give a test he did not prepare us for. I failed calculus four times. I was frustrated. My single mother worked too hard to train myself and my siblings. And I did not want to disappoint her. I am glad she remained supportive and encouraged me. My friends on the other hand, mocked me over and over for repeating one same course. The fifth time I was going to write it, I got a part one medical student to tutor me. This time I nailed it. I survived calculus, advances from my lecturer and earned a degree in agricultural science.