We had a friend about 20 years ago. This man had a large family, maybe six or seven kids, not too sure now. He was a junior staff in a big organization and his pay was small.
I never visited their home but my husband did a number of times. And he told me this sub story. He said whenever he went to this man’s house he noticed that the wife always seemed to be making Akamu (corn meal), in large quantities. She would buy maize and make the stuff from scratch and he noticed that beans and Akamu seemed to be the staple breakfast in that home.
I didn’t like beans very much so I didn’t care much for the story but my husband can eat beans for Africa! As a typical Isaleko, or is it Lafiaji boy, beans is an important part of the constitution.
Anyway, he eventually found a way to get the kids on his side and now my kids think that beans is bae.
But back to our man:
He did not have much money but he loved his kids and wanted them to feed well so he came up with the ingenious idea of beans and Akamu for breakfast. I don’t know what else they ate but at least for brekkie, they had protein from the beans and carbohydrates from the Akamu.
Then we lost touch with that family for many years. When we reconnected, we found out that all of the children from that family had gone to some of the best public schools in the land and had graduated with honours! 2.1 was like beans and Akamu in that house and they had gathered all kinds of academic laurels. The man was still poor materially but his kids had outshone all their peers academically.
Recently, one of the daughters bought a piece of land and built a house for her parents from her salary! My mouth was agape when I heard the story.
Was it the beans? Or was it the Akamu? Or a combination of both?
I think it is all of that and more. The options open to the family appeared to be limited but within that limit there was something they could do and they did it. Their desire to be great was bigger than their circumstances and they focused on what they had the capacity to change.
The man fed the kids with the best available within his means. His priorities were right and his goal was clear.
So today, I ask you: what is the best you can do with the resources you have? Are you paying for cable TV while you have school fees piling up? Are you kids eating noodles because ” Akamu is for poor people?”
OK, continue. The poverty in your future is “made in Germany” e no dey quick spoil.
Elsie Dennis-Oghenekaro is a successful Author, columnist, Traveling Consultant & a Warri person. She’s based in Abuja Nigeria with her lovely family.
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