When Biola Adelabu was told she would never amount to anything, she didn’t argue. She came from a generation of poor men who had egos the size of a mountain. Her father was a taxi driver who barely earned enough to feed his family of five; a wife he insisted shouldn’t work, three children and a paralyzed father who wouldn’t accept his rich friend’s offer to treat him for free. The only reason Biola was in school was the free education policy the new governor implemented. So when her maths teacher told her she would die a pauper in a village because she wouldn’t give in to his advances, she said nothing.
She said nothing because she didn’t think anyone who would talk that way deserved to know about her dreams. She grew up seeing her mother cry because she had to ask her husband for the littlest of things which was almost always not available and she swore never to be in that position.
During one of the few times she had access to a friend’s internet enabled phone, she had read that ” When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” and she agreed. How else would she have met Aunty Helen, the 60 year old woman who insisted she should be called aunty? It was true she wouldn’t stop talking about how much she loved buildings, but she never thought she would meet someone who would hold her hand.
She had met Aunty Helen on one of her constant visits to construction sites, a practice her father disapproved of. The woman was intrigued by the passion Biola exuded and although, she didn’t have enough to sponsor her, she promised to help in whatever way she could.
“God bless that woman”, Biola thought with a wide smile as she kicked a stone out of the way. After talking to Aunty Helen for about ten minutes, she was on her way home from a phoning booth. The latter had told her that three of the scholarships she applied for were successful. She couldn’t wait to tell her parents and her siblings, especially Tade who was always going on about how pointless going to school was with their situation.
She knew she came from a disadvantaged background but it didn’t deter her. To her, it was simply a sign that she had to try twice as hard. One thing she promised herself she would never do is to resign to her fate.