How I became a Mai Shayi

Where should I begin now? My business collapsed, I have nothing to take care of my family. My second wife left me just a fortnight after my Father’s passing. He had passed the mantle of responsibility to me; I remember vividly what he always told me;

“you will one day look after your younger ones”. This sentence was a huge responsibility for me.

In the beginning, Under the baobab tree, the sun was shining on my face. Sleeping under the shed was not a solution; putting on the fan was not a solution as well. I came out of the room and stared at the open space in the compound. My eyes were red, filled with tears as my stomach was crying with hunger. I floated with the cloud at night to leave my village to get something to eat and become a man. I had two wives and five children in my village, and they were living in our family house. The burden to take care of them was a nightmare that I had to overcome.

My first marriage.

My first wife was an arranged marriage, and I only got to know about it when my friend (Kabiru) called me on the phone to give me the news. I had to return to the village the next day. On my arrival, the weary look I saw on my Father’s face signifies a problem. But my friend had narrated all the story on the phone before I came home. My sight could not avoid contact with my Father at the open space in the middle of the house when he called me.

At that moment, I thought the world would descend on me, but his question was why It took me so long to come home. After hearing my opinion on what I had gone to do in the city a few weeks ago, his final decision was to get me married. Marriage will make you stay home or close since you have someone to look after. I got married to a lady with whom we only came in contact for less than a month; there was no affection between us; she was my Father’s friend daughter, who had died a few years ago. Their friendship had grown into a strong relationship and now turn into relatives. They were together since childhood and had attended the same school.

After my marriage in the village, I got a small place to establish my small business, selling vegetables and other farm produce in the village. The days were moving smoothly, under the spacious sky. Before the year runs out, my wife gave birth to a bouncing baby girl.

My Father’s Death

Three years after the birth of my first daughter, my Father passed away in a fatal accident on his way back home from the city. He had gone to get some goods that run out of stock at his small shop. The information came to us, and we went to the accident location. My heart was heavy; tears roll down my cheeks like a Gurara waterfall. We prepared him and performed the rituals according to Islamic belief. Relatives, friends, and people from a nearby village and those around came to offer their condolences. I am the eldest son of my Father; things had to be under my watch, I have to take all his responsibilities.

During the first year after his death, things had flourished, my Father’s business expanded, I traveled out of my hometown to get some goods from the city. I took care of my family and everyone under my Father’s care. Mind you, I was at a young age o 18 years. I had to take on all these responsibilities. I have no time for myself nor my family. I was always at the market from dusk till dawn. Food had to be brought to me at the market.

As I saw business flourishing, one day, I just decided to take another wife.

My Second Wife and The Market Incident

My second marriage took place three years after my Father’s death. It was a love marriage; not like my first marriage, or so I thought. Along the way, something very touching happened, and that was the beginning of my challenges.

On a good morning after taking my bath and getting ready to go to the market, information came across to us that the market was on fire. I was confused and had to rush down to the market to check the affected areas. On reaching there, my heart got broken from what I saw. Our shops got burnt, we could not remove even a needle.

It turned out that the fire started with a spark from the market transformer at night, the wind had blown down some pole wires, and as they were yet to be fixed. I sat at different locations, imagining how the event happened and how the place used to look like. It has now become a memory that will never fade away.

Where should I begin now? My business is down; I have nothing left. The fire incident occurred a day after I bought some goods in large quantities.

An idea came to me on how to approach the new life I found myself in. During those days I visited the city so often. I met my mother to discuss the idea that I will be going to the city to look for what to do. Her first question was:

Mother: who will look after your family and us?

Musa: That should not be a problem. I will be sending money for food and other necessary materials.

I prepared for the journey and left the next day. On my arrival in the city, I remembered Kabiru, the same friend that told me about my first marriage. He lived in an uncompleted building in Abuja, and I went to him. We discuss several business plans, as I told him about my situation. He advised me on what business I should start. My final decision was to begin selling Indo Mie and egg. I got an open space across the road, where people can quickly locate me. I bought all the necessary pieces of equipment needed to start the Indo Mie business. That was how I became a Mai Shayi.

The business is moving gradually, and at the end of the month, I send money to my family and my mother and sometimes go by myself. As the business expanded, I joined the cooking of pasta by selling Tea and bread.

The Mai Shayi business has been the routine for some years. With this my little but thriving business, I take care of my family, mother, and young ones back at home. Now I have one wife, and Allah has blessed me with six children, two males, and four females.

This is my story.