My name is Matthew Amos, from Okene Local Government Area in Kogi State, but I was born on 29 December 1997 in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State, Nigeria and I have lived here all my life.
My dad’s name is Ibrahim Amos while my mother’s original name was Animat Issaa. She later became Funmilayo Amos when she got married to my dad and converted from Islam to Christianity. She is also from Okene.
I am the last born of their children. I have a sister, our oldest, and a brother.
I attended nursery school at the Police Children School and primary school at Saint Richard Catholic School which is along Eleyele Road, also. It is owned by the Saint Richard Catholic Church. I finished primary school in 2009.
I attended Urban Day Secondary School in Jericho and sat for my West African School Certificate Examination in 2015 but my results were not satisfactory. So, in 2017, after raising some money, I had to sit for the National Examination Council (NECO) examination. I got credits in English Language, economics, mathematics, and accounting, and a B in Yoruba.
I thought that, after this, I should go out there and earn some money to relieve my parents. They have tried enough with their meagre income to send me up to secondary school. Dad had been in furniture making for about forty years, even before having his children, while mum is a petty trader.
I was determined to take charge of my future.
I was fortunate to get a job as a sales boy at a salon that sold lady’s hair attachments.
My salary was eight thousand naira a month but the owner, a nice woman, whom I used to call “Mummy”, provided me meals in the morning and afternoon and occasional snacks.
Then something awful happened in August 2016.
I was going with her driver to deliver some items to a customer. I was seated in the back of the Sienna vehicle. Its glass windows were wound. Suddenly, I felt being choked. That morning, I had rice, beans, meat, egg, fish, yet I felt weightless. I felt like throwing everything up. So, I asked the driver to kindly stop for me so that I would not mess up the items we were going to deliver in case I threw up. It was malaria that I had and I ended up being hospitalised for five days.
On my return from the hospital, the company owner said she no longer needed my services, and that she had hired someone else.
I ended up staying home for about five months.
Life had to go on, all the same.
I put out the word that if there was any opening anywhere, I should be informed, and if there was anyone with connections, I should be helped as well.
On 28 February 2017, after about five months at home, a brother on our street – Odubiyi Street, Eleyele – told me of a vacancy for a laundryman at SkyBase Hotel, which used to be known as Onireke Hotel, along Kudeti Avenue, and asked if I would be interested.
Why not? After all, I have been doing laundry at home.
So, I went and submitted my application.
To the glory of God, the following day, 1 March 2017, I was invited to start work. That means I have been working here for the past five years.
I have this saying, “iyanu a sele”, which simply means that, wonders will occur in the life of whomsoever I tell. Well, with that immediate appointment, I could say it happened to me. It was wonderful, indeed.
Besides the official laundry work, I carry out errands for our patrons when I am free and I also wash cars, so, I earn extra money from gratification. These add up to help me sort out my expenses, the most important being my school fees, as I was admitted in 2019 as a part-time student of business administration of The Polytechnic Ibadan. But for Covid-19, I would have by now obtained my national diploma.
I have been able to manage my time as efficiently as possible.
My lecture time is always from 8 am to noon, but now that I am on the final lap – I have about two months left – they have rescheduled our timetable to noon to 4 pm and at times, 8 am to 2 pm.
We are like a family here at the hotel, so we have one another’s back. So, even as my office hours are 7 am-3 pm, I get some concessions. The work gets done – and I even do a few things extra to make everything here go smoothly. I can say that all is well.
I try to remain happy no matter the odds. It is the Lord’s doing,
Iyanu a sele. Through our Father in Heaven.
Photo: Babatunde Adeniran, in Ibadan
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