A few weeks ago, a story in the news caught my attention. It was a story of a female bus driver in Lagos State, Nigeria. To properly put this story in perspective, in Nigeria, it is quite unusual to see a female bus driver or even a taxi driver. I don’t know if that is the same in your country but in Nigeria, the male folk rule in this field.
The reasons for this are not far fetched. The job of a Nigerian bus driver is very demanding. He/She has to grapple with the gradually disintegrating roads in some areas, wild traffic congestion, crazy road users who will give Luis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso a run for their money in Formula One, clever extortionists who come in different shades and sizes – ranging from violent motor park touts to annoying traffic management officials to funny vehicle inspection agents to the shiny-eyed Policemen on duty etc. I could go on and on.
So, try to imagine a woman by name, Mrs Bolaji Adedotun in all of this drama. She took to the hectic vocation of Bus Driving over a year ago when her darling husband lost his job. With mounting bills to pay, especially the school fees of their three (3) children, she just couldn’t fold her hands any more.
I am not sure how she got the bus. Maybe they have always had the bus. Maybe she got someone that could give her the bus on a hire arrangement. I really don’t know, even though I care. But the key thing here is that she got a bus and put it to direct use. She didn’t get a driver that would run the business and make daily or periodic returns. Maybe she had realised that many of those drivers often come back at the end of the day with stories that touch the heart, stories that always end with no money being delivered. She just didn’t want to hear any of that crap. So she decided to run the business herself.
One year into the business, here is what she has to say, “I make at least N10, 000 (USD$63) per day. People admire me and give me monetary gifts; they love what I am doing… and encourage me to continue doing what I am doing.”
This story got me thinking… this woman could have folded her hands and waited for her husband to get another job. She could have given her husband hell and promised to leave him if he didn’t get another job quickly. She could have started seeing a “man-friend” in the neighbourhood whose wallet is loaded with United States, and Canadian Dollars (certainly not Zimbabwean Dollars). But no, she chose a different path.
She was concerned about the situation her husband was going through. She was concerned about how their seemingly helpless situation was going to affect their children’s education, if things didn’t change. She didn’t want the quality of life her family had hitherto enjoyed to depreciate. She was concerned enough to start thinking of what she could do to change the situation and that concern now fetches her about N260, 000 (USD$1,625) every month.
Glean some wisdom from this African amazon. Your deep concern for a problem will lead you to the solution to the problem. Your determination will get you thinking about what you can do. Your sincere concern will get your creative juices pumping. Your determination to deal with that issue will open your eyes to those “hidden” opportunities around you which you had hitherto not seen. Your concern has the potential to reward you abundantly.
Are your parents unable to pay your school fees? Have you been unemployed since you graduated six (6) years ago? Did you just lose your great job just recently? Has your promotion been stalled for over 7 years? As concerned as I am about what you are going through, I am more concerned about this – are you actually concerned about the situation? Or you are just not bothered? Are you determined to take crucial steps to solve the problem? My Friend, this is where the rubber meets the road.
As we become genuinely concerned about the issues around us and start taking steps to solve them, my Country, your Country, the continent of Africa will gradually experience the breath of fresh air which we all deeply crave and feel that wind of change that we have been longing for.
Mrs Bolaji Adedotun clearly exemplifies the Power of Determination.
What is holding you back?