The fascinating and difficult life experiences of a simple woman.
Roseline Ibitomisin Dupe was born in Ekirin Ade community, Ijumu LGA in Kogi State. Her parents, Mr and Mrs Joseph Ologbonsaye had thirteen children, and she was the tenth. Roseline grew up in a low-income family. At the time of her birth, her father was a farmer, while her mother was a petty trader.
Roseline’s dad was a very peaceful and kind gentleman, while her mother was a disciplinarian. She grew up in a Christian home. However, taking care of 13 children was challenging for her parents. So, when she was just three years old, her aunt took her away from her parents to live with her. Although her parents felt relieved of the responsibility, they didn’t know what awaited their child in her new home.
While growing up at her aunt’s house, the little child experienced severe maltreatment, hunger, and starvation. While her mates were going to school, she was either going to the farm or the village market to sell one item or the other. When Roseline’s mum discovered that her daughter wasn’t going to school, she had a bitter quarrel with her sister, and took her daughter away.
A few months later, Roseline was sent to live with her uncle. She was so happy when he registered her at a primary school. She lived with them for some years before they sent her to another family. So, basically, Roseline spent her childhood days moving from one family to another, and all that influenced her negatively.
“I have tried to forget my childhood experiences because each time I remember the hardship, maltreatment, and abuse that I went through, it makes me so sad. Living with different families had a negative impact on my life. One of the things I learned was to be very abusive and disrespectful. When I finally returned to my family, I came back with those habits.
I still remember those days when I would stand outside the house abusing my mother. Flogging me was a waste of time because I had already gotten used to it. So, what my mother did was pray for me. I thank God that after I gave my life to Christ, all those habits were taken away.
Due to my childhood experiences, I decided not to send any of my children to live with anyone. I would rather suffer with them than send them to a place where they will be maltreated. “
Roseline attended Baptist LSM Primary School, Ekirin Ade. On gaining her First School Leaving Certificate, she moved to Government Secondary School, Agbamu. During her school days, she was assigned the positions of a Games Prefect and an Assistant House Captain.
“I attended a boarding school, and I enjoyed the time I spent there. In those days, they used to serve us delicious food, and some of the meals had never been prepared in my home. So I was happy to be a student.
One teacher I will never forget is my English teacher. She was a serving corps member who taught me the rudiments of English language. She would give me extra assignments and monitor my learning progress. I admired her so much and wanted to be like her. She also encouraged me to give my best to my studies.
Most of the students over there were not serious about their studies. They would either leave the classroom as soon as a teacher entered or sit in the classroom to mock the teacher. I was influenced negatively by their conduct and was inattentive during lessons. Unfortunately, when I wrote my WAEC examination, I failed most of the subjects, and that made me miss the opportunity to pursue the career I wanted. “
While growing up, Roseline’s dream was to become a nurse. Unfortunately, her results were poor, and when she asked her brother to register her to write WAEC again, he refused. Roseline found herself at a crossroads, and she didn’t know which career path to follow. Then, one of her uncles suggested that she pick up the teachers’ training college form. She accepted, and that was how her journey to becoming a teacher started.
Roseline got her National Diploma Certificate at the College of Education, Ilorin. Later, she got the opportunity to attend Adekunle Ajasin University, in Ondo State, where she obtained a Bachelor in Education certificate.
“I worked as a teacher for 30 years and retired voluntarily in 2020. I never had any challenges during my period of service. The only thing I don’t like is how the government treats teachers. The salary was poor, and most of the time, they didn’t pay us at the end of the month. I had to do other petty trades to support my family.
My most fulfilling moment as a teacher was when I met a former student who had become successful in life. On that day, I was walking by the roadside when a jeep stopped by and a very giant-looking man came down and prostrated to greet me. While he was smiling, I asked him who he was. I was very happy when he mentioned that I was his teacher in school. He told me his name, but I couldn’t even remember because many children bearing the same name had passed under my tutelage. Such encounters revive my feelings of fulfilment and reassure me that all good teachers will be rewarded in heaven. “
While growing up, Roseline had a cordial relationship with the opposite sex. She had Christian male friends who helped her in building her spiritual life. She later met the love of her life, Mr Ibitomisin, and they got married in 1994.
Her husband was a god-fearing man. According to her, he was the nicest man she had ever met. They lived happily both in times of lack and abundance. They were two best friends who were open to each other. They had four girls and unlike many other men, he didn’t harass her for giving birth to only female children. He loved them equally and ensured that his family didn’t lack anything. However, the story changed when he died in 2018.
“After my husband died, I looked up to the sky and couldn’t even say a word. I cried till my tears stopped flowing. I’ve always felt that I would spend my retirement days travelling around the world with him, but God took him away at a time we needed him most.
My husband was both the foundation and pillar of our home. So when he died, everything was shattered. Where was I supposed to start from? My salary wasn’t even enough to feed the family. I wondered how I would pay my children’s school fees, and house rent. To be frank, I was devastated. Two years later, I retired from the teaching field, and that was how I stopped receiving any salary alerts.
Sadly, we live in a country where the government delays the payment of pensions and gratuities. They don’t care about how we survive after retirement. When I looked at the circumstances, I found myself in, I wept.
I got so worried to the point that I became paralyzed. Yes! Worry, anxiety, and depression brought out the worst in me, but I thank God for rescuing me. I had to encourage myself to be strong and stay alive for the sake of my children. “
Roseline is a very hard-working woman. She started hustling when she was still a young girl. She used to travel to Lagos to buy clothes at a cheaper rate and resell them in Ilorin. Over the years, she has sold fish, groundnuts, palm oil, and different food items. She said that the only thing she hasn’t done to earn money is to steal or kidnap someone.
“I never understood the sufferings some widows go through until I walked in those shoes. Honestly, my family and I have been surviving only by the grace of God. Since the government is delaying the payment of my retirement benefits, I used the little money I had to start up a small provision store business, and we were sustained by the profits I made from it.
I’m grateful for the daughters I have. They are all born-again Christians who depend on God to supply their needs. While in school, there were times when there was no money to buy food items, but after they prayed, God touched the hearts of people to assist them. They are not lazy at all, and sometimes they do part-time jobs to earn money.”
Life as a widow has not been easy for Roseline, but she finds her consolation in God’s promises that are written in the Bible. In the last few years, whenever her children’s school fees were due for payment, they’ve always received a divine provision. At present, two of her daughters have graduated from university, and the other three are almost done with their studies.
According to Helen Keller, life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Challenges bring out the inner strength in us. Mrs Roseline advises you to rely on God if you are in a difficult situation because He has the solution to every problem.
“One lesson I learned after my husband’s death is that if you put your trust in a man, you will be disappointed. Do you know that even up till today, some of my late husband’s siblings have not sent their condolences to us? During the burial, many people promised to support us, but they didn’t keep their word.
I still remember the man who collected my daughter’s bank account number and assured her that he would send money to her. Days, weeks, and months passed by and we didn’t hear from him. Then one day, when we had no food in the house, I sent him a text message to assist us. There was no response. Another time, I repeated the same mistake of seeking financial assistance and got no feedback.
I understand that everyone is dealing with the challenges of life, but if he had given an excuse instead of snubbing us, I wouldn’t have been hurt. After that incident, I vowed never to put my faith in a man again because he would disappoint me. I trust in God to touch the hearts of men to either buy my goods or assist us financially. “
Recently, Mrs Roseline relocated to Port Harcourt, where her children are currently residing. During her leisure time, she enjoys reading Christian Women’s Mirror and listening to gospel music. She said that if she had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with a well-known figure, she would love to meet Pastor Williams Kumuyi and his wife. She considers him to be her mentor and follows his biblical teachings.
With all the difficulties, there is still plenty of laughter in Rosleline’s family. She is also praying that her daughters become successful so they can take care of her when she’s old. So, while she waits to reap the fruits of her labour, she will continue to be a SUPERMOM to her children.