Roseline Nubani’s story reads more like the fabled Tales From The Arabian Nights! As the last of 11 children born to poor farmers, Nubani knew deprivation first hand. Her situation became critical when she was widowed after nine years of marriage, saddled with three underage kids. She shares her riveting story exclusively with Iya Magazine
“My name is Roseline Nubani, and I am from Rukpokwu community in Obio Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State. I grew up in a humble family and I am the last child out of 11. My parents were farmers, and they did their best to raise us. Unfortunately, I have lost both of my parents and six of my siblings.
I’m the last of 11 children. Life was hard growing up
The first school I attended was State Primary School in Rukpokwu, before I proceeded to Community Secondary School in Okoro-Nu-Odu. Both schools are in Port Harcourt. Life in secondary school was challenging. Because my parents were poor, I used to trek to school. I missed so many classes because I had to follow my parents to the farm.
As a child, I learned to be hardworking. My dream was to become a nurse, but when I got admission into a higher institution, my parents couldn’t afford the school fees. So, I got married immediately after I left secondary school.
My husband was from Ogoni, in Rivers State. He was a very nice man, but nine years after we got married, he died. I have three children, and they were very tender when that incident happened.
After his death, my children and I lived in abject poverty. So, I started working as a farm labourer. Some of the people I worked for were very nice. They used to give me some of their harvested farm produce. I also met some people who found it difficult to pay me the N600 daily wage.
As a labourer, I was not getting jobs every day, and on such days, we would either beg for food or stay hungry. So, a time came when I met a woman who showed me how to get periwinkles from the rivers in Rumuolumeni community. After picking the periwinkles, we would take them to the market to sell.
I got married immediately after secondary school because my parents couldn’t afford university tuition
To be frank, my family suffered greatly. We couldn’t even afford a healthy meal. I still remember those days when my children would go to the market to pick pepper and okra abandoned by sellers. Fish and meat were another luxury that we couldn’t afford. I had a neighbour who was selling frozen fish, and she used to give me the heads of fish that her customers had rejected. That was how we got by.
As time went by, I got a little capital and started managing different petty businesses. I sold corn, crabs, vegetables, garri, plantain, and many other items depending on the season. The people in my community used to call me a “jack of all trades,” but they didn’t really understand why I was working so hard.
Nine years into our marriage, my husband died, leaving me with three very small children
I wasn’t doing all the work alone. My children were supporting me. After returning from school, they used to hawk some items on the streets. When they became older, they learned different vocational skills and started taking care of themselves with the little income they earned.
As a widow, I have been embarrassed and mocked by callous people. On several occasions, I cried to God to help me because He promised to be a husband to the widow and a father to the fatherless. However, while I was still praying, the struggle for survival continued for many years.
One thing I have learned in life is that nothing can dim your light when it is your turn to shine. While I was still hoping for the best, a woman saw me one day and said, “Rose, don’t give up. God can see all the sacrifices you are making for your children and as long as there is life, one day, you will eat with a golden spoon.”
When she said that, I was wondering where the golden spoon would come from because I didn’t have rich uncles or aunts who were willing to support me. I never knew that God works in mysterious ways. So, after many years of living in penury, He sent a destiny helper to me and changed my story for good.
I grew from being a tenant who couldn’t afford her rent to becoming a land owner
This helper empowered and elevated me from a farm labourer to someone who manages a supermarket. Thankfully, the business is flourishing, and today, I can afford anything that I want. Guess what! The same woman who couldn’t pay her house rent back then has become a land owner today. My children are grown now, and my first child is happily married.
Although I’m a workaholic, I relax by singing. I have two favourite hymns that I sing to cheer me up. I also enjoy spending time with my children and grandchildren.
Advice for women
I want to advise all mothers who are experiencing financial challenges to always look up to their Father in heaven. Don’t assume that when things are tough, Mr. A or Mr. B will come to your aid, because they will fail you. Hold on to the Solid Rock and He will provide your daily bread.
Finally, don’t ever lose hope. Keep praying and believing in your heart that one day, you will also eat with a golden spoon.