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Friday, July 12, 2024

I learned to struggle for survival at a tender age -Nigerian businesswoman

In the face of life’s most devastating challenges, there are individuals whose resilience shines as a beacon of inspiration. Meet Omowunmi Badmus whose journey through hardship took an unexpected turn with a fire that consumed everything she had worked for.

From the ashes of that devastating incident, Omowunmi’s unwavering determination and strength brought her back to life, demonstrating that even the darkest moments can lead to the most triumphant comebacks.

This is the story of her indomitable spirit, reminding us all that from the ruins of adversity, hope can be reignited and dreams can be rebuilt.

My name is Omowunmi Badmus, and I am from Osun State. I was born and bred in Lagos State into a polygamous family. I didn’t have an idyllic childhood experience because my parents got divorced when I was just two years old. Sadly, my mother left us in the care of my father and stepmother. As a child, my basic needs were not met. So, I learned to struggle for survival at a tender age.

The first school I attended was Opeoluwa Nursery and Primary School, before proceeding to Maya Community Grammar School, both in Lagos State. I have always loved education and wanted to become a nurse. Sadly, I had no one to sponsor my education.

After I completed my ‘O’ Levels examination, I learnt auxiliary nursing skills. I did it for a while before I stopped and relocated from Ikorodu to Mile 2 in search of greener pastures.

The journey from struggle to success
When I left my father’s house, I started living with different friends. I was on the streets all day, hunting for jobs. I worked in restaurants and even in a laundry shop. I also worked as a volunteer in one of the hospitals in Agboju, Lagos.

While I was still hoping for better things, I reconnected with an old friend who encouraged me to leave Nigeria. So, that was how I moved to the Gambia five years ago. When I arrived here, I continued hustling until I was able to raise money to start a business.

The food items store
I started this business with very little capital. In the beginning, the sales rate was very poor, but I refused to give up. I kept showing up at the store every day, and gradually, more customers started patronising my business.

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In an interval of one year, I started selling rice and beans in bags and became a major distributor of other food items. I was making huge profits, and for the first time in my life, I could pay my bills comfortably and assist my family. However, while I was still in the euphoria of becoming a successful businesswoman, something terrible happened.

The fire incident
In Gambia, during Ramadan, the demand for food items is usually very high. So, as a businesswoman, I stocked up my store with goods worth millions of naira. In addition, I also collected items worth N1.5 million on credit, and I was hoping to pay the seller after the festive period.

So, on the 24th of March, 2023, at around 3 a.m., I received a call that my shop was on fire. When I heard the news, I quickly ran out of the house to the location, and upon arrival, I was shocked to my bones.

The fire had burned everything down. As I stood there watching the ashes, I wished it was a dream, but it wasn’t. This incident happened on the first day of Ramadan, when my shop was filled with all kinds of food items. Honestly, I wanted to die with the fire because that business was everything I had worked so hard for.

I cried until my tears stopped flowing. I was literally inconsolable, and back at home that night, I kept crying and asking, “Why me?” And I kept wondering how I would pay off the debt.

I don’t have a rich uncle or aunt who is interested in supporting me. I have always struggled to survive. So, losing my only source of income was really a heart-breaking experience. I mourned for more than a month before I decided to pick up the pieces of my life and move on.

Rebuilding my business
Life might test us, but our resilience and unwavering spirit can reshape our destinies. Starting all over again was not easy, though. At this point, I want to appreciate my partner, who stood firmly beside me during my trying times. He gave me a shoulder to lean on and also supported me financially. Today, I have started the same business again. Although what I am managing right now is very small when compared to what I had, I am still grateful to God. I believe that very soon, bigger doors of success will open.

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In the next five years, my dream is to own a warehouse and become a wealthy distributor of different products. Also, if possible, I would still love to obtain a degree in nursing.

Final words
Life’s journey is full of twists and turns, and we often find ourselves facing challenges we never expected. I may not know what you have lost in the past but I want to assure you that everything will be okay.

My story should remind you that no matter the obstacles you encounter, your strength and determination can carry you through. When life knocks you down, just rise with more determination. You cannot do it alone. So, don’t be shy about asking for support from those who believe in you and are willing to help. Even if everyone turns their back on you, just look up to your Creator. He will see you through the storm. I wish you the best of luck.

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