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Thursday, June 13, 2024

My experience driving a taxi -Mom-of-four who has tried her hands on many ventures

They say what a man can do, a woman can do better. Madam Obayovo Beauty Otite who operates in a male space knows how deceptive the saying might be unless you’re truly prepared for the challenges

Over four decades ago, in the bustling city of Warri, a beautiful baby girl was born into this world. When her parents saw her, they were captivated by her striking dark complexion and angelic features.

Also, her family members were overjoyed, and they knew right away that she was going to be someone special. On the day of the christening, the baby was named Beauty.

In life, there are times for celebration and mourning. So, a few months after Beauty was born, her father died even before she could call him “Papa”.

“I was raised by my mother. She was a trader who also did menial jobs to support the family. Since I was not born with a silver spoon, my mother taught me to be very hardworking.

“As a child, I used to assist her in selling some goods in the market. When I was young, my mother sent me to live with her sister to ease her financial burden. Fortunately, my aunt was very nice to me, and she took care of me like her own daughter,” Beauty narrates.

Beauty began her educational journey at Owhase Primary School in Warri, Delta State. After completing her common entrance examination, she proceeded to the College of Commerce, Igbudu, in Warri.

Life in public secondary school was tough, Beauty said. “The environment was not conducive for learning, and some of the teachers were not dedicated to their job.”

However, despite these challenges, Beauty remained committed to her education and worked hard to keep up with the rigorous curriculum. She also learned to be creative and resourceful.

“My parents had a positive attitude towards education. Back then, I was a very brilliant student and would have attended the best schools in the world if the funds were available. Unfortunately, I couldn’t further my education to a higher level because we were experiencing hardship.”

As Beauty grew up, she fell in love with a handsome young man, and they got married. Their marriage is blessed with four children. Her husband is an oil rig worker, but the challenging aspect of his job is that it is very unstable. He is usually hired for a contract, and after the job is done, he has to wait until whenever another contract comes before earning money.

After considering the family situation, Beauty started operating a shop and was managing her household with the little profits she made. As her family grew larger, her financial responsibilities increased, and she was forced to use her capital to foot some of the household bills. Sadly, the shop folded up due to some challenges, and she had to look for other means to earn a living.

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The taxi driver 
There was a time when things were tough for Beauty’s family. Despite their best efforts, they were still struggling to provide for the family. One day, she heard an inner voice saying, “You can become a taxi driver.” After thinking very hard about the pros and cons, she decided to give it a shot.

“I still remember the first day I stepped into the taxi as a driver. My heart was racing with excitement and anticipation, but at the same time, I was a bit nervous about what lay ahead. The first few days, I noticed that some people were always staring at me. I knew that I would face some challenges, but I never imagined just how tough it would be.

You need to be strong-willed to survive on the streets. I had to drop all my pride and shame as a woman to fit into a “man’s work”. When some people saw me driving, they mocked me. But I refused to give up because I have a family to support.”

Running a taxi business comes with its own unique set of challenges. So far, Mrs. Beauty has encountered several obstacles.

“Since I had no idea about cars at that time, whenever the car had a minor issue, it was hard for me to fix it. But today, I can do better. I had to learn the ins and outs of driving a taxi, navigating the busy streets of the city, and dealing with passengers of all kinds.

“Another challenge I experienced was that some men hated entering my vehicle because they assumed that women were lazy drivers. I also experienced verbal harassment from task force agents, police, and street miscreants also known as agbero. Some of them tried to extort and intimidate me because of my gender.

“I have also met passengers who refused to pay the transport fare after arriving at their destination. Those are examples of some encounters that ruined my mood while I was hustling to make ends meet.

“Did you know that despite all the challenges, I kept pushing on? I have been working as a taxi driver for eight years now, and I’m grateful to God for His blessings so far. Through this business, my family was able to escape hardship.”

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Retirement plans
Beauty is one of the most hardworking women I have seen. She runs other side businesses to generate extra income. In the past, she has sold eggs and reared catfish.

“I am planning to retire very soon. Running a fish farm business is one of my retirement plans. I have started it, but last year, I lost some of my investment because of the location of the pond. Whenever I experience a major loss in my business, I feel very bad. However, I always find consolation in the popular adage, “The downfall of a man is not the end of him.”

Mrs. Beauty goes to work every day except on Sundays. After returning from church service, she enjoys relaxing at home with her family. She also enjoys listening to Christian songs and watching educative Nollywood movies.

Juggling the responsibilities of being a mom and a hustler can be very challenging. Mrs. Beauty said her kids help her a lot by running errands. Her husband also supports the work she does, and he is very proud of her.

Word of advice
What is preventing you from implementing that idea that is on your mind? I hope you are not listening to the naysayers. Mrs. Beauty believes that determination is the key to succeeding in every endeavour in life. Therefore, every woman should work hard to achieve her goals.

Life is not always a bed of roses. So, no matter the challenge you are going through, always put your trust in God. Finally, she said that providing a better life for her children is her top priority in life. To outsiders, she might be just a simple woman, but to her children, she is a champion and a supermom.

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