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Friday, December 8, 2023

My goal is to be wealthy -Caterer who beat the odds after becoming single mom-of-three at 22

In the realm of remarkable journeys, few stories shine as brightly as that of our guest today. A single mother who weathered the storms of life with unwavering determination, she triumphed over adversity that threatened to consume her.

Striving to protect herself and her children, she found the strength to escape an abusive relationship, turning her shattered life into a narrative of resilience and fortitude.

Today, she stands tall as a successful caterer, event planner, farmer, and nutritionist. Her story is a testament to the extraordinary heights one can reach when armed with nothing but the power of the human spirit.

Hear her riveting story:

My name is Kolade Modupe Olabimpe, and I am in my late 50s. I was born in Ibadan, Oyo State, and my parents are from Ekiti State. I am the first of four children. While growing up, my mother was a dutiful housewife who managed a canteen, and my dad was the chief security officer at the Premium Hotel, Ibadan. I was my father’s favourite child, and he wanted the best for me.

The first school I attended was Àláfíà Institute Primary School, Mokola, Ibadan, before proceeding to Mount Olivet Grammar School, Bódìjà, also in Ibadan, for my secondary school education.

After that, I studied at the Davog Institute of Catering and Hotel Management Services and had also obtained several diploma certificates in catering and nutrition.

The father of two of my children used to prepare and sell charms to people. So, it is very obvious that I was under a spell

My journey to single motherhood
While growing up, I was really passionate about acting, but my dad didn’t want me to study theater arts. After high school, I got the opportunity to audition for a role in one of the soap operas. I had gone to the MTV office in Ibadan to visit my friend who was working there. So, when one of the producers heard me speak, he encouraged me to join the audition, and that was how I got the role.

The first time I was shown on TV was in 1981. When my father saw me on television, he was not happy about it. So, he got another job in one of the local governments in Ekiti State and instructed that I leave Ibadan for good.

Relocating to a rural area actually killed my dreams of becoming an actress. I was living with my cousin, and I didn’t know anyone in the village. So, one day, I bumped into a young, handsome man that I knew back then in Ibadan. He used to woo me, and meeting him again in that village was a big surprise to me.

When he asked me to be his girlfriend, I didn’t think twice before accepting the offer because I felt we were meant to be together. My love for him blinded me. I later discovered that I was pregnant, but he wasn’t aware because he had gone back to Ibadan and there was no means of communication back then.

When my parents heard about the mistake I made, they were so disappointed. Remember that my dad sent me to the village because he wanted me to focus on building a better future for myself? Sadly, I got there and still went astray.

I gave birth to a baby boy and also parted ways with the father of my son. Raising my child was not easy at all. Apart from the financial challenges, I also had to deal with criticism, rejection, and discrimination.

Being a single mother shouldn’t be an excuse for poverty. Get up, be creative, and work hard

While I was still searching for a good source of income, my aunt heard about a man who was looking for a caregiver. According to what I was told, the man’s wife had abandoned their four children, and he needed someone to look after them. So I was sent to work for him as a caregiver.

In the beginning, I used to go there in the morning and returned at night. But after a while, I started living with the family. I still can’t tell how I became his sex mate. That man was very abusive. He was working with a politician campaign team, and whenever he came back from work, he would beat me to his satisfaction before going to bed with me.

For three years, I lived with him, and my parents didn’t even know where I was. My aunt just told them that I was working somewhere. So, one day, my mother traced my location. When she saw me, she said, “Are you pregnant? Is this the work they said you were doing?” I was speechless and bowed my head in shame.

Did you know that I gave birth to two children for him without him paying a dowry? He was a merciless brute and very diabolical. I still remember that he used to prepare and sell charms to people. So, on a second thought, it is very obvious that I was under a spell.

I didn’t love him, and we were not even friends. He was far older than I. So, why I stayed in that house is still a mystery to me. As mentioned earlier, he used to beat me up, and I was a laughing stock in the neighbourhood.

On several occasions, I wanted to leave the house, but I was afraid of going back to my parents. What was I supposed to say to them? How was I supposed to take care of three children? I was just 22 years old.

I’m almost 60 years old now, and I have never been married. However, I have no regrets

So, I continued to endure the molestation until the last straw that broke the camel’s back. On that day, while he was beating me, I ran away and hid in a neighbour’s house. He didn’t know where I was, and while he was leaving for work, he said, “Keep hiding because when I come back today, I will kill you.”

After he left, I quickly came out of the neighbour’s room, took my children, and left his house. I didn’t want to wait to confirm if he was joking or not. No matter what I had gone through, I wasn’t ready to die in the hands of a stranger. So, I moved on and continued to struggle for survival.

The catering business
After the birth of my first son, I couldn’t just sit down and watch my life crumble before me. I needed to cater for him, but I had no good job or skill. So, I attended a catering school. By the time I got my OND certificate, I was already earning money from cooking.

I also obtained a certificate in food and nutrition. So, as a nutritionist, I don’t just cook any kind of food. I always ensure that my meals contain all the necessary nutrients. I have worked in different hospitals and hotels. I have trained many people, and so far, the journey has been amazing.

Since I have a certificate in food and nutrition, I was able to start my private practice as a dietitian. I am also a farmer. I have a garden in my house where I plant all types of fruits. I breed chickens, turkeys, and I am ready to do more.

My goal is to be wealthy—not just rich but wealthy

As a young single mother, I went through a lot. Yes! It is a very long story, and the summary is that it wasn’t easy at all. I lost one of my children, but the other two are adults now.

I have been in the catering business for more than 30 years. When I was cooking for hotels, I experienced sexual harassment. There was a day I received three queries because I refused to have affairs with two of my bosses. At some point, I got tired of working in that industry and switched to working in hospitals.

You see, I am a jack of all trades. I used to work really hard because I had no one to depend on except God. My goal is to be wealthy—not just rich but wealthy—so I can always put a smile on the faces of people around me.

Self-fulfilling moment
My self-fulfilling moment comes from helping people. Apart from contributing to their financial needs, I also serve as a counsellor, marriage coordinator, friend, confidant, mother, and everything in-between.

Through counselling, I have helped many couples restore their marriages, and I have also saved some women from losing their lives to domestic violence.

So far, I have been experiencing joy and fulfillment from my selfless services. I am almost 60 years old now, and I have never been married. However, I have no regrets because I have my children and grandchildren. They love and care about me, and my world revolves around them.

Final word of advice
To every woman reading this: know your worth and believe in yourself. If you are in a relationship where your life is threatened, please save yourself before it is too late.

Plan for the future, but also depend on God for wisdom and direction. Every day, when you wake up in the morning, look into the mirror and make some positive affirmations.

If you want to be successful, you must avoid laziness. Being a single mother shouldn’t be an excuse for poverty. Get up, be creative, and work hard. You can be whatever you want to be if you put your heart into it.

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