For the last 3 weeks I’ve been helping a friend supervise the work on his car- He is restoring an old Mitsubishi pajero his dad gave him… so, last Friday, I went to pick the car; after the mechanic, electrician and painter have done their bid. I left the mechanic village for a nearby filling station. After fuelling the SUV, it refused to ‘start’. So, I did everything a regular Nigerian would do before calling a mechanic. LOL. I hit the battery electrodes severally, checked the fuse box and tried to ‘jump-start’ it. NO JOY. Finally, my friend called his mech. He came and told us the ‘kick starter’ had a problem; but it could be fixed. Finally, the mech succeeded in getting us back on the road, after several attempts at ‘jump-starting’.
We drove to the automobile spare parts market at Gate (Ibadan); where we had the ‘kick starter’ fixed, replaced a broken window and got a pair of new wipers. The man we bought the wipers from sent one of his apprentices to fix them- a 7/8 year old boy. I asked him if he was in school, he said NO. I also asked how much he makes on a daily basis. He said on good days, he makes N300. On bad days, he makes N100. Ok, N300/day isn’t bad after all; that’s like N9000/month. We were paid N9000 and some change, as Youth Corps Members (in 2008/2009). LOL. So, after he fixed the wipers, I tipped him.
My usual response to seeing minors in the streets or markets (‘hustling’) is anger. I get angry at the parents for not being capable and exposing the child to serious risks. I also get angry at the government for the state of the nation. But that day, I wasn’t angry. Instead, I was impressed with the kid and his choice. I dare say, if you know you are cut out for the market; START EARLY! Don’t waste the government’s education budget and/or your parents’ money (and hopes) in school, only to succeed in scoring Es and Fs. By the time this boy is 20; his mates will be graduating from different universities across the nation. Then, he would have made enough money to open his own spare parts shop and train young boys like him. I’m not in support of ‘child labour’. But, in a case where the child says school isn’t my thing; I wanna learn a trade; that’s not child labour… There’s no point ‘flogging a dead horse’. When a child can’t keep up with formal education and you keep him/her in school; you are ruining the future of that child. There’s some way s/he can add value to herself/himself and the society (legitimately), without going to school. Yoruba people say, “ona kan o w’oja”, i.e. “many roads lead to the market”.
Regularly, I ask myself this question; ‘why did I go to school’? If you can’t answer this question, I’d ask you (in good fate) to go and join my friend at Gate… It’s not too late to live your dream! Selah!


2 thoughts on “ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING 2.0

  1. “Yoruba people will say” abi “My people will say” Mind yaself o. My mum says d same too, not everyone is meant to read book. Structure is needed really to make vocational studies work.

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