I Think I Learned Patience

Halimah Ajibade

Copyright 2022 by Halimah Ajibade

Photo by Aneta from Pixabay
Photo by Aneta from Pixabay

I decided to start my own business at the age of fifteen. My parents did not give unstinting support because they thought it would impinge on my education. I promised them it would not. And besides, I just finished WASSCE (WEST AFRICAN SENIOR SECONDARY CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION). I still had a few months before I resumed University.

Excitement gripped me. I made preparations I thought were necessary. It was to be an online business so I set up a shop on WhatsApp business using the catalogue feature. I designed a flyer two weeks before the grand opening. I opened Instagram and Facebook accounts.

 I bought the materials needed to get started. I bought yarn, that was the only thing I needed that I could get in the local market. I already had the hooks, the substandard ones. I had two. Those were the only things I could get. Yes, hooks and yarn. I was starting my own crochet business. Since I entered Secondary School, I have been crocheting. I did not have the opportunity to practice as much or learn more due to money and internet constraints. I could not get a smartphone until I was 16 or 18. I had limited money because I received a daily stipend of #20 which was enough to feed me. I got a smartphone in my final year. That's when I searched as much as I could about what crochet was and did little practice. Before that, I had access to my mum's smartphone for a few minutes every day in my penultimate year. Those moments both defined my love for crochet and discovered my power to create.

I informed all close relatives (my nuclear family and my sister's husband) about my business launching soon. It was almost a month after I had opened my business. My sister's husband (I call him Uncle) called me to say he wanted to support my business with some cash. He was doing this because my WASSCE result was out and he was satisfied with it. I had seven distinctions (5As and 2Bs) and two passes (C). I was ecstatic because I knew what I wanted to spend the money on_ a great need and improvement for my business. I wanted to buy the Standard Crochet Hooks. I had been browsing the net for different types and had decided on the one I wanted. I searched how and where to get it. My research explained that I could only get it from online vendors. All the vendors that had it available were not in my state. That indicates I would have to pay for a waybill. I found one close to my location. I texted her on WhatsApp and I received good news. She was very pleasant in her way of texting and communication. She informed me that she had a customer in my location and she was about to send the goods. I told her not to because my uncle who would pay was at work and couldn't send the money but she assured me not to worry. She said she would send it and wait for her money. I was shocked because this is not what I've heard of online vendors. I have heard that they are always rude and harsh and never delivered until they received full payment. But this woman, who was she? Did she just agree to send me a full hookset without previously knowing me? Amazing! I thanked her for her trust and promised not to let her down.

I immediately sent a text to inform my uncle about what had happened. He told me to request her account number, which I had done before. I sent it to him. He read the text about an hour after. He asserted that he would send the money immediately after he left the office. I told the woman and informed her that I had not received the package. She told me that she had dropped it off with the driver and he would call me in few minutes.

The driver did call minutes later to tell me when they were likely to arrive. He also said the woman did not pay the waybill money. I disagreed because the woman told me the second customer had paid for her waybill and now that I was pairing  I had to send her half of the money later. I immediately contacted the woman. She said she had paid and the driver only wanted to take advantage. I was relieved and got back to what I was doing. I was at a tutorial centre preparing for my entrance exams into the University to be written in a few months. Everyone in class knew something was up with me as I moved out of the class to receive calls or send a text and the way I jumped from my seat whenever my phone made a sound.

This time, I jumped out of my seat faster. It was the driver calling. He called to inform me that he was few meters away from the agreed destination _the garage. It was an interstate garage delivery. I had not closed at the tutorial centre and would not be allowed to go out. Luckily, I remembered a friend of mine who owns a logistics company. I reached out to him and agreed he was up to the task. We made a deal. His dispatch rider got there in time. He met with the driver and explained what he had come for and who he was. The driver called me to confirm I had sent someone. I confirmed that I did. I was hoping to see my hookset in the next fifteen minutes but little did I know things were about to get worse. It was getting late. The tutorial centre closed at 3:30 pm, now it was 4 pm yet there wasn't a sign of the rider. I called the driver but he refused to speak to me and gave the phone to the rider. He explained that the driver didn't release the package claiming fees have yet to be settled. He said if the driver didn't release the package soon, he would leave without collecting it. He returned the phone to the driver whom I tried to beg to release my package knowing the fees have been settled but he did not succumb.

I waited another hour hoping he would give up because I was wasting his time but he did not. I wondered how he dared to request double the money for a package. This isn't his first, I guessed but I was only a young girl. What could I do? l had to plead with the rider to spare some change which he did and received my package immediately after. The parcel got to me at 5:56 pm since 11:00 am when the discussion started. I was happy. I informed the woman that I had gotten it and explained the trouble the driver put me through. She could only apologise on his behalf. I assured her again that my uncle would send the money once he left the office. I did not want to disturb him. That's why I did not send any reminders. It was almost the end of the day. I had not paid for the hookset I received hours ago. Guilt confronted me so I sent my uncle a reminder and he reprimanded me for not reminding him earlier. He sent the money immediately. I was glad and rushed to tell the woman. Unfortunately, the network was inconsistent. She did not receive the payment until the following morning.

She thanked me and ever since we have not talked.

Every time I remember this issue, I wonder. Did the woman teach me patience?

Halimah Ajibade is a budding creative writer. She is a Technical Writer in view. She is a year one student of English Language and Literature at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She is an advocate for self-development and awareness.

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