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EAT AKARA AND LIVE

Posted by By CHUKS ONUOHA, Aba on 2007/12/05 | Views: 939 |

EAT AKARA AND LIVE


For other housewives, to fry Akara (bean cake) is a menial business that should be left for the poor. But not so for Mrs Victoria Amaghiro, who plies this trade in the streets of Umuahia and its environs. She did not start the business as a result of need or hardship.

• Story of bean cake seller whose product is breakfast, lunch and dinner for CEOs, journalists in Umuahia

For other housewives, to fry Akara (bean cake) is a menial business that should be left for the poor. But not so for Mrs Victoria Amaghiro, who plies this trade in the streets of Umuahia and its environs. She did not start the business as a result of need or hardship.

Mrs Amaghiro started this business 25 years ago when her husband was still a full-time staff of the Nigerian Railway Corporation and was earning enough to meet their family needs.
But then, as a newly married young girl, she was eager to give her husband a helping hand, the major reason she took to this trade with devotion, commitment and resourcefulness. Indeed, she has made great success out of it.

According to her, with only two cups of beans and one bottle of groundnut oil, she rolled out her first product with the assistance of her housemaid 25 years ago. The product was devoured that same evening with great delight by the people of Ohafia Street where she was then living. They liked her and encouraged her to produce more for their consumption, adding, “they told me that my Akara was very tasty”.

The beginning
That was way back in July, 1982. The reason I got into this vocation was to assist my husband, though he was gainfully employed and was receiving salary.
I started this business with N10. I bought two cups of beans and a bottle of groundnut oil. When I brought it out for sale, those people who tasted it said they had been eating akara, but that mine was special. They asked me to be doing it everyday. That was how I ventured into this vocation.

The business today
Today, I prepare akara in the morning for my customers for breakfast, in the afternoon for their lunch and in the evening for their dinner. On the whole, I use more than 82 cups of beans everyday, with kegs of groundnut oil. I have also introduced pap, fried yam and potatoes with bitter leaf sauce. And the customers like it a lot. If my akara does not finish, none of my customers goes to any other place to buy. Sometimes, when they come and I have not produced, I will direct them where to buy. They will still insist on waiting till I produce my own.

Since 25 years ago when I started this business, I cannot tell you that I have regretted it one day. The journalists who are my neighbours here are my best customers. You know how sensitive and hard journalists are to please. But they are satisfied with my products and I serve them akara, fried yam or potato with pap on demand, either for breakfast, lunch or even dinner when they work late.

Also some chief executives come all the way from Umudike, Ubakala, Atta, Express, among others, buy my products. Our customers also come from NITEL, banks, NIPOST, local government, police stations, Federal Medical Centre and other places too numerous to mention and I struggle to meet up their demands. When I have not produced, I will suggest that they go to another place. But they will tell me that “My Oga said I should buy from here. If I buy from another place, my Oga will know”. Because of that the demand on us is too high.

My reward
Today, I don’t lack money. To me, there is no other way of defeating poverty except through the labour of one’s hand.

My family
I have six girls and one boy. Most of my children are out of the secondary school and some are entering the university. It is through this business that I have been training them. More so, this time that my husband has retired from service. In the village, we have a roof over our head. I started with akara, before people started asking for yam, potatoes, plantain and even pap. Each demand they make inspired us to introduce that. Yet, I don’t meet up with the demands of my customers.

My children helping out
I trained my girls because I made it known to them that our means of livelihood is from here. Their wears and whatever they use to make up to look good come from here. So they cannot be ashamed of doing this with me. Can’t you see that for some time that I was sick, they are the ones that have been producing and selling?

My product
My akara is the best in Umuahia because those who don’t use to patronize me before have discovered that my own is the best. I prepare it under a very high hygienic condition because I know that those who will buy from me are the cream of the society.
This business has brought me into contact with many important personalities. Most young girls would tell me that their bosses ask them to come and buy.

Adulteration
Since I started this business, I have never mixed it with any other thing except the original products and I don’t fry them with any other oil except groundnut oil or vegetable oil.

Prayers
Before I come here in the morning, I pray to God to bless the work of my hand as He knows that this is my means of livelihood.
And He said that He will bless the work of our hand, that this is my own work. God has not disappointed me.

My children taking after me
If any of my children decides to take after me, I will encourage him or her because they themselves know what is there. My husband also encourages me.

Advice to other women
Some women who were not doing anything before have approached me and I directed them on how to start. But I warned them to keep their path straight in this business. My advice to my fellow women is that they should do something, if not akara, groundnut, etc, instead of waiting for their husband’s salary only.

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Comments (23)

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emilia(Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria)says...

Wow,trying to get across to Ekene jnr he happens to be my old friend,lost his contact.any info would do me good

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Valarie(Nairobi, Kenya)says...

What’s your point?

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robloxian(Bangor, Maine, US)says...

hahahaha u r a wierdo…hehehe

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ur so boring(To, Northern Territory, Australia)says...

have u ever thought the garbage or the toilet might be jealous? Ur so full of shiz- white piece of shiz BET lol. That's where ppl like you belong (toilet garbage etc), ik the truth hurts but dont take it as an insult im just trying to describe you; ik im good at it ty-The truth hurts right. JSYK black ppl aren't nerds were just smarter than you oops Btw BLMM!!!

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robloxian(Bangor, Maine, US)says...

wow so bad.

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robloxiansays...

U r weird gus

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yawning(On, Northern Territory, Australia)says...

Hmmm define weird plz