The sad story of Mrs. Elizabeth Michael, widow and mother of three little children, calls for the need to empower women so that in the event of the sudden demise of their spouses, they can cope well with life. ELEOJO IDACHABA writes that while it is common to hear that the place of a woman is in the kitchen, it is common sense for a woman to be economically empowered in order to do what men do especially when the men are no longer around.
Since her husband’s death nearly three months ago, the drive of this woman to keep herself and the children together is amazing. While it is convenient for young ladies of her age to carry on with her life in another marriage, she prefers to stay with her children and nurture them to maturity. But her pains know no bounds.
How it all started
Less than three weeks after her husband died, this widow and mother of three wakes up early each day, leaving her little children behind in order to fry beans cake otherwise known as akara ball directly in front of News Engineering Company located in Dawaki settlement opposite Gwarimpa in Abuja. Her story is so pathetic such that she attracts the attention of passers-by and road users. She is Mrs. Elizabeth Michael, the young widow of the late Mr. Michael Chadow who was crushed around Apo round-about in September 2018, while he was out for his daily routine of seeking jobs in order to take care of his family.
Elizabeth’s story can be likened to those of several women in the society with little or no economic empowerment while their spouses were alive only for such enormous responsibilities to be transferred to them after the demise of their husbands. Elizabeth has no formal education with which she can gain any form of employment neither is she trained in any vocation with which she can fit into the society.
Blueprint Weekend gathered that while her husband was alive, she sold recharge cards under a tree on the road to complement the little amount the man used to give her for daily upkeep until death came calling recently.
When this reporter learnt about her story and decided to visit her at the usual spot where she fries akara early in the morning, she could not control her emotions that her children’s survival each day depends entirely on the day’s hassles. She said tearfully that: “If I don’t leave the children at home everyday to come and fry this akara, that means we will not eat that day. I left them at home on their own today because the time I usually leave the house is too early for me to bring them here. Apart from that, if they are here, some customers may not want to buy my akara.”
Further investigation by Blueprint Weekend reveals that the oldest of her three girls is seven years, while the youngest is less than seven months old. She, however, has no other option than to leave them at home at that tender age to stay by themselves while she labours from 6am to 11am before she returns home.
She narrates her story in tears
While narrating her story to Blueprint Weekend in her makeshift thatched abode located in someone’s plot of land in Dawaki, she could not hide her emotions when she said: “My name is Mrs. Elizabeth Michael. I am from Plateau state, but married to an Edo state man who died three months ago. I have three children for him before he died recently. We got married in 2012 here in Abuja. After our first child, I started selling recharge cards because he too didn’t have a good job. He was a mason, but I didn’t use normally get enough money from him every day he went out to look for job because he would come back and complain that there was no job, but when he left very early in the morning on September 26, he never returned again.”
Speaking further, she said apart from selling cards, she also does domestic works for people. “I don’t get enough money from the cards, so I go to people’s houses and ask if I can wash clothes for them, especially women and children’s clothes. After washing those clothes, they will give me little money and sometimes food with which I will feed myself, husband and the children. That was how we used to feed when my husband was still alive. “After sometime, the people I washed clothes for no longer paid me so it became difficult for us to survive; that was when I started frying akara even before he died. He went to work and did not return again. Somebody who went with him that day called to inform me that a vehicle knocked him down and he died instantly. When I returned from the burial two weeks after, I went back to the road to fry akara again because there was no food and no money and the children were hungry. I went to beg one Hausa man who sells grains to give me beans on credit so that I could pay after selling akara. He agreed, and that is how I am presently frying akara.”
She said: “What is paining me right now is that the two senior children have stopped going to school because I can’t pay their school fees of one thousand five hundred naira (N1, 500) in the public school. This makes me to cry everyday because I don’t want them to end up like me. I am appealing to the government and individuals with a heart of compassion to please help me, at least, for the sake of the children. Look at them, no clothes to wear not to talk of going to school. I need help please,” she cried out.
She told Blueprint Weekend that since she returned from the burial of her husband, no help had come her way, not even from the local church she attends along with her late husband in Dawaki.
Mrs. Chado said she can be reached on her mobile number: 08132425932 for any form of assistance.