Coming home to Nigeria took me by surprise. I had a plan… 1. Get home 2. Start up a pastry company 3. Live happily ever after! Did I really think it’d be that easy? Of course not, I was ready to pull my sleeves up and do the work but then no one told me it’d be almost impossible. I mean step one was easy, pack up my whole life and move away from the people I loved dearly? Yep total piece of cake.
The only comfort I had was knowing I was running back to family complete with hugs and comfort. After the shock of how much and how little had changed in the last seven years since Id been gone started to fade I knew I was settled In my new home, time for step two. Mind you this took two whole months but this step came with the realization that everyone had a hustle on the side, a start-up or as I like to call it in Nigeria a push and Start up. Look through a Millennial’s phone and I guarantee you their Instagram has more than one account. Its personal and its business from selling Makeup to Event Management to Social Influencing they have it all but who can blame them when the job market is pretty much dead, you get a reply from only 1 company after applying to 20. No feedback whatsoever no acknowledgement that you even exist, at least let a girl down easy. They leave us with no choice but to take matters into our own hands.
In Nigeria you often hear the phrase “Push and Start” this is what we call a car that can’t run on its own, not completely dead but not exactly in the best shape. Now the only way to get said car running is to the get out of the car and manually push it until it picks up quickly jump in and be on your merry way. Of course it’d be easier to just get a new car but not everyone has a million naira lying around and that’s what it’s like trying to build something in Nigeria. If you have the money sure no problem at all, but when you can’t even get the basic of necessities like 24 hours electricity In a country that has an abundant of Oil then what’s the point? Something as simple as needing to store a cake or fresh ingredients goes out the window so does any hope about getting an electric oven even if it’s more convenient and reliable. Even worse is your mixer going off right in the middle of whipping up something or having to cross your fingers that you’ll be able to work through the night for a last minute order. We are left with no options and have to do things the difficult and unnecessary way.
If by some miracle you do come up with a system that works no matter how limiting it is you’ll likely be stuck in that phase for a while, with the malls charging for store space in dollars and insisting it isn’t illegal because they aren’t asking for actual dollars just the value of it. I mean why stick to one price when you can charge more for it tomorrow? That would be two dollars for the cupcake please. Let’s be realistic tho a mall at this stage is overdoing it a little, let’s settle for a tiny container in the middle of nowhere I’m sure it’ll be within range but no way, the price will make your head spin so fast you’d be sorry you asked. From having to pay double the price to import nice packaging that is eco-friendly because you are just trying to care about the environment to the craziness that is Fuel scarcity there always seems to be a roadblock at every corner. It’s one thing when your car isn’t running because it’s old and you haven’t taken good care of it but after continuously giving your all and it still misbehaves then you must figure out the actual problem if not you’ll spend your time pushing and not go anywhere. After Complaining over and over again to a friend he said the obstacles are what make it fun tho, figuring out how to get past them is how you succeed but it’s also only fun if there’s actually a way out. So here’s to hoping that we find a way out and figure how to get our cars running the right way. Until then we need to help each other push and beat the system by supporting start-ups in Nigeria because it really is a tough job on its own even more trying to do it alone so the sooner we get moving the sooner we can get to step three and drive off into happy ever after or maybe we can just settle for a better economy.