#BounceExclusive: Meet Sonia, 'Dying' Today To Save Her Tomorrow
Sonia Ozioma lost both parents before she was eight years old.
This is the real life where promises of support to orphans are hardly kept. So, from a tender age she became a child that roamed from one relative to another.
She went as far as working as a housemaid, hawking pure water and doing all sorts of odd jobs not suitable for a minor.
But as she said, “My life is about dying today for my tomorrow”. Wondering what that means?
“It means that it has never been rosy – from childhood to teenage days to adulthood, it’s been survival of the fittest."
Her parents left behind, six children, of which she is the last born.
The eldest – a lady, was already married and she took Sonia in.
She journeyed from Onitsha to Oba in Idemiri South Local Government of Anambra state where she was enrolled in a public primary school.
Efforts to get secondary education saw her again travelling to relatives in Nasarawa state but she returned to Onitsha with nothing.
After days and nights of hunger, she managed to wrap up secondary school through the combined efforts of the third born and their eldest sister.
Then, tragedy struck again. The eldest sister died and Sonia had to return to Oba to take care of the four kids her loving sister left behind.
If life was difficult before, it now became horrible. She managed to write the SSCE and “started hustling proper”.
Despite her good WAEC and JAMB results that saw her gain admission into the Ebonyi State University, Sonia had to stay at home because she could not afford the acceptance fee.
“I spent months mourning that admission,” she said, but as a typical dogged Igbo girl, she tried again and she managed to gain admission, this time, into the Federal Polytechnic, Oko in Anambra state.
But then, she had no idea how she would see that education through. She suffered through her first year.
“It is terrible because we are in a society where you cannot as a girl get help from people without having to grace their beds".
Welcome To Lagos
If Sonia would achieve her dream of getting an education, she had to dig deeper than ever, and it was now or never.
They say Lagos is a land of opportunities, right? 'Here I come', she said to herself but it took just one week in the big city for her to be disappointed.
Then came her business idea… and it came off what can best be described as an old habit.
“I love to soak garri (cassava flakes). Mine has no season and I love having it with groundnut but at some point, the 50-naira groundnut was no longer enough to accompany a bowl of garri - I thought this was cheating.
“Let me go and buy fresh groundnut and do the frying myself,” she said, and this was just to cut cost in school but Lagos helped her monetize the skill.
“I can fry groundnut o” she said and headed to the market with N4,000 to buy all she could afford – raw groundnut.
Borrowed pot, fork and stove, the groundnut business started and with the profit from selling a bottle for N300 at Ikorodu, she started stabilizing in school.
She has since been shuttling Anambra–Lagos and manages to have some money for books and other needs.
She is now a second-year student of Public Administration and she is currently back to her groundnut business in Lagos.
This mission, this time, is to make enough sales to enable her pay for her year-2 accommodation.
“I am very stingy with my body” she said, so she would rather go this route than sell her body to a man.
“For me, it’s all about sticking to my dreams, going through the hurdles of life and still keeping my eye on that glory; not minding how hard it is to bear the cross.
Still in her mid-20s, Sonia plans to finish her OND, get a HND or a University degree then get a Masters in Communications.
“I still like entrepreneurship, I want to own my own business; maybe the same groundnut business in a bigger and better packaged way.
“I want to also help the child on the street. He doesn’t have to be a beggar. He can be in school and things are still rough for him just as it is for me now.
“These kids must not beg or wear tattered clothes before we know they need help and reach out to them. I have met one whose story is more pathetic than mine.”
Achieving all these is what Sonia considers fulfillment. Her own definition of being a big girl or as they call it, slay queen.