Story That Touches The Heart

‘With Our Grinding Machine, We Survive, Take Care Of Our Mom’ – 22-Year-Old Efe 

Betty Idemudia, Reporting 

POPULAR Effurun Market in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State will pass for the hub of myriads of foodstuffs in Warri and environs. Although notorious for its odorous filth, Effurun Market is to Uvwie what Igbudu Market is to Warri metropolis in Warri South Local Government Area of the state. Twenty-two-year-old Efe Wealth Oyiboruno and her elder sister, ‘Tega eke their livelihood from dirty Effurun Market. They’ve inherited some grinding machine from their mother who had subsisted in the trade for over 10 years before retiring home. Stonix News was attracted to the duo’s consistent dedication to the trade at a very tender age and approached their stall in the market. Only Efe was on duty on the fateful afternoon.

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Efe Wealth Oyiboruno

“My name is Efe Wealth Oyiboruno and I’m 22 years old. My sister dey do this work. My sister’s name is Tega; she is 23 years old and we are both single.

“My mother gave birth to eight children and I’m the sixth child. Four of my siblings are married and have families of their own it’s just me and three of my other siblings that are with my mum.

“My mum was the person that started the business before she handed it over to me and my elder sister. We have been doing it for more than 10 years. My mum is at home.

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Efe Wealth Oyiboruno grinding Elubo

“I finished from Alegbo Secondary School in 2019, but because of financial constraints, I had to pause my education. I’m thinking of furthering my education. I’m planning on taking JAMB next year,” he enthused, beaming with smiles.

Efe speaks smooth English and showed some bright side of a young man hungry for greatness and genuine wealth in life in spite of his disadvantaged background. He was grinding dried pepper on one of the grinding machine and elubo (dried yam) on another when our reporter engaged him in the chat. From a distance, one could see a human figure covered from head to do with the powdery substance spiralling from the elubo as it’s being grinded. With his one eye fastened on his daily bread, Efe dutifully and cheerfully responded cautiously to all questions thrown at him.

When asked about some challenges faced in the trade, Efe, who finished his secondary school education in 2019 with good grades, said “every business has its ups and downs, adding: “The challenges in this business include fuel subsidy removal which is now affecting us. The price of the spare parts of our machine has increased. We are using nylon and the price has also increased.”

Besides the challenge of hike in pump price and spare parts, another, perhaps, lethal upheaval Efe and his sister are encumbered with, is the one relating to their health – the constant inhalation of the air and noise pollutions while plying their trade. They wear no nose cover nor ear pods to reduce the intake of the dust and noise emanating from the howling grinder.

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Efe Wealth Oyiboruno

“Another challenge is the dust that this business generates. I once used nose mask and earpods to block my ears from excessive noise pollution. But they were inconveniencing me. I prefer to remain the way I am. I have medications that I take to mitigate the effects of dust and noise pollution,” he assured.

In spite of what he identified as challenges with his means of livelihood, Efe is not moved by the craze for wealth through dubious means now rife among some youths of his age.

“With this my business, I’m living my best life, I’m going higher. I’m not interested in Yahoo Yahoo. The thing I have to say about those doing yahoo is that maybe they are doing it because of what they are passing through in life. For me, I don’t care what people are saying about what I do as far as I’m able to put food on the table for me and my family. I don’t care what my mates or peers are saying as far as I bring the best to my family. And I’m fine living my life like this,” he averred.

Efe ranks number six in his family. Already three of his siblings are married. Himself and Tega manage the business to cater for the rest of the family. Speaking on how much he makes daily via which they cater for their parents, Efe, who loathes ill-gotten wealth, disclosed: “we can make up to N5000 to N7000; but because of fuel price hike, more of the money go into fuel and purchase of spare parts. The only thing we pay for here is the electric current which is N2,000 a month.”

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Efe Wealth Oyiboruno

The vocation has its own hazards. Efe narrowly escaped being burnt to death on a day the devil came calling. “I have been involved in fire accidents since I started this business. This is how it started: my engine was running and I tried pouring fuel into it at the same time and that was how it exploded. Only God delivered me from reaping the fruit of my carelessness,” he recalled.

All things being equal, Efe, whose dream is to sit the entry examination to a higher institution to study Business Administration would not mind obtaining help from government and spirited Nigerians. According to him, “what I want from the government is that they should open borders so that the prices of goods can come down. They should also reduce the price of fuel.

“I’m working hard and saving some money to return to school. I also hope in God and help from kind Nigerians. I don’t drink or smoke. I don’t move with hooligans. I’m focused in making something good out of my life that’s why I’m dedicated to this work I’m doing before returning to school,” he noted.

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