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Myself, my daughter and over 40 women took shelter at the bakery – Olajumoke

Yvonne Williams

Although 27-year-old Jumoke Orisaguna has garnered much attention following her lucky date with destiny, little is known about the new sensation.

Olajumoke and her husband sat down with the Punch for an in depth interview where they talked about life before fame.

Myself, my daughter and over 40 women took shelter at the bakery – Olajumoke

Excerpts: 

Background

About one week earlier, she was hawking freshly-baked bread across the streets of Sabo, Yaba
The second child in a family of four children born to a poor farmer and a mother who sold vegetables, Jumoke had to drop out of school after completing her primary education.

Jumoke horned her skills in one of the best hairdressing salons in the community, hoping to hit it big by the time she would become her own boss. By 2013 she had successfully completed the rigorous training and had rented and equipped a shop with the help of family members and the little amount she had managed to save during her first stint in Lagos hawking bread in 2011.

Things became tougher after I opened the salon,” she cuts in. “You know since Ire is a town whose economic activities largely depend on the presence of the students of the Federal Polytechnic in the community, sales get very bad when they are not on campus.

“So, money wasn’t coming at such and even to feed or send our eldest daughter to school became a big problem for me and my husband. That was why I decided to come back to Lagos to give bread hawking a trial again in January this year. I felt it was the best option for now rather than just sit and idle away in Ire,” she said.

How she catapulted to fame on February 2: 

“I only wanted to walk through the scene to take bread to my customers at the mechanic workshop around the place the shoot was taking place. I never had the intention of appearing in the photograph. It was while I made my way that the camera captured me,” she revealed.

Unaware of what had just or was about to happen to her, the young mother retired home – to the bakery where she, her daughter and about 40 other women including their little children slept on mats, enduring mosquito bites and freezing temperatures all through the night. The entire group shares only two toilets and bathrooms. On their luckiest days, many of the hawkers like Jumoke who sleep and wake up at this bakery where they collect stocks ranging between N4,000 and N5,000 each day, make a paltry N700 as profits after pounding different street corners for about nine hours. On days when such luck deserts them, the revenue could plummet to as low as N300. It is from such meagre income that many of them feed, take care of their children, buy medications sometimes, and also do daily savings.
“Many of us who don’t have relatives in Lagos sleep at the bakery with our children. On several occasions, all the money I managed to make in a day goes into eating and buying drugs for my daughter who is always falling sick at the bakery. Sometimes I would sit and wonder when this suffering would ever end. Each time I see her cry, it breaks my heart the more. But I trusted God and was always waking up by 5:00am to communicate with Him. I knew and believed that one day, He was going to change my story,” she said.

“To be honest, I was dumbfounded, I almost could not believe I was the one in that photograph after the photo shoot for Thisday Style. I still feel as if I am dreaming,” she said. “Up till that point, I never could have imagined myself looking that elegant. It is a transformation that I am still very surprised about. I told my husband about it immediately and he was very happy to hear. I am learning how to walk on the runway now because of the modelling job that I shall soon be undertaking and I am really happy for where God is taking me,” she said.

Her husband Sunday Orisaguna (34) speaks:

“I trained as an aluminium installer and I graduated in April 2015. But because there is no money, I have not been able to fully establish myself,”

“I came to Lagos in 2009 to work at a car wash after the death of my father and I worked there for four years, sleeping at the place for most part of the period. I returned to Ire briefly before coming back to Lagos again to operate as a commercial motorcycle rider for another three years. But things never fell in place. Out of frustration I returned to Ire where I remained and trusted God for a breakthrough,” he said.

On how he felt when he heard about Olajumoke’s breakthrough: 

“I felt so excited even though I feared that it could be an expensive prank. I asked if she knew the people who wanted to help her very well and that if she was sure they were not planning to kidnap her, I asked several questions just to be sure of the situation before leaving Ire for Lagos. It was until T.Y Bello called me that my heart found peace.

“I am at peace now that I have seen her and realised that it was real. I cannot count how many calls I receive on a daily basis from family and friends since they all got the news. It was I didn’t know what is called Facebook until now, because many people keep telling me that they saw my wife’s picture and news on Facebook.

“Each time I take a look at her since God intervened in our situation; I would just be filled with happiness. Our situation was so bad that sometimes for an entire day, the whole family survived on N100 and at most N200. We could not afford a decent meal but my wife never complained; instead she stood by me and gave all the support she can. But today, look at what God is doing for us. I am grateful to God for giving me a woman who loves and accepts me the way I am,” he said.

Aww… so touching!