“What do I do? I’m confused, heartbroken and wondering where I went wrong! Help!…what do I do?” This was a distress call I got from a mother after she read my last blog post on Back To School tips. I have gotten her permission to share a bit of her story because I believe there are lessons to be learnt. To protect the identities of the people involved, their real names have not been used.
Mr. & Mrs. Ola-Benson, a middle-class couple with 3 children, had worked hard and sacrificed to be able to send their children to University in the UK because they wanted to give them the best education they could. Thankfully things had gone well and it really wasn’t a strain to train their children… that’s until two years ago. Their son – Seni had graduated in 2014, returned home and started work. Their second child Teni had just graduated and returned to Nigeria and would be starting her National Youth Service before the end of the year. Their last child – Reni who is 22 was supposed to be going into her final year at a top UK university. Unfortunately, the ailing economy, a string of bad business deals, coupled with the depreciation of the Naira had taken it’s toll on the family finances and all efforts to raise the needed funds to pay Reni’s final year fees and other living expenses yielded no results. They had even attempted getting a loan from family and friends but the story was the same everywhere – the economy was biting hard. The only asset they had that they could consider selling was the home where they lived so that wasn’t even an option. Being the down-to-earth family they were, they decided that the only option left was to call Reni (who at that time was doing an internship in London) and inform her that she would have to come back home to complete her education in one of the private universities in Nigeria.
Mrs. Ola-Benson made the dreaded call to her daughter and while she didn’t expect Reni to be pleased with the news, she was totally unprepared for the “stunt” her daughter pulled. After crying for days, throwing tantrums and refusing to speak with her parents for over a week, Reni called her mum to tell her that she had found a solution to the situation. She said she had joined Seeking Arrangement an “organization” that afforded her the opportunity to meet with potential partners who would take care of her tuition fees and other living expenses. She explained that it was a mutually beneficial partnership. Naturally, Reni’s mum was curious to know more about this “organization” Was it a scholarship? A loan? A job? Reni kept giving her mum vague answers so Mrs. Ola-Benson decided to consult Google to see if she could find out a bit more about Seeking Arrangement. To say she was shocked at the information she found would be putting it mildly.
How could her daughter, brought up in a Christian home ever consider this as an option? Where did she go wrong in raising her daughter? All efforts by Mr. & Mrs. Ola-Benson to talk Reni out of this foolhardy plan of hers has fallen on deaf ears as she is very adamant on going on with this arrangement. Mrs. Ola-Benson is distraught…while she would love for Reni to complete her education in the prestigious school she’s attending, especially as it’s her final year, she knows that the option and path Reni wants to follow has grave consequences. Reni has reminded her parents that she is an adult and that since they can’t provide for her education she is left with no choice but to “sort her life out”. Mr. & Mrs. Ola-Benson have considered luring her back home? Perhaps they should intensify effort in looking for a loan to fund this final year? Could it really be this situation that has pushed Reni to consider this as an option? Had she been influenced by bad friends? ….So many questions…confusion…
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P.S For those who don’t know what Seeking Arrangement is, you can Google it.