Naija Hustle

Car wash at age 10; commercial bus conductor at 13; casual labourer at 15; garbage-man at 17; the tales of Samson, a typical naija hustler

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On this week’s edition of Naija Hustle, Naija Buzz’s Ogbodo ThankGod interviewed Mr. Samson Nathaniel from Siloko community in ancient Benin-City, Edo State.

Samson revealed fascinating details about his personal struggles in life from the age of 10.

  • How he worked as a cash wash at 10 while still in primary school.
  • How he had to work hard to saved some money from his car wash hustle just to buy school uniform for himself.
  • How he did brick-laying job to survive.
  • How he worked as a garbage-man while in secondary school. And more

Read his personal story and get inspired today;

Tell me a little about yourself?

My name is Samson Nathaniel. I am from a community called ‘Siloko’ in Benin-City, the capital of Edo State, South-South Nigeria.

So how did you make your first money?

Hmm… The truth is that I am from a poor family, so I started searching for money at a very young age. In fact I started my hustle at the age of 10.

My first hustle was car wash. At that time, people pay N15 to wash their car. I remember I usually wash around 10 – 15 cars daily. At the end of the day, my oga usually gives me around N10 – N15 as my pay for the day.

N10 or N15 for my hard work was really frustrating I must confess. But I kept going because at least I get a little amount to take home daily.

I was still in primary school at that time. I remember I had to stop school for 2 years because of the hardship my family was facing.

When I eventually resumed school, I started classes without school uniform and other materials needed for studies.

I had to continue my car wash hustle so that I could save some money for my uniform and other things I needed.

I was able to save up to N150 from which I got a school uniform for myself and other things I needed too.

Very touching story Mr. Samson. So after your cash wash hustle, what else did you do to earn money?

Well after awhile, my mother got small cash which she used in starting a small business. She started buying and selling bread. She buys from the bakery and sells to retailers.

She eventually stopped me from continuing the car wash and enrolled me to learn welding work.

I did that for about 3 years but had to stop it because it affected my sight.

Things however got even tougher as my mother ran out of cash and business. And I needed to get a work that would earn me some cash to support myself.

What then did you engage yourself with after quitting welding work?

First I went back to continue my car wash hustle, but only for a few months.

Then I decided to work as a commercial bus conductor. It pays more at that time and you also get the opportunity to learn how to drive.

Compared to the N15 I earned after washing over 10 – 15 cars, as a commercial bus conductor, I earned at least N200 daily. I could even earn more depending on whatever my oga (the driver) decides to give me after we balance for the day. They were times I even get up to N500 daily.

But I was only a bus conductor for a year and few months.

Why did you stop? Did you get a better hustle?

No. I actually stopped because we relocated back to Benin-City due to my mother’s illness.

I remember we left Kaduna where we based on 20th April 2004.

Oh… Sorry about that. So did you do any other hustle when you got to Benin-City?

Benin-City was a different life ooo.

The suffering actually increased. Things went from bad to worse. It was more like from frying-pan to fire.

There was no job for me to do; even to eat well was a problem. At that time, nobody was talking about my schooling anymore. The only concern was my mother’s illness and then how to feed.

I had to stay a complete year without going to school.

But we eventually managed to gather the little money we could to get me back to school. This happened in 2005.

During school in Benin-City, did you engage yourself in any hustle?

Yes, I did. I did casual labourer jobs at construction sites. I also worked as a garbage-man.

I served masons at construction sites. I fetch water, mixed cement and concretes, carry building blocks etc.

The money I earned depends on my oga (the mason). But it was between N400 – N700 daily.

As for the garbage-man job, it depends on the hip of waste available. But the least I earned was N500. It was however not an easy job to do.

When I finished my secondary school education, I got a job at a pure water (sachet-water) factory as a sales boy. I worked there for over a year.

I was paid N5,000 monthly. It was so cool. I was so happy earning N5k monthly.

But my job was eventually terminated. I also lost my mother few days later.

That period was the darkest days of my life.

My job was terminated on 1st of August and my mother died on 6th of August. Just 4 days interval.

That is really sad, I am really sorry. May her soul continue to rest in peace.

Amen.

So then what did you eventually fall back to?

I was just roaming the streets of Benin-City, looking for whatever was available to earn a living.

I later got a job with the Nigerian Brewery in Benin-City as a sales-boy.

I was paid N6,800 monthly but I could only do the job for a month. It was too stressful; I wasn’t ready to die young.

What then did you do after quitting?

Nothing! I did nothing for some time.

I almost died of starvation. Hunger really dealt with me.

I had to return to my labourer job. So I went to construction sites to do any available work.

But the money I earned just wasn’t enough because I had my brother, my cousin and his girlfriend who were jobless. We lived together and survived on whatever I brought home from my construction work.

That was in 2009.

I was done with life in Benin-City, nothing was working for me, so I left for Kaduna in late 2009.

How was life in KD City?

When I got to Kaduna, I applied for everything I could. I looked for a permanent job that could enable me start a decent life.

I applied for admission into the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), no way.

I applied for recruitments into the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, but all to no avail. I didn’t get any.

So I decided to sit for JAMB examination to see if I could at least go to the university or polytechnic.

I finally gained admission for my National Diploma Programme in 2018. Now to the glory of God, I am a graduate of Public Administration from the Federal Polytechnic Bauchi.

But how did you sponsor yourself in school?

My elder sister and her husband sponsored my education. They took care of my schooling until I graduated.

But before I wrote JAMB, I worked with a publishing firm, First Pyramid Publishers. I worked there as a contract staff.

My pay however depends on how I work.

For instance; whenever I travel to supply books, I receive traveling allowance, hotel allowance, feeding allowance, and I also get paid upon successful delivery of the books.

So if I travel to two different states in a week, I earn more. If I don’t travel for a full week or month, I earn nothing.

From the job, I was able to save substantial amount of money I used in school too.

What then are you doing now?

I finished my Higher National Diploma last year, but since then I have been unable to get something to do.

But that’s not a problem yet because I will soon go for my National Youth Service (NYSC).

My prayer is for God to help me with something to do after my service.

You have a very interesting story, you’ve come very far on this journey, you’ve struggled really hard in life and you’ve learnt a lot too. From your experience, what advice do you have for your fellow Nigerian youths?

My advices for my fellow youths are;

  • Live a simple life
  • Don’t put yourself into anything you can’t handle. Always go for things you can afford. Just take life one step at a time, so that you don’t end up stealing or duping people to meet up to a stupid standard you deliberately set for yourself.
  • Try as much as possible to be patient in life. I have lived with people who insults me so badly because I depend on them for food and shelter. But I still obey them and stay patient because I know what I want to achieve in life.
  • Finally, you must work hard and smart. Don’t be lazy. Learn how to always swallow your pride, it won’t kill you.
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