“I Have Been Doing It for 30 Years”: Nigerian Woman Trains 3 Graduates by Roasting Yam
- A roast yam seller popularly called Mama Joy in Jos, the capital city of Plateau State, has produced three graduates
- In a recent interview, she explained how she was able to use her business to train three of her children at the university
- Mama Joy, a mother of nine children who is now in her 70s, is an embodiment of hard work, commitment and doggedness
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A Nigerian woman who has been roasting yam for 30 years has inspired many on social media with her story.
The mother of nine, popularly called Mama Joy in Plateau state, said she started the business to support her husband, who couldn't take good care of the family financially.
Within 30 years, she was able to train her children through primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
From the same business, she trained two of her children at the University of Jos and one other at Plateau State Polytechnic.
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Mama Joy started the business to assist her husband
Speaking to Daily Trust, she said:
“My husband is a vulcaniser who stays by the roadside to wait for any vehicle that needs his service. My husband’s handwork cannot fetch enough food for the family, talkless of paying our children’s school fees and paying house rent. So, I thought of what to do to augment the family income.
"I started by selling gruel – a local beverage known in Hausa as “kunun dawa”. I used to hawk the gruel from one street to another. Hawking the drink was very stressful and with just little gain. So, I began to look for something better. A friend of mine told me to try roasting yam.
"I made up my mind to go into selling roasted yams. I bought the advice and began to seek consultations from those who were into roasting of yams. Some encouraged me to give it a try, while others tried to discourage me by telling me there was no gain in it.
"But I just needed to try anything other than hawking gruel, or staying idle. So, I eventually made up my mind to try roasting yams.”
“When I finally made up my mind to venture into roasting of yam, the capital to start was another obstacle. I know a woman who sell yams, so I went to her to discuss my business plans and seek her help. I needed someone who would give me the yams on credit and I will pay later.
"The woman connected me with a Hausa yam seller at yam market in Gangare Jos. So, the woman stood as guarantor for me and I was given the yam on credit. I was given a mound of yam tubers. A mound contains 100 tubers of yam.
"Each of the tubers goes for N130 (one hundred and thirty naira). So, a mound of yam at the time was about N13,000.00 (Thirteen thousand naira).
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“With the yams already secured, I returned home, gathered all the required materials and set out for business. I needed a location like a business street where roasted yam was needed. I got a place at Rwang Pam Street Jos by the gate of the defunct Bank of the North. That was how I started over 30 years ago."
Mama Joy maintains that business is profitable
According to mama Joy, she makes more than double the capital used in buying yams and other foodstuffs to carry out the business daily.
“That was how I started and continued, because I noticed the business is profitable. Each time I collect the 100 tubers of yams from the Hausa man for the sum of N13,000.00, I will make the N13,000.00 from roasting 50 tubers. By the time I returned the N13,000.00 to the owner of the yam, I would still have 50 tubers left for me to roast, which will also give me another N13,000.00 by the time I finish roasting them. I never ran into a loss roasting yam. In fact, my children eat from it and I still make gain at the end of the day.”
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“It has become part of my life, having done it for 30 years. Even my children have told me they will open a provision shop for me, but I prefer to continue roasting yams because that is the only business God gave me.”
Roasted yam seller says he will continue for life
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that a young man who earns a living by selling roasted yams, potatoes and plantains by the side of the road has stated that he desires that his children continue the business when he dies.
The Benue state indigene who plies his trade in Lagos revealed this in an exclusive interview with Legit.ng. According to him, he had taken over the business from his industrious mum, who had passed on in undisclosed circumstances when he was 19. He said he ventured into his mum's business as things were difficult for the family.
Now, the 24-year-old caters to his five younger sisters through the business. Matthew, who is nursing plans to expand the roadside hustle into a big brand, said he, one day, hopes to return to school.