So I have this firm owner who has been inaccessible the past 2 weeks and I have exhausted ways to reach her.
On my visit with my field supervisor on Saturday, we had to ask around. After meeting some statuesque and closeby neighboring firm owner (who has wind of our study at census), told us that my inaccessible firm owner was robbed of her valuables including phone recently; the reason she has been inaccessible and running skeletal service the past days.
Our Team at Enugu hopes she rebounds imminently and is back participating excitedly in our study.
I never knew how it feels to have rejection at this stage until yesterday. There was this firm that during the setup, after several attempts to reach her were unsuccessful, I requested for a replacement. But one of those days I visited and behold she was around. When she saw me she said, “I thought you won’t come back again.” I explained to her that she wasn’t always around whenever I visit and she said she was unwell.
I met her with her husband, and she said she’s really interested in being part of the research because I told her I almost requested her replacement. We did set up together, disclosed her different accounts and the account therein. The next day she gave me her transactions from the 9th. Followed up the next week and we were cool until last week Friday. When I visited, she wasn’t around and only her employees were. I reached out to her she said she will be at the shop later. I called later to confirm her availability but she didn’t pick up. I checked her on Saturday, she told me she can’t attend to me and I left. Getting there yesterday, she said she’s no longer interested and that the only thing she needs now to sort out the issues she’s facing is money. She said that that was her final decision and that She should be replaced.
The most annoying thing is that I gave her the book already because she was keeping good records and insisted she will stay with us through the project.
Today, we visited a respondent who lost his daughter recently to a flood. I couldn’t stop but appreciate how strong some people can be. When I was leaving his shop, he asked which route I was going and directed me accordingly due to the roadblocks in that area. He got a motorcycle to take me to my destination and insistently paid for my transport. I was too short of words and in awe of such a human being who just lost a child about a week ago.
I also visited another respondent, and I was surprised at the way he was writing his account in our book. He took the process so seriously that one would think it was some kind of exam or medal-winning process.
There’s is one of my respondents who smiles anytime she sees me. When we started I told her we will be asking her about her records. She said she has never kept records of her finances before and that she doubts if she will cope. I encouraged her to give it a try. We got started and she did well on the first week. I visited her today and checked her records and saw that she had even kept records of personal expenses too. I was impressed at how she has improved. We finished and I appreciated her for her time. She smiled and said, “I’m enjoying this exercise, please keep coming. You have helped me save money and pay my loan too”.
I appreciated her again for her time and she said see you next week Tuesday.
So I got a treat from one of my respondents that I have not been able to meet for a while now. She is a lecturer thus she has been very busy and closes late from work. So I had to wait for her and she apologized for not making it for the last scheduled appointment. When I gave her the notebook, she was so excited and complimented L-IFT for the effort to give them a book. She told me how she will take keeping records seriously from now on. She made some fresh fruit salad from fruits gotten from her garden and the whole interview was informative even though I am just getting home from the interview. I am glad we had the interview today. She looks forward to learning how to use finbit to record her financial transactions.
Yesterday morning, I tried reaching out to one of my respondents on the phone to remind her of my coming, but both her lines were switched off. I tried it several times but to no avail.
So after visiting others, I went to her shop and I met only her workers. And I was told she lost her phone, but then one of her apprentices gave me an alternative number to call her. I called yesterday with the new number and she fixed an appointment for us to meet today. (She told me she had to get a new phone)
As usual, I’d always call my respondents in the morning to remind them of my coming, so I started calling the new number I was given but it was switched off again. So I decided to visit her at the shop but she was not around. I was told she lost her new phone again. Her apprentice gave me a number she had called them with this morning. So when I called the new line today, she wasn’t sounding happy. She pleaded with me to postpone our meeting till next week because of her mood.
3 of my respondents for intake interview had their firms ravaged with bird flu. I was able to gain access to 1 of the livestock pens and I was moved to tears. He had a large number of birds all wiped out with no insurance. He said that that’s the end of the research and that he can no longer participate. He’s willing to participate but new birds are not allowed in for now. I prayed for him and other respondents involved.
Today is really a sad day for one of my respondents. I called him to schedule a visit but he told me he lost his wife. It’s really sad because the respondent is very dedicated to the research.
Codes: NG227, NG110
Good afternoon Team,
So my firms that are into palm kernel oil production have had a very difficult season sourcing viable materials with good yield for production here in Enugu.
They blame scarcity and the high cost of raw materials on climate change which has adversely affected yield this year.
The bigger producers now travel as far as the North Central and South-South regions to source cheaper materials with better yield, meaning I have to patiently wait furtively till nightfall especially on Saturdays for owners to come back from these trips as I experienced again tonight.
We are still deliberating with them to find another suitable day for their financial reporting because Saturday is increasingly becoming unrealistic.
I heard a not-too-good story from my respondent, a Reverend, yesterday evening.
He is a school owner and has been making efforts to move the location of the school to a more serene environment, away from the bus stop as that was where the school location was initially. About a week and a few days ago, he told me he had gotten a serene environment, though a residential place, but the place would also be conducive for learning and that he had made the full payment of 1,200,000 Naira. I congratulated and rejoiced with him.
Last week, he started packing, coincidentally, on the day I called and visited for financial transactions. I met him and some other people helping him move things from upstairs to downstairs. I assisted with lifting the shelf so that those downstairs could receive it and he kept thanking me till I left. Yesterday, I went to conduct an interview with him on his financial transactions in the past week. I called him and he directed me to the new location. Before I could say much he just said, “Precious, my dear, please pray for me. Last week Friday, I was here trying to put things together when three men came to me, a lawyer and two policemen, to arrest me. Saying that I went through the wrong source and that the agent that rented this place to me is a fraud and pointed at the lawyer who is now in charge of the property. I begged and begged, cried, and went on my knees at the police station. I was released at 10 pm but was made to sign an undertaking to move every single thing from here by Saturday. I am tired and don’t know where to go.” I felt so sad as he talked. “The lawyer said he was only given 500,000 Naira out of the 1.2m Naira and that was the only refund I’d get. in fact, in front of me, he turned to the police and told them to take whatever amount they wanted to take from the 500,000 Naira when he returns it. On top of that, almost all my pupils have changed schools. I called their parents and they said it was true. I’m tired.” He mentioned suicide but that his family members that he told about it have been calling to encourage him. I prayed with him and encouraged him.
So yesterday I went to one of my very responsive respondents. She’d usually answer, “Yes darling, how are you my darling, my dear, oh darling!” Emphasis on the “darling“.
I was waiting for “mummy” (as I call her) to give me some audience. Mummy was having her time on Facebook and making calls, then she zoomed out, leaving her phone in her shop. Thank gracious I was with my supervisor. We waited for well over an hour, safe to call it 2 hours. I called her number but her phone was in her shop. I excused my supervisor to go take my COVID-19 vaccine shot as that was within the time I was scheduled for it. The location was 4 minutes away (and by the way, I’m still gritting from the pains and numbness it comes with). I got back, Mummy was still not back. We left to go to another firm, then my Supervisor suggested we check on her again, and Mummy acted as though nothing happened some 2 hours and 45 minutes ago.
Codes: NG227, NG110
The above two are my firms that are into palm kernel oil production on a larger scale and as stated the last time, they have had a very difficult season sourcing viable materials with good yield for production here in Enugu.
They blame scarcity and the high cost of raw materials on climate change which has adversely affected yield this year, meaning they now travel as far as the North Central and South-South regions to source cheaper raw materials with better yield. These long trips still aren’t a guarantee of lucrative purchases as I was told last week by one firm owner; She just has to try her luck with those long market trips so as to stay afloat in business.
I have had to patiently wait (in futility till 9 pm like last Saturday) for firm owners to come back from these trips, and honor our scheduled financial reporting session.
We are still deliberating with them to find another suitable day for their financial reporting, though they insist on the flexibility of the schedule.
Codes: NG160, NG316, NG586, NG148.
A major challenge my respondents have complained bitterly about even today, yesterday and in recent weeks is the incessant sit-at-home orders instituted by the now proscribed secessionist movement IPOB in all 5 states of the South East Region of Nigeria.
In our reporting sessions yesterday and this afternoon, most firm owners echoed the same sentiment that crippling all economic activity every Monday at the beginning of a working week, and even Thursday (last week) and Tuesday (this week) is counterproductive to whatever secessionist and development agenda IPOB preaches. Instead of sending any strong message to the Nigerian government, IPOB was bringing further hardship and losses on business owners and the masses of the South East which they vowed to liberate.
Firm owners hope that they consider the plight of fellow citizens in seeking a resolution as soon as possible on the part of the IPOB leadership towards bringing an end to the sit-at-home ‘menace’.
This respondent is into the laundry and dry cleaning service. While I was going to see him last week, I picked some of my clothes for washing. When I was done tracking his financial transactions, I appreciated him for his time while I dropped my clothes with him.
Returning back today, after tracking his Financial transactions, he brought my clothes. I asked how much the payment was and he said, ” My brother, you don’t need to pay. You have helped me in keeping proper records of my business. I would have missed out on participating in this research when I wanted to decline because of account.” But I insisted on paying and finally he accepted.
He’s happy to be part of the research as he has gained so much within a space of a few weeks. And I have been told to bring my clothes for laundry anytime.