So when I got to my respondent’s workshop today, I noticed he was not looking so happy. So I asked what had happened and he complained about low patronage, and how he has been sourcing for funds to get some ready-made furniture done, so as to increase sales, but all efforts to get these funds were futile. So I encouraged him that everything will be alright. He gave me his diary where he has documented his transactions.
After some time a woman, looking so angry, came looking for him. He excused himself to attend to her. About two minutes later there was so much noise coming from where they were having their conversation. The woman left angrily after a few minutes and my respondent came back and apologized for keeping me waiting. I smiled and said no problem. Then he explained that the woman happens to be his second wife and that she needed money to sort some things and that was why she came. At that time I was done with recording his transactions, so I stood up handed him back the diary, thanked him, and went my way.
So, I visited one of my respondents yesterday. He handed his notebook over to me as usual, only for me to find out that he had written down all transactions with the names of the customers and suppliers he had the transaction with. And I was amazed.
Then I said to him that I had it in mind to ask him of the names of his customers and suppliers. Then he smiled and said that he had attended a business seminar over the weekend where he was taught the importance of keeping a record of all transactions with the names of his customers and suppliers.
That was how I reported each transaction one by one with the names of all customers and vendors provided in his notebook.
There is this firm that was assigned to me as a replacement for one of the firms I initially had for diaries. On my first visit to the firm, the manager was very receptive and friendly after I told her who I was and why I came (since I wasn’t the one that conducted their census and intake). I asked if the owner is aware of the survey and she said yes and that the owner asked her to interface with us since she (the owner) is usually not around. So she signed the diaries consent form and I opened and set up a finbit account for the firm.
I thanked her and left notifying her that I will be back the following week for reporting. Fast-forward to the following week, I arrive and we exchange pleasantries then start up on reporting. We were still on the first week of reporting when the owner came in and asked to speak with the manager. After a while, the manager came back to me and said her madam said she didn’t quite understand what the research is about so I offered to meet her madam directly and explain, which she obliged.
After discussing with the owner extensively on the survey, she said she cannot divulge her financial information to anybody and that the days are evil. I consulted my supervisor to inform her of the matter on the ground. She told me to allow the owner time to think it through and that I should leave a fresh copy of the diaries consent form with her, which I did.
On the next day, the owner asked me to come back. I went with my supervisor but unfortunately, she was not around so we had to go.
Yesterday, I visited again, and sadly, she said she has thought it through and decided that she doesn’t want her firm to be a part of the survey. It’s a big blow for me given that we really started off well, but the respondent’s wish is my command.
I visited a respondent today with my FS for reporting. Upon getting to his firm at our agreed time, he was not there so I tried calling him on the phone but it was switched off. We waited and after about 30 minutes he came in and was not looking happy at all.
Upon inquiring as to what the problem was, he said his phone was stolen today when he went to weld a machine for the people so he is looking for a way to block his accounts and retrieve his SIM card. He even said he didn’t want to do Reporting today and that he is not in a good mood.
My FS and I spent time discussing with him and encouraging him to cheer up. We condoled with him for the loss of his phone and suggested steps to take to ensure his bank account is not hacked into. We offered to come back another day for reporting if today is not convenient for him, but he said we can go on with the reporting. After a long time of talking and a series of engagements, the reporting was done.
Towards the end of the reporting, He asked us when we are bringing the phone we told him we would give him in our consent forms. We informed him the phones haven’t arrived yet.
On a scheduled visit to this respondent, she told me that she might stop the business. When I probed to know her reasons, she complained bitterly about the rising cost of the livestock feeds and the swine flu outbreak which she said were greatly affecting the business. She informed me that she has lost so much of her livestock, and as such, she is incurring losses instead of making profits. I however encouraged her to be optimistic and told her that things will soon turn around for good.
Ibe Amaka Chinwe
For more than a month now, there has been a sit at home order imposed on the South East by the IPOB secessionist group. By last week Friday, information circulated around that the sit-at-home order has been lifted and we decided to watch the terrain to know if we can start working on Mondays again.
The team went ahead with the plans of calling respondents to know if they will adjust to Monday reporting as well as accept being shifted a day forward in the reporting schedule. Surprisingly, before mid-morning today, rumors of killings in an area of the city started spreading around. Coincidentally, this is the area where Enugu FR 5 works in.
I informed the FRs of the recent development and also informed the FM who reiterated that the team should suspend working on Mondays till when stability is achieved.
I also tried to ascertain the level of human and vehicular movement in the city by visiting one of our areas of assignment which is in another part of the town. I discovered my respondent NG832 was among the few shops that opened to offer skeletal services. She was working under tension and did not display her goods in case the hoodlums visited, so she can easily run. Her employees did not report to work.
As I left her shop, I trekked a long distance before finding a vehicle whose fare was drastically increased because of the sit-at-home activity coupled with the fuel scarcity issue.
I pray that before the month’s end, everything will stabilize in the South East because the zone seems to be on autopilot. Nobody knows whose orders to follow anymore.
This is one of my respondents that is always happy whenever she sees me. Two weeks ago she told me how she’s enjoying the exercise and hopes to see me every Tuesday.
Getting to her shop today to do the normal business, she handed me the record book and she said “I made a loan repayment again this week. I feel happy that am coping.”
She collected a loan earlier and couldn’t pay at the time she was supposed to pay and added interest of N5000. Her record keeping has helped her realize how much she generates weekly and now she can repay the loan weekly.
Today, like every other day, I went to visit this firm that has been responsive in attending to me whenever I visit. Today I was with my supervisor. After greeting her and introducing my supervisor to her, she broke a piece of sad news to us. Burglars broke into her firm at night and made away with 3 of her laptop computers and the little amount she dropped in her record book. She is into photocopying and printing services.
To keep the business alive, she got a desktop computer but has yet to pay for it. Using only a desktop computer at this time means she will be perpetually depending on electricity before she can work and the electricity supply has been really poor.
I was with a firm today. Her birds are dying so she has made no sales or anything and she’s completely devastated. They aren’t sure if it’s bird flu or not because there is an outbreak of bird flu on the farm. So she said once they sell the remaining birds as soon as possible they are closing down until next year when they will be able to start afresh again.
I persuaded her to at least do some writing down but she said no. I tried to ask the number of birds lost so I can include it under expenses and select livestock lost so we can value it but she was upset with the idea of knowing the number of bird mortality. She wants to opt out of the one-year project due to the mortality incidence. So I told her I’ll notify our organization and get back to her.
So yesterday I visited one of my respondents, a bakery firm. I called her before going there and she asked me to wait for her and told me that she was on her way to her firm. I waited and in about 7 minutes, she was there.
The first thing she did was that she brought out her anointing oil, was blasting in tongues, and was making declarations for a few minutes (I guess she was just coming back from church).
Afterward, she complained about poor sales and she said it started when we started collecting her data, and then she said, “Don’t you people pray for your respondents?” I quickly answered in the affirmative, “Ma, I do.” (cause I actually do).
Then she said, “You people should be able to give me feedback in 3 months from the data you must have gathered from my firm.” I was quick to remind her it’ll last for a year.
When I visited this respondent for financial reporting, he told me that he has been running the piggery largely from his hospital business because he has not been making many sales. When I asked him the reason for that, he told me that the swine flu outbreak has reduced the selling price of pigs, and making sales now will amount to a huge loss for him. He will rather try and protect the remaining pigs from the virus and start selling by December when the outbreak will have probably stopped. According to him, after the outbreak, the selling price of pigs will increase, and selling the pigs at that time will give him more profit.
Yesterday, I visited one of my respondents, a laundry firm, as scheduled and met her looking sad and defeated. I sought to know the reasons for her countenance and for a young, struggling entrepreneur, she listed challenges most importantly being that a section of the firm’s washing area was flooded by the heavy and recurring rains, resulting in losses and the stress of stacking equipment everywhere, leaving available space looking untidy.
In the 2 hour session, she also discussed the pressing challenge of low patronage, which she partly attributed to the heavy rains this season; alongside her efforts in the mass advertisement of the business and her resorting to a part-time high patronage-based system of indulging employees due to difficulty with paying her employees and keeping them full-time.
It was a revealing session in all, as I mostly listened to and empathized with her in accordance with the guidelines of the study, and even if she didn’t get the solutions to her challenges, in her own words, ‘she felt a bit relieved’ having had sincere listening ears to relate her challenges. For me, it was very instructive too. Seeing a young firm owner who alongside bearing such overwhelming challenges, was seeking smart and practical ways to combat them.
So on Thursday, I went for Finbit registration and setup for a new assignment used to replace a firm.
The firm owner had told me the previous day, Wednesday, that she had an emergency work to deliver and that I should please come the next day.
When I arrived that Thursday, the firm owner was very elated to see me. She said she has been seeing me pass to go to her neighbor’s place for weekly reporting and that she is happy she is now a part of the survey.
She was very cooperative and gave details as much as she could remember. She was even showing me clothes brought by different customers while we were doing reporting.
I visited this firm today as it’s our normal meeting day. After going through their record to do the usual business, I proceeded to the Record Keeping survey and the firm owner revealed some of the challenges he faced with his employees. He employed a lady as a secretary earlier this year whose responsibility is only keeping financial transactions of the firm.
He discovered that his employees sometimes record less than what is generated by the firm, especially when he’s not around, and they share the remaining money among themselves. He only gets to know when issues arise.
So when I asked for his net profit in his business, he brought out his record books from 2015 and he calculated his profit every month-end after salary.
And added, “I studied Economics at the University. If I don’t do it like this then I studied in vain.”
He’s truly diligent in his report.
Yesterday, I visited a firm for the diaries and asked the question on the new survey that asks which month was the worst month. The respondent said the whole year was a disaster because of COVID 19. Since the location of his firm was in an institution, they were asked to stay home for 8 months. When I asked the question, “Which month was the best?”, he looked at me and said, “Madam were you not in Nigeria last year?”. I had gotten my answer and we all laughed at the whole scenario.
I had previously told you about my respondent who was unreachable for some time because she had consecutively lost 2 of her phones. I also reported that I was finally able to reach her with a third number that I got from her apprentice and that she had pleaded with me to postpone the meeting by a week.
So when it was time to meet her as scheduled, each time I call her number, she doesn’t take her calls and won’t return back calls. This happened for 2 days. I went to her shop several times and I didn’t meet her.
So when she finally picked her phone up, she apologized and said she has been sick and had gone through a lot of stress due to her lost phones and the exams she had in school. So she asked me to come for the financial data report. But her mood wasn’t a good one.
When it was time for the following week’s report, she stopped taking my calls again and I was like, “Why is this particular respondent always stressing me?”. This time around I couldn’t handle it myself, so my supervisor had to call her to know what the problem is and if she was still interested in the survey. She said she’s interested, but she’s having some personal issues and that the survey was not what she wanted to attend to when I called.
So when I finally met her yesterday, she looked happy and was willing to give me the financial report of her business.
Today I went for a supportive check-in to LagosFR4 (Olufunmiyalo Nubi). During the day, we came across a respondent who is seriously into shoemaking with many machines to ease his production. We talked a lot with him and finally, I gave in and bought a special shoe from him.
As you can find below he allowed me to take pictures of most of his business premises, displays, and the interview in progress.