First Person: Learn a Recipe for Freedom in Nigeria |
“When my family found out I was pregnant, they told me to go live with the father of my unborn child, but instead of going, I started sleeping in an empty building, where I started selling sachets of water to survive.
When my family found out, they threatened my rapist and, because I had no choice, I went to live with him. He was beating me so badly that I was in and out of the hospital emergency room, and I almost lost my unborn son.
One day he gave me a corrosive chemical that burned my legs; he then ran away with my son. It took me two months to heal. At first his father allowed me to live in his house, then my mother, the only member of my family to support me, took me in.
My attacker’s father also helped the police find and arrest him, and thanks to him my son was returned to me. It was around this time that I learned the Culinary Arts course.
I had a strong interest in cooking for a long time, even getting paid to cook for people every now and then. However, I only really knew about Nigerian dishes, and during the course I learned to cook a wide range of cuisines from all over the world, including cakes, pastries, appetizers, and desserts.
In addition to the new recipes I was taught, I also learned food presentation and photography, and I can now take pretty photos of the meals I prepare for sale, which helps me to make the advertising on WhatsApp and to attract more customers.
Since graduating I have started to develop a clientele and with the little money I earn I can take care of myself and my son. I can’t wait to grow up and one day hope to open an international restaurant and pastry shop in Abuja.
So if any survivors of sexual assault and abuse are reading this, I encourage them to speak up – this is how you get help. If I hadn’t spoken, I would never have had this great opportunity to learn new skills. Now I have a second chance.