My dad told me one evening, ‘Never push down the ladder you used to rise, you will still need it’
I was confused and did not understand why a person would need to come down after he climbs up, but not wanting to rise his anger, I nodded and continued unshelling his groundnuts
At sunrise the next day, he called me to his room. ‘You shall be traveling to Lagos with Aluko. He will help you make it in Lagos’
Aluko was the village rising star who lived in Lagos. He visited occasionally in baggy Jeans and obviously fake jewelry hanging on his neck. He said in Lagos, all you had to do was know the right people and the right places, and your life would be made forever. He said that’s all he searches for in Lagos.
In Lagos, I realized that Aluko wasn’t so bad. He did well being a plumber on the island. He prayed for water to rise in people’s sinks and toilet bowls, so he would be called to work.
He set me up with a baker who hated me. She did everything and made me do nothing for a while. Everyday, I would sit in the corner of the kitchen, watching the dough rise.
But soon enough, she began to accommodate me. She would tell me rise from my seat and follow her around, watching her every move. I listened. obeyed. I gained her trust.
Now 12 years later, I’m flipping through the West African Rising Star magazine and I see my interview page. Apparently, I am now a big shot in the food industry.
And Aluko, although he still pronounces ‘rice’ as ‘rise’, he remains my right-hand man; my best friend; my most trusted partner… my husband.
He is the ladder with whose rungs I reached the top, and it is he who reminds me to be humble and to calm down some times. And through us, a generation of people will rise, who would be taught to know that to help another person is possibly the best gift you can give the world and to love your ladder is the best gift you can give yourself.