Have you attempted to relieve someone else from his trouble but found yourself in deeper trouble? Have you ever been bitten by the mouth you fed or trapped by your own goodwill that when you wanted to withdraw such gesture you couldn’t and helplessly you were heading for the slaughter chamber.
I found myself in such a dilemma when I entered into ‘technical partnerships’ with a woman named, ‘Sunkeh’ who I met in the year 1998 after I helped her to organized her restaurant. It was the success of that transaction that brought us together as ‘close friends.’
During one of my visits to Sunkeh’s house, one weekend, in November,2003. She lamented to me how her husband abandoned her and her two kids. I knew she was passing through a difficult situation because I was aware that she had sold her restaurant.
In sympathy, I offered to help her. My mind warned me to ‘stay clear’. But what was wrong in helping a woman in need?
As a restaurant consultant I came in contact with several restaurant operators who either wanted to lease or out rightly sell their establishment. Therefore when one restaurateur, approached me, that he intended to leave town and offered to lease his eatery. His bait hooked me ‘at once’. Meanwhile, at that same period, I was busy working towards the publication of my hospitality magazine: ‘FoodGuide’. I knew I wouldn’t have enough time for the restaurant and so I decided to invite Sunkeh to join me as my ‘technical partner’. She happily accepted the offer and we agreed that she would manage the operations of the restaurant.
We signed the legal documents and we leased the restaurant for ‘twenty thousand Naira’ a month. We recruited new workers and we started our operation. The first five months were challenging. However, we managed to pay ‘all’ our bills. But in the sixth month, the ‘religious riot’ and ‘labour crises’ in our country-Nigeria, affected our business. We lost a lost of money. When we resumed our operations, our sales drastically dropped. Then one morning Sunkeh complained that she was fed-up with the situation. I encouraged her not to give up, as I positively confessed that the situation would turn around for good. By now I was deeply involved with the operations. She stopped coming to work regularly. I called for a meeting and she apologized. To my shock! She confined to me that she was pregnant for the man who she was dating and couldn’t stand the smell of food. She also added that she was considering ‘remarrying.’ It was her personal life so there was nothing I could do about that. Beside, she was eight years older than I was.
Good Lord! I could no longer concentrate on my ‘consultancy job’. My new magazine didn’t get enough of my attention and I was not making any money from the restaurant. Instead the restaurant unpaid bills were pilling. I had no money! I wanted to pull out of the deal but I couldn’t terminate the agreement because one of the terms for the leasing was, in such an event, I must serve a ‘month’ notice and settle all ‘liabilities’. My neck was deeply in debt. Sunkeh had totally stopped coming. Though once in a while she would dropped by to say she was ‘very ill’ and from the clinic.
At the end of the sixth month. The restaurant owner came down and asked for his lease money. (I was yet to settle my workers salary) I explained the situation to him and pleaded with him to give me more time. He showed sympathy or may be he pretended to understand. The rest of the days of that same week, kept me busy scouting for fund! On one of my return to the restaurant I met Sunkeh waiting for me in the office. She informed me that the restaurant owner came and dropped a note for me. She handed a stapled paper to me and said she was leaving. The note read:
“…I want my money on Monday unfailingly. My wife desperately wants to use the fund.”
I became worried. I smelt rat. But I couldn’t pick point where it was. On Sunday night at home, I struggled on my brother’s bed. I closed my eyes and I prayed to God. I groaned:
“Lord. The children of Israel went to Egypt in search of greener pastures. At Egypt they became slaves. They couldn’t help themselves under pharaoh’s bondage. They cried unto you for help and you delivered them. Lord I have found myself in Egypt! Father liberate me from the bondage of this restaurant.” I prayed and spoke in tongue for a while.
The following morning. I went to the restaurant. By noon the restaurant owner and his wife arrived. Sunkeh also came. He demanded for his money and I told him that I don’t have the money. Then to my shock. He said he was revoking the lease agreement! He asked if I had any thing to say about that. I said I didn’t. He turned to Sunkeh and she said that she was interested in running the restaurant without me. It became evidently clear that they had conspired against me. And before my very eyes, the woman who I was helping ousted me from what I brought her into.
Sunkeh thought she had out smarted me but what she didn’t know was that God had answered my prayer. I returned to my ‘consultancy job’ a free man leaving her to automatically inheriting the unpaid bills. I have read that it doesn’t matter whether you ‘lose’ or ‘win’ in life except when you lose. In my own case I was stabbed behind but it turned out to be my liberation. The bible states that ‘…all things work together for good for them that love God and are called by his purpose.’ I do agree!
Hi O.J. I was very touched while reading your article, my heart just ached for you, till coming to the end! What a beautiful example of Rom. 8:28! God has used that Scripture many times to bring me through some rough things too. Blessings, Sharon