The major reason for my sleepless nights after the novel coronavirus hit Nigeria was my fear of hunger amongst women and girls in impoverished communities.
The pangs of my chest could cause a heart burst because, to the girls that and women that I worked with in the riverside communities in Lagos, Olutosin could bring out water from the rock. These people would sleep with both eyes closed, believing that solutions would definitely come from our transformation center.
At our centre, we have a food bank supported majorly by my Worldpulse sister Julie. It's a quarterly support, targeted at women and very few men, that is, every Sunday, women come to our centre for free foodstuffs.
Now that coronavirus is ravaging the whole world, and majority of our women are daily wage workers with no savings, life is tough. More than 50% of Nigerians live from hand to mouth, what they earn in a day is what they feed their family on, no left over.
Therefore, in a situation where there is strict restrictions on movement, many women will not be able to go out to find their daily meal, this will definitely affect their children, especially the girl child.
My fear was just the girl child, because during desperate times, sexual perpetrators use the opportunity to trade food or money for sex. Our situation is critical because we work in riverside communities where there is a huge presence of ships and sailors and high prostitution rates.
I want to make a change, Yes. But, how can I?
I decided not to mention Coronavirus anymore. So, how will I impact my community more during this crisis? Who are the most vulnerable? What is the major need and how can I meet the need without having to write a proposal to United Nations that will take another three months to receive any reply. I have never sent any proposal there before and I am not even lucky with proposal sending.
The most vulnerable are girls and women. The major need in my community is food. Hunger is ravaging many communities in the developing countries. Do not believe the statistics being chucked out by our politicians. Personally, I do not know who they are trying to impress with their falsehoods. Tackling hunger is tackling Coronavirus in my community.
A hungry woman will never stay at home watch her children die of hunger. And, with the look of things, Nigeria government has no plans to alleviate hunger now. Their struggle is to buy mattresses in hospitals and borrow ventilators from China while waiting for Jack Ma to send more nose covers and hand gloves. We have none.
As for me, the truth is that, I believeinTransformation, I stand for Transformation, but presently, even if I wanted to make a change, I had no dime to my name because business is slow these days. I have not been able to sell any artworks in 2020.
How do I face these friends when hunger knocks at the door? Unlike many people, I am blessed with good supportive sisters and very few brothers. They believe so much in my capacity to create beauty out of nothing.
How do I save these girls?
The only solution, fast and possible was to post it online. And the message on my page was ...My name is Olutosin Ruth Oladosu, I am a Nigerian. I am not afraid of Coronavirus. I am afraid of hunger amongst the masses.
The response to the post was impressive. We had a meeting and started Pick and go program for girls only. Simply means, a hungry girl can walk into our centre to pick food and leave within minutes.
The first day was rowdy. But, the second day was simply calm and today is much more better and we could meet outside our gate.
The responses from my Worldpulse and other online sisters is amazing, every support received is from online. Its surprising that within twenty four hours, we had sisters and brothers online, supporting Pick and go for girls, and we started immediately, my sleep was bliss afterwards.
Now, we bake our special bread, garnished with fish and eggs from my poultry, we have cereals, milk, flakes, noodles etc for our girls. Courtesy of my online sisters and brother. My belief is that, when we drive hunger faraway from our community, we can peacefully stay at home while Coronavirus takes its leave because it wont have a place to perch on or anyone host on the streets to feast upon. We all will be indoors.
Life is beautiful when we are blessed with awesome online sisters.
Lastly, we can defeat coronavirus and we will defeat it, our safety and others safety is interdependent. Humanity has gone through worse situations in life, our unity and love in times like this, keep the world going. Let's team up to support one another as we face the final battle to end this deadly virus. When we go together, we go far.
Attached are some pictures of our pick and go food for girls only in Ibasa riverside community, Lagos Nigeria. Its supported by my sisters online, for the period of coronavirus pandemic only.