The choice of where to live, just like every other life choice, goes a long way in influencing one’s total well-being. Knowing this propelled me to apply extra effort in searching for an apartment which would be my domicile for my service year as a youth corps member two years ago. More so, my ears have been filled with stories of how difficult majority of the house owners in that town were.
After three days of frantic searching, my friend, Jasmine and I eventually settled for Mrs Adeagbo’s house. She was a widow, fondly called Mama Teni; dark, short and plump, and in her mid-sixties. The house was a ‘face-me-i-face-you’ bungalow with eight rooms. Though it wasn’t our perfect desire, but it was preferable to the other houses in the neighbourhood.
We moved into the house two days after payment. Just like every house owner, Mama Teni had her rules which every tenant must abide by. We must sweep an apportioned part of the large compound every morning, the use of generators after 10pm was highly prohibited, all cooking must be done in the general kitchen, and every tenant must be in before 10pm amongst other rules.
‘’I guess we are in for a tough year here,’’ Jasmine whispered to me as Mama Teni reeled out the rules to us.
I wasn’t exactly surprised. Having heard enough stories about the modus operandi of the house owners in that town, I had prepared my mind for the worst.
Our first week in the house wasn’t a smooth one as we struggled to adjust to the new environment and its rules. Contrary to the rumours we’ve been fed with, our landlady was unusually patient with us until we became accustomed to the rules.
We thought we’ve enjoyed the best of her until after our first month in the house. Mama Teni wouldn’t spare any opportunity to advise us like her children, especially on marital issues. I remember when I had issues with my fiancé, Olumide, her motherly counsel helped to salvage my relationship, which will culminate into marriage in a couple of months.
Just as Mama Teni didn’t spare her words, she also didn’t spare her meals. It is not an exaggeration to say that her foods were the most delicious my tongue has romanced in my lifetime.
How can I forget the impact of Mama Teni’s motherly care when I took ill six months into the service year? Her foods and care were instrumental to my quick recovery.
The days ran fast like lightning and before we knew it, our service year came to an end. The day we moved out of the house was a sensational one. We wept our eyes out. It was an understatement to say we would miss Mama Teni. She wasn’t a perfect woman, but in my life, she remained the landlady second to none!
AUTHOR: Kadiri Olubunmi Mabel