Working Lives

Working Lives: The Bricklayer with No Bank Account

Working Lives: The Bricklayer with No Bank Account

“I do not save with banks because of their high charges and the tedious process of accessing loans. I save my money with a cooperative society in my area. Cooperative societies can easily give out loans to their members. Their process is seamless. I also make daily contributions (Ajo).”

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Yinka Adewusi. I am from Ijebu Igbo Local Government Area of Ogun State.

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Lagos State.

Tell us about your education.

I had my primary and secondary education at Local Government Primary School Majidun and United High School in Ikorodu respectively. After completing my secondary education, I joined my mother’s plantain business. She used to travel to Ijebu to buy plantain which she sold in Lagos. The business was not really lucrative but being her first son, she was willing to sponsor my education to the tertiary level. I took the decision not to go for higher studies because my mother was solely responsible for taking care of our family. My stepfather squandered his income on alcohol and never brought anything home. I had to forgo my desire to get a university education so that my step-siblings could have access to secondary education. 

Tell us about your family.

Growing up, I never knew my father. My stepfather, my mother, and my step-siblings were my immediate family. My stepfather was a bricklayer. So, it was quite easy for me to learn the trade. He had young guys learning from him at that time, I joined them in learning and started as a laborer. I recently met my father in Ibadan. He is a herbalist and married with five children. My mother no longer runs her plantain business due to old age. However, she currently sells beverages and foodstuffs in a little shop by the house.  

Do you now have a cordial relationship with your biological father?

Yes, I do. I met my father for the first time when I was 34 years old. When I met him, he apologized for being absent from my life since I was born and I forgave him. If I had met him during my teenage years, I would not have been so welcoming and understanding towards him. Although I was overjoyed to meet him because that gave me the boldness to denounce the bastard title. I look exactly like my father, if you see us walking together you won’t need a soothsayer to tell you this is a father and son. I visit him sometimes and our bond is growing daily 

Are you married?

Yes. I am married to a wonderful woman and we are blessed with two children. My wife works with LAWMA as a road sweeper. She supports me with taking care of some of the family’s expenditures.

Also Read: Working Lives:  The Kogi Man Who Chose Bricklaying Over Becoming a Medical Doctor

You mentioned that you learned bricklaying from your stepfather, how many years did you spend in training?

I trained for five years for free and I enjoyed unlimited freedom. Some days, I could decide to go to my mother’s shop instead of going with my stepfather to the site. I think I would have completed my training earlier if I did not learn the trade from my stepfather. The unlimited freedom I enjoyed brought in some level of unseriousness in me while undergoing the training. 

How do you get bricklaying jobs?

As a bricklayer, I get my jobs directly from the engineers and at times some bricklayers partner with me when they are short handed while working on a project. 

Do you earn daily or monthly? And how much do you earn?

I earn between N4000 to N4500 daily. Some construction companies pay their bricklayers weekly, they would have had an agreement with such bricklayers. 

Do you have savings and how much do you save?

I do not save with banks because of their high charges and the tedious process of accessing loans. I save my money with a cooperative society in my area. Cooperative societies can easily give out loans to their members. Their process is seamless. I also make daily contributions (Ajo). I save about N1,500 daily and I remit my dues regularly to the cooperative society. 

How many hours do you work in a day and for how many days of the week?

I work from 9 am till 5 pm from Monday to Sunday. My closing time depends on the distance of the site to my house. If the site is close to my house, I could work until 6 pm. I only rest when there are no bricklaying jobs to do. 

What other things do you do that fetches an income?

Bricklaying is my full-term job. Since I work Monday to Sunday, it doesn’t give me time for anything else,

Where do you live and how much do you pay for rent?

I live in a one room apartment at ibeshe in Ikorodu. I pay N5,000 monthly, which amounts to N60,000 annually.

How long have you been working as a bricklayer and for how much longer do you see yourself in it?

I have been working as a bricklayer for 15 years. I do not see myself quitting any time soon. There will be no means to take care of my family if I quit. 

Do you enjoy working as a bricklayer?

It is not about enjoyment, it is about survival. I would not entirely say that I enjoy working as a bricklayer. The job puts food on my table, so I have to try as much as possible to enjoy it. 

Also Read: Working Lives: The Petrol Attendant Who Wants to Do Bricklaying Fulltime

How much do you spend in a day?

On average, I spend about N500 to N600 on food and water. If I were to add transportation costs, that would amount to N1,500 daily.  

Would you want to further your education?

No. I am currently focused on sponsoring my children’s education. I have made the decision that my children will get a quality education which I could not get. I would not be working as a bricklayer if I was educated. I would probably be working in a fully air-conditioned office. I feel bad when I reflect on how my life has turned out as compared to my peers. I thank God regardless of life and good health. If I were to come back in the next life, I will definitely go to school.

What are your future plans?

I want to own a big construction consultancy company. The company will oversee construction projects, advise on sustainability, inspect the work of construction contractors, etc. I know it requires capital, training and consistency to achieve this. I am working towards it already. 

Obande Friday

Friday is a Mass Communication graduate of The Polytechnic of Ibadan. He has four years of content development experience. He loves lifting weights in his spare time.

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