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Inspire Salone Series: A Trader That Loves Education

By M. Deen

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” – Benjamin Franklin

Not too long ago, the lack of resources to attain education in Sierra Leone mostly marked the end of one’s educational dream. There was either a slim or no chance of fulfilling that dream. The common solution was for one to succumb to societal pressure. Becoming a trader or getting married were mostly the available options. Inspire Salone brings you a woman from that era whose love for education stood strong amidst all odds.

Meet Kadie Kanu

Kadie Kanu, commonly known as ‘Aunty K,’ is a trader who deals in assorted foodstuffs and whose love for education knows no bounds. Being the daughter of a gardener and farmer with little or no income, one would have thought Kadie would choose to help put food on the table instead of going to school. However, from a very tender age, Kadie discovered her love for education, and even after so many years, that love still exists!

Unfortunately for Kadie, that dream was put to a halt at the loss of her father. “When my father died, I knew that was the end of me pursuing my education. As a gardener and a single mother with many children to care for, my mother could not afford to cater for my education, so I had to drop out of school,” Kadie explained.

Imagine you were young Kadie, whose only wish was to be educated but couldn’t because there was no opportunity to. Would you have given up on your dream and succumbed to societal pressure, or would you have kept that dream alive?

She Survived

“After dropping out of school, I kept myself busy by assisting my adopted mother, a caterer by then, with preparing food whenever her service was hired,” Aunty K explained.

She became interested in catering and decided to make a career out of it. Kadie Kanu then went to Progressive Women’s Association, a vocational institute, for three years, where she obtained a certificate in catering. Afterward, she opened a business called Kadie’s Kitchen. Since she had little or no sales then, she decided to open a backup business, dealing in assorted foodstuffs that would cater to her needs.

Does Creativity Begin to Describe Aunty K?

With all these achievements, Aunty K’s love for education did not waver. She had an unfulfilled dream she wanted to accomplish.

Fulfilling Her Dreams!

Since she could not be educated, Aunty K ensured she fulfilled that dream through her children.

“As a child, I dreamed of becoming educated and occupying professional, societal positions. I could not fulfill that dream, but I’m ensuring that my children make it come true by investing in their education,” Aunty K assured.

It’s no surprise that parents desire their children to become the best persons they can be, but intriguingly, they do it with extraordinary determination and passion, like Aunty K.

She’s a mother to three intelligent, beautiful children who inspired her. Bola, Donald, and Princess are brilliant, understand their Sierra Leonean roots, and can also speak English fluently. Fascinating, right? Too bad we could only capture Donald!

In ensuring her children were bilingual, she shared, “It was not an easy task, but I stood my ground that English was the only language spoken at home. I did not know how to translate from our local dialect (Krio) to English, but I knew it would pay off,” Aunty K stressed.

Challenges She Faced

It was difficult for Aunty K to ensure that her children spoke only English at home when she herself did not know how to speak it. But what do we say about perseverance? Gradually, she became familiar with speaking English to her children. Her sentences were not well structured, but she persevered.

Another challenge she faced was people’s opinions. Being a trader and speaking English to her children whenever she took them to trade during the holidays raised some comments from passersby and traders.

However, Aunty K kept going. Her love for education and language was strong enough to withstand critique.

She Evolves 

Her sacrifice and steadfastness are surely paying off. She can proudly boast of having children who excel in school. Aunty K is a school dropout, a trader, the owner of an online pastry business with staff on payroll, and a mother to three children who have made it their duty to fulfill their mother’s dreams.

Who says dreams don’t come true?

Her Message to Young  Sierra Leoneans

“Quitting is not an option; I did not have the opportunity to pursue my education, but the dream was still alive. Whatever you find yourself doing, you should be committed to it. All of your dreams will come true if only you believe,” Aunty advised.

In concluding her interview, she stated that despite this milestone, her dreams of owning a bar and restaurant and becoming an international businesswoman are yet to be fulfilled.

It’s Aunty K to the world!

Her point of sale can be found at Howe Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Photo Credit: Moseray Koroma (Super Mos Photography): +23278145373/+23288914840

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