How Boli Changed My Fortune – Widow | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Metro, Port Harcourt

How Boli Changed My Fortune – Widow

Posted: Jul 7, 2015 at 6:03 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Daniel Abia –  P/Harcourt


She started the business from a spot on Circular Road along Stadium Estate in Port Harcourt, Rivers State many years ago. 

The business as God would have it grew steadily, and she relocated to the present  base that has become a household name called boli zone in the city. The business grew to the extent that beverages companies branded her shop and gave her freezers, plastic chairs and tables.

“I started the business just to while away time. When my husband goes to work in the morning, I would stay by the road side to roast plantain for sale. When he died, I doubled my effort. Today, it is now profitable.”

Those are the words of Mrs. Stella Lonjohn, 67, who had kept faith with the business since 1982 after losing her husband, who was a civil servant in Rivers state in 2005.

The widow while speaking with our correspondent said she has been using faith proceeds from her boli business to cater her six children.

“I used to fill a whole Hilux with plantain. That full truck used to cost me N30, 000. Now with N400, 000 you can’t buy much. In those days when we started this business, one could build a house from the income from the sales. Today, it is not so. Things are so expensive these days.”

Both the high and low in the city have identified with her services. On that, she recalled that: “When former Governor Rotimi Amaechi disguised and came to my shade, I felt great that day. Many big men used to come here to eat.” She regretted that dealers have taken undue advantage of the difficult times to sell contaminated food stuff to the innocent members of the public. She disclosed that on several occasions she had bought some cartons of contaminated frozen fish, tomatoes, pepper and even palm oil.

“Only last week, I bought two cartons of contaminated fresh fish. I had to dump them at the dustbin and that was a huge loss to me. You will be surprised that they have contaminated even palm oil and red pepper. These things cause cancer.

“One carton of fish used to be N8, 000. But after the election, it jumped up to N18, 000.

The woman has extended her business to Lagos having trained some other persons the art of the trade. “One of my boys is doing well in Lagos. I trained him here in Port Harcourt.”

While many consider bole as one of the cheapest food to quench hunger, others go for its inherent nutritious values and advantages.

Uncle Temple Wobidike, one the regular callers at roasted plantain joints, said he has been eating bole and fish for more than five years.

“It has an African flavour. Because it is locally made, I cannot resist the temptation of eating it as many times as possible. From the processing to the consumption, its is locally made that gives true Africaness.

He said the delicacy has the potential to sustain people for a whole day. The nutrient inherent in plantain “gives you the needed strength which sustains one for any hard job without experiencing  weakness.”

Sokpare Justin, from Bayelsa state believes rather than go for Viagra, men “should resolve to take as much unripe plantain as possible. It does the same work that Viagra does. In most cases, the so called Viagra is dangerous to the system. Roasted plantain is far better and it increases men’s libido.”

He said that besides its health advantage, roasted plantain and fish combination makes a better meal because of the flavour derived from the charcoal which is the same thing as cooking the meal locally at home.

“Roasting it keeps the nutrients intact without any damage. Everybody knows the health value of unripe plantain and what it does to the body”.