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A recent media tour of government’s projects at different locations nationwide, created an opportunity for a chance meeting with a young girl who demystified fate and refused to become a liability to the society, but has become a source of inspiration despite her physical limitations.

For Offiong Mbong, a deaf and dumb food vendor in Afia Nsit, on the outskirt of Uyo the Akwa Ibom State capital, disability can never be the end of the world, but adrenaline that pumps out the best and makes her swim against the tide in fulfilling a glorious destiny.

The story of this young girl in her early 20s remains an amazing inspiration and testimony that life is truly 10 percent c i r – cumstances, and 90 percent how the circumstances are managed.

The double ‘wahala’ of being deaf and dumb must have instigated some religious or superstitious belief in Offiong’s immediate environment that either she or her parents, had sinned, or knowingly or unknowingly crossed the paths of some witch or wizard that unleashed a curse on their family.

Offiong, apparently did not choose her predicament, whether her conditions were hereditary or a product of medical miscalculation that is absolutely immaterial. What is important, is her choice to vigorously arm-twist her destiny rather than give in to fate.

She refused to accept the garments of pity and groan longer than necessary over the heavy blow that fate dealt her; and her ability to dust off societal stigmatization that would have kept her bed-ridden in dejection for as long as she lives, can be inferred to be a clear manifestation of God’s work.

One aspect of her story that is a surprise to everyone that comes across her in the site where she sells, is that her cooking talents could not be killed by her physical challenges.

Offiong, who vends food at one of the ongoing National Housing Programme sites in Afia Nsit, has succeeded, not only in disappointing her haters, but in knocking her competitors out of business in that site.

When the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, was proposing a national housing programme that would provide affordable shelters to the masses and also stimulate profitable economic activities for local host communities to the project, he was probably influenced by the prayers of the likes of Offiong.

By vending food in this housing site, Offiong like many ordinary Nigerians, belonging to different categories, had been empowered economically. This young, physical challenged girl makes an average of N10,000 daily from food vending. Initially, there was doubt over her ability to have managed to create such economic empowerment platform for herself, but several credible sources confirmed that she had empowered herself and also become a dependable breadwinner to her siblings who are not physically challenged.

Saturday Telegraph gathered that though, this young girl is impaired in speech and hearing, her dexterity in business management is not impaired. Her sense of humour, though, with sign language, in dealing with people around her, coupled with her unparalleled mastery in mixing food condiment to get a tasteful delights in meals, have greatly endeared her to both workers and visitors to the site.

She succeeded in discouraging other food vendors from coming to the site, proving the validity of an age-long saying that “where carcass are, there eagles would gather.” According to findings, her competitors caved in, allowing her to be the ‘only king of the jungle’.

Ekaette, who claimed to be a close relation to Offiong, and said she often comes to the site to scavenge for menial jobs, validated the story of this amazing jinx breaker and trail blazer, whose only communication avenue with her customers are sign languages and irresistible, infectious smiles.

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