In Lagos, a house emitted a bothersome smoke that gave me a headache. Inside the kitchen, I observed the source of the smoke, which I hadn’t mentioned earlier. The smoke bothered me because it resulted from uncooked ingredients. Zainab, also known as Zainabu Abamu Ashirin (the tenth), was in charge of this kitchen. Some children’s voices could be heard, remarking that Abashi was correct in withholding payment, despite her name being Zainabu. They insinuated that her role was merely to wipe away the sweat from her forehead to her neck.

Kamin’s kitchen responded, “Thank God, it’s free. People don’t know that I eat Dawa (a traditional herbal medicine).” She added maggi (seasoning) and salt to the mix, which didn’t bother her. She expressed her frustration about not having enough money for her business and not being paid. This dialogue sparked a disagreement.

Sama’ila swiftly approached the kitchen door where Zainab was, knocked, and then hurriedly left. Umma Halima, who overheard the commotion, expressed her annoyance, and mentioned that Sama’ila had not officially broken up with Zainab. She suggested that Malam should intervene to resolve the matter.

Sama’ila, however, turned away and bit his finger, determined to leave the house as he had decided earlier. Zainab’s reputation was not favorable.

A young boy approached Zainab, handed her money, and she received it with her hand. Expecting two five-naira notes, she opened her hand, only to find one note. She questioned the boy’s intentions, stating that she was in a bad mood and could have given him a hard time. He retorted, saying that he had shown her kindness, and she should not push him away. Despite her initial reluctance, she ultimately agreed to receive the gift.

As the incident unfolded, people started discussing what Zainab had done, but they avoided confrontations with her to prevent trouble. Instead, they chose to spend money to do things themselves. Zainab rushed to finish her tasks, and when she was done, she began talking incessantly.

After washing or bathing, Zainab would wash her face and let her hijab hang down to her knees. Umma, noticing this, asked her why she hadn’t washed her legs and feet. Zainab adjusted her hijab and replied that it was the Lagos lifestyle; even after bathing, she would wear her scarf and hat and go out, presenting herself as a married woman.

That day, Umma went out and stopped at a few local markets. She used the profit they had earned to buy spices and other items. Zainabu decided to visit the Dole market. This time, she didn’t engage in any conflicts with taxi drivers over the spices. As she exited the car, she expressed her determination to invest in various ventures. Zainab was known for her passion and the variety of her undertakings. She was a complex individual, often engaging in different activities. However, her stories were frequently inconsistent, and she often cried when things didn’t go her way, despite her determination and popularity among the people.

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