Things are fast falling into place for Mary Daniel, the 26-year-old amputee water hawker and her life is showing significant transformation.
The single mum, who used to sell bottled water on highways in the Oshodi area of Lagos, marked her 27th birthday on Friday with fanfare.“I feel happy today,” Daniel enthused about the event. “I didn’t celebrate my birthday last year. I am grateful to God for what He has done in my life,” she said, her face lit up with smiles. “I never thought I would mark my birthday in a big way like this.”
She added, “People who know me before now have been calling me and making kind remarks about me. They said I have changed for good and they can hardly recognise me again.”
The Kogi-born woman is also set to establish a supermarket with donations she received from within and outside Nigeria.
Daniel’s status took a dramatic turnaround after her moving story was reported by Saturday PUNCH.Our correspondent had narrated how Daniel went through difficult times after losing her parents and her right leg to an accident in December 2006 while they were travelling to their hometown in Ayingba, Kogi State from Katsina State for Yuletide.
Dropping out at Junior Secondary School 3, she took to the streets in Onitsha, Anambra State, selling sachet water to cater to herself and her aged grandmother.
She was impregnated in 2018 by her fiancé who she said denied responsibility for the pregnancy, forcing her to relocate to Delta State out of shame.
Daniel continued the taxing trade in the oil-rich state even after giving birth. She relocated to Lagos in March, hawking bottled water in chaotic traffic and passing the night on the balcony of a building on Suwebatu Street, Oshodi.PUNCH’s report generated overwhelming emotions as people sought help for the orphan while praising her rare grit.
For fear that she might fall prey to fraudsters due to huge donations pouring into her bank account, the Lagos State Government took over her welfare and put her in protective custody pending the conclusion of plans to settle her.
“I want to set up a supermarket where I will be selling cartons of noodles, bottled water, drinks, food stuffs and other items,” Daniel, who marked her birthday at a lounge in Ikeja, told our correspondent on Friday.Remarkably, Daniel is also an employer of labour in waiting, with two persons to work with her at the supermarket.
She said, “I plan to employ two of my cousins. One is based in Awka (Anambra) while the other is based in Asaba (Delta). They will relocate to Lagos and join me in running the supermarket. As soon as I get my own apartment, I will bring my daughter to Lagos. I hope my story will inspire people in my condition to always try to struggle to earn a living.”
Our correspondent also learnt that a non-governmental organisation has decided to pick up the bill of prosthesis to be procured for Daniel.
“The people that will do the artificial leg came on Monday to take the measurement of my leg. They said it would be ready in one month’s time,” Daniel said.