The Gift

  Ding dong! The door bell rang. A middle aged woman went to open the door. She was wearing native attire, she is dark and plump. She opened the door and saw a young lady in her early twenties, wearing an old blouse and skirt.The skirt has so many stitches. Holding a nylon bag in her right hand. A elderly woman was standing beside her. She covered her body with a big brown veil. 

 " Good morning, " the elderly woman said with an amiable smile. 

 " Morning, how may I help you please? " asked the middle aged woman trying to be friendly. 

  " I am Hajiya Atine and this is my grand daughter. We are here to see Hajiya Hauwa, " She replied briefly still smiling. 

" Oh! Come in please. She is expecting you, " said the househelp paving way for them.

  Hajiya Atine and her grand daughter entered the large and beautiful sitting room. The lady was busy staring at the sitting room looking at the furniture, electronics and flowers in vases when the house help told them to sit down. She will go and fetch Hajiya. They sat down gently and the lady continued staring at the sitting room. Few minutes later, Hajiya Hauwa joined them. They greeted her respectfully. She answered with an amiable smile and looked at the lady.

  " Is this the girl? " she asked. 

" Yes. Her name is Maria. "

" Okay. Are you sure she can cook very well? " asked Hajiya Hauwa, staring at Maria. 

"Yes. Of course Hajiya. She is a very good cook. Though she look young. But she is a very good cook, " explained Hajiya Atine with assurance. 

  "Alright. I trust you Hajiya Atine. Then she turned to Maria and said. As your grandma told you, you will be our cook in this house. I have only 3 children. One of them is your age mate, my first born is older than you with few years I guess and my last is just six and she is the nicest among her sisters. You will have to be patient with the other two. They are a bit arrogant. But don't worry  just do your job and you won't have any problem with me or them. If you behave well, you will enjoy your stay here." 

   " I promise to behave well, " said Maria obediently.

  " That's good, " said Hajiya Hauwa with a smile. 

 "Please don't disappoint me Maria," pleaded Hajiya Atine. 

  " I promise you I will behave well grand ma, " assured Maria. 

  Hajiya Hauwa and Hajiya Atine discussed about Maria's salary. Then Maria's grand mother said goodbye to her and left. Before she left Hajiya Hauwa gave her some money and clothes. She thanked her and left.

   Maria started her job as a cook in Hajiya Hauwa's house. She is a very good cook. She cooked delicious traditional food and created some new cuisines. She is very creative in terms of cooking. And she's kind and obedient. Everyone in the house  like her with the exception of the two daughters of Hajiya Hauwa. Anisa and Atika. They are arrogant. They underestimated Maria. How can a local girl from the village be their cook. They don't eat anything Maria cook. But they begged their house help to cook for them. Their mother had scolded them times without number but all to no avail. 

   One day, Anisa and Atika will be having a practical in Home Management the following day. They will cook a meal for a manual worker. The unfortunate thing is they don't know how to cook. They can't even boil water not to talk of cooking a meal. They didn't know what to do and their house help is not a good cook. They sat in their room and were thinking of what to do. 

 " Oh!  What do we do now?" asked Atika looking worried.

 " Hmm...  I think our only way out is to plead with Maria to help us," suggested Anisa.

  "What? Maria the cook?  Do you think she will help us after all what we have done to her? " asked Atika. 

  " Do we have another choice?  That's the only choice we have. "

" Yes, you are right. But how do ask her? I'm embarrassed with the way we have treated her. I feel so ashamed now to ask her to teach us how to cook. And we have to belittle ourselves now." said Atika. 

 " Well, we will learn our lesson that way. It's very wrong to underestimate anyone." agreed Anisa. 

   So the two of them went and pleaded with Maria to teach them how to cook the meal against the following day. And she gladly did. They were so happy and they thanked her and asked for her forgiveness for maltreating her. She forgave them and they became good friends.

(c) Asmie's Kitchen