In search of the proverbial ‘Golden Fleece’, Celestina Bendega relocated to the Federal Capital City of Abuja in 1999. “With so much hope and expectation, and bursting with so much energy, I arrived the Capital City. Not really expecting that accommodation was going to be a major challenge, I had to put up with my step-sister and her family. I never needed a soothsayer to tell me that I was greatly inconveniencing them, as it was not a comfortable place and a lot of basic amenities had to be shared. It, therefore, came as a huge relief to me (and them) when the man I was dating finally proposed to me; I got married in 2001 and moved out of their place into my own place.”
The marriage was barely ten (10) years old when Celestina lost her husband in a ghastly motor accident in Gwagwalada, about 60km from the FCT, on his way back from Lagos. She said, “Things became very difficult for my young family, as I had 3 children, aged between 8 and 3 years at the time to cater for. To make matters worse, I lost my job with the government in 2012 and had to wait endlessly to receive my terminal benefits.”
The pressure began to mount when her brother-in-law asked that she and her children move out of the 2-room house which he built with the help of her late husband. He had put the house up for sale. Because of that, she said, “I had to start petty trading, taking my wares from one point to another, though not without the challenges of having to run after people to get them to pay for the products they had purchased. This, in the long, run led to my capital being tied down.”
Recounting her experience, Celestina said that she only survived by the grace of God and through the help of friends and the church. It was in church that she learnt about the Fuller Center for Housing, and today, with a roof over her head, her joy cannot be expressed better.
“Initially, it sounded unbelievable, but today, I am a proud owner of my own home, thanks to the Fuller Center.”