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HandOUT

July 20, 2011

I’M NOT SURE YOU act the same; maybe you are a better person than I am. I ignore them on the street, side-step at corners and consider them an unattractive site –they dirty up the street-, but all this changed when this happened…    

I saw her as I stepped out of the office building. She was settling at the veranda of a closed shop next building. From the look of things, she was settling down for the night, maybe the weekend. I made a mental note to bring her up during my next chat with Mama Tejiri.

She looked up and saw me walking by, the firm has a special car parking arrangement for it staffs with the owner of a building nearby. My car was parked there.

Seeing me, she (seemingly) musterered strength, and walked down wearily to me with outstretched bone thin hands. She’s asking for a hand-out. I shake my head and walk on.

My hand pressed against the 25k in my right pocket, I felt a prick of guilt; I’d love to give her a little, but it’s in 1k bills. I can’t afford to give her one of those as I’m on a very tight budget. Sophia is visiting tomorrow.

10k is for her hotel bill (I’ve been dreaming about the nights she’s spending here). After setting aside the 6k for her ticket back toAbuja, the rest is not going to be enough to feed, party and show her around town.

“I’m going to try to borrow some money from my brother” I thought to myself as I stepped into the car.  By the time I drive away, I’ve forgotten all about ‘her’ (d  ‘beggar’). It’s going to be a great weekend (I’m going to teach Sophia that there’s more to frakking than being a ‘missionary’).

**fast-forwarding –> to Monday. We are not here to talk about my weekend with Sophia, it’s not suitable for public reading…. Move along people.**

………I returned to work after a very satisfying and satiating weekend (‘P” was properly set) to meet a sombre crowd packed in front of Mama Tejiri’s as I walk from the ‘parking lot’.  It’s Mourning Monday’.

I squeeze my way through the crowd to see what was happening (or had happened). My gut clench as I elbow and shove my way through, I’ve got an eerie feeling; A premonition.

There she was, lying where I first saw her, DEAD.! I choke at the sight of her lifeless body.

“Hunger must have taken her” a voice from the crowd says. I ask myself, “Was I spending on condoms and lubricants while she was starving to death?”

Thoughts and questions come in torrents, I struggle to keep up with them, one of them stands out, “Will she still be alive if I had helped?”

A Mama Tejiri led group goes for the body. As usual, those underpaid “korofos” are a ‘no show’.  But the store needs to be opened today; There’s money to be made.

I step away from the crowd (I needed to leave there as I was beginning to feel weak-kneed) and entered the office building. It was a miserable monday.

I (later) learn her story from a co-worker. Although pregnant and gravely ill, she was thrown out of the hospital for inability to pay her bills; She was pregNANT.!! The thought of the unborn child did it for me.

I closed my eyes and said a short prayer, one of mercy and forgiveness. Don’t let it happen again the Lord said to me.

********

 I’m not going to launch into a long winded moral lecture at this point. Our friend above was told not to let it happen again. I’m saying “Don’t let it happen to you”

“When we read about horrendous wickedness and inhumanity inflicted by someone. We shrug and say ‘that can’t be us’ and how we’d act different if it were up to us. But it’s little drops of water that makes an ocean, It starts with something like this, a little act of unkindness, -it’s how villians are created-.  How he (our friend) became the ‘beast’ of our story. .”

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2011 5:02 pm

    Wow!!was just telling a pharm rep about my project “all reps must donate drugs for poor patients” and he couldn’t bliv there are people for whom a hundred naira is make or break.
    We need to increase our sensitivity to the plight of others.
    We do.

  2. July 20, 2011 5:50 pm

    *sighs* this is deep. A thought provoking piece. What else can I say that to ask for ordered steps in the right path.
    Now the weekend is over, the memories of the weekend will fade away but ‘our friend’ will never forget Mama Tejiri and the unborn child.
    Nice piece brova!

  3. Joanne permalink
    July 20, 2011 6:25 pm

    Oh my! This is just sad and unfortunately it’s very real…very day we see these people but we feel we don’t have enough to spare! But God is merciful to us and we find it so difficult to help.

    May we recognise how lucky we are for the air we breathe, the water we drink and even the sunlight we have! And use ’em to be of help to someone in need.
    Lovely post (y)

  4. @Jacy_luff permalink
    July 20, 2011 11:46 pm

    Nice piece of writing.. Juz finishd readin ur other posts & I luv them!

  5. August 22, 2011 7:08 am

    Tis shit happens. We just have to learn 2 live with d decisions we make

  6. August 22, 2011 7:11 am

    A lot of our decisions affect odaz. We jurt have to make ones we can live with. Nyc stuffs

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