It was five-thirty on a Friday afternoon. Jennifer locked the door to her house, and walked along, humming to herself as she prepared for the meeting at church. She opened the door to her Honda CR-V and drove off.
A young, vibrant woman with a passion for God, Jennifer was the secretary for the main youth group in her church, and she loved her job to the maximum. Nobody could deny her dedication and commitment to her duties, and many of the pastors held her in high regard.
This meeting she was going for, however, was a meeting of pretty high importance, and her presence was urgently needed to rectify a few issues concerning the group.
As she drove along, her car’s stereo bumping out the sounds of Mali Music, she reached for her phone on the other seat to call the youth group president to let him know she was on her way. It wasn’t there. “Oh, crap!” she said to herself. “I totally forgot to take it out whilst I was charging it. Oh, chale.”
Well, too late to turn back for it, as she had already found herself on the main road; she had to move on. The music on deck soon made her forget the phone, and she was busily singing along as she sped on to the meeting.
“All the glory belongs to You, all the glory belongs to You, O God,” she sang, still on her journey. Then she found herself in traffic. Groaning, she looked at the digital clock on the dashboard. Without the traffic, she’d be a fifteen-minute drive away, but with this familiar traffic, an extra thirty minutes would be on the cards. The meeting was scheduled to start in thirty minutes.
“Oh, Lord, pleeease let this traffic move faster. I just can’t afford to be late,” she silently prayed.
It didn’t work. The traffic lived up to its expectations, keeping her in the line for half an hour before she could move on.
“Ugh, I can’t believe it. Now I’m late for this meeting, and I can’t even call Lawrence to let him know why I’ll be late. Why kraaa did I leave my phone at home?” she whined to herself, picking up a little speed. Then as she turned a junction, she noticed a little boy of about six years cuddled up in a corner. There were a few cars passing by, but none seemed to take notice of him. From the distance which she was at, she could see the redness in the boy’s eyes; it was quite obvious he had been crying.
Jennifer slowed down a bit, a bit oblivious to the taxi behind her. “I wonder what could be wrong with this little boy. Maybe I should get down and find out what it is,” she said. Then the meeting came to mind. “Oh, but I’m already late for this meeting. I have to get going.” She started to move on, but two seconds later, she stopped abruptly. She took a look at him. He was now wiping his eyes. Looked like his tear glands were in function yet again.
Jennifer was always one who took serious precaution when dealing with strangers and all. But upon seeing the boy in his miserable state, she had a very strong conviction to go and see what it was that had the boy so miserable. She knew she had to go for the meeting, but with the feeling inside her, she’d probably not be at peace with herself if she left.
After a moment, followed by the honking of the taxi behind her, she decided, “I’ll stop here and see what’s wrong with him. The meeting can wait.” So she moved her car to the side of the road and parked. All her attention was on the boy, so she hardly heard the nasty words the taxi driver threw at her when he passed by.
She walked to the boy, still crying, bent down and gently asked, “My dear, what’s wrong? Why are you sitting out here crying?”
The boy looked up at her, unable to speak. He just shook his head and raised his arms about, as if he was trying to find the appropriate words to describe his situation.
Uh-oh. I hope this boy isn’t dumb. I don’t understand a tint of sign language! Jennifer thought. “Come on now, talk to me,” she urged him. “Maybe I can help. What is it?”
He looked at her, then slowly, opened his mouth. “My.. my…my mummy is dying.”
Jennifer was horrified. “What’s wrong with her?”
Two tears rolled down the boy’s face, and he wiped them before continuing. “She got malaria about a week ago. We don’t have money to buy drugs. I don’t know who to turn to; my daddy is dead. My uncles and aunties think my mummy killed him, so they don’t want to mind us. Nobody wants to help us. So she’s in bed right now. I just can’t…” he trailed off, the tears starting to fall again.
At this rate, Jennifer’s eyes were filled with tears themselves. Judging by the clothes on the boy, it was obvious his story was true. His clothes were horribly faded, as if he had worn them continuously for three months. Before she could say anything, he continued in a wobbly voice. “You know, my mummy always taught me and my little sister to pray no matter what. Since she fell sick, we’ve been praying and praying, yet nobody wants to help us. None of our uncles or aunties care. People drive us away when we ask. I…I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m crying to God for help, but He’s not hearing me! Why? Whyyy??”
If that first speech from the boy helped form Jennifer’s tears, this one helped push them out of her eyes. Watching the boy start to cry loudly, the tears flowed at a fast pace, fueled by the misery of this young poor boy lamenting his mother’s pathetic condition.
I can’t let this young boy lose his mother. I need to find her and take her to the hospital ASAP! “Sweetheart, she asked, sniffing, “Where do you live? I’ll take her to the hospital straight away.”
The boy looked up at her, his eyes shining all of a sudden. “Really? You’ll do that?”
She nodded, wiping her eyes. “Yes, I will. Take me to your house and let’s get her to the hospital right now.”
He sprung up with delight. “WOW! Thank you so much, madam! Come let me show you my house!” He pulled her along through a lane littered with empty water sachets. At the end of it was a cluster of houses, all joined together. Typical slum on the streets of Accra.
She was looking all around her as she was led to the place where the little boy lived. He opened a wooden net door with a torn net and led her in.
The place was so small and cramped, almost equal to a prison cell. This living room is about a quarter of my bedroom, she thought as she looked around.
“My mummy is in here,” the boy said, pointing to a room with no door. She peered into the room.
There lay his mother on a small mattress on the floor, shivering uncontrollably and muttering intelligible stuff to herself. She was clearly in awful shape. A little girl was sitting next to her on the floor, face streaked with tears, clearly devastated at how her mother’s condition seemed to deteriorate by the minute.
“Mummy, please don’t die. Mummy, please don’t die. I beg you, please don’t die,” she said repeatedly to her mother, who was oblivious to these vain pleas.
The sheer helplessness on the little girl’s face, coupled with the evident high fever and the deplorable surroundings, was too much for Jennifer to bear. Hand over her mouth, tears streamed down her face as she beheld the heart-rending sight before her.
“Evelyn, this lady is here to help us,” the boy said to his sister. “She’s taking Mummy to the hospital.”
Evelyn looked up to Jennifer as she went over to lift their mother up. “Please don’t let our mummy die. Please,” she pleaded, pity in her eyes.
“I won’t, sweetie. That’s why I’m here,” Jennifer assured her. Within a few minutes, she had the two children and their mother in the car, off to the hospital.
Arriving at an exclusive private hospital, where the terribly sick lady would have the care and attention she needed, Jennifer informed the nurses of her condition, and they duly had her rushed to the emergency room, as her case was an extremely serious one. “Will she make it?” she asked one of the nurses nervously.
The nurse turned to her, a sympathetic look on her face. “Young lady, it’s a very good thing you brought her now. We’re going to do what we can, but I can’t assure you she’ll survive. She might go into a coma, or even worse, not make it. All you can do right now is pray.”
So she and the little ones waited anxiously in the reception. The two children continued to cry, still aware their mother might not make it.
“God, please don’t let our mummy die. Our daddy is already dead, and nobody will take care of us if she dies. Please, God, don’t her die,” they said mournfully, clinging to Jennifer.
Jennifer rarely cried, but with all that had gone on that day, her tear glands were in overdrive, and despite shedding so many tears earlier, the trepidation of the young ones at becoming helpless orphans was enough to provoke a fresh batch.
“Don’t cry, dearies. God won’t let her die,” she said to them, holding them tight in an embrace. Tears still coming out of her eyes, she looked up to the heavens, and said a silent prayer…
Jesus, save their mother! Please, save their mother…
Let’s see what happens in part 2…