Compassion! #3 – Concern

It was about 6:00 am when Jennifer stirred. Lifting herself from the bench in the reception, she felt a bit stiff in some part of her body. She stared around. Nurses bustling around, busy as ever. A few patients seated around her, waiting to see the doctor on duty.

She yawned and shook her head. Oh yeah, she had left the kids with their mother in the ward. The nurse who had spoken to her had been sweet enough to accommodate them, so that was a good thing.

What a relief it was to have them there. She had certainly been used as a vessel to deliver them from a tragedy that almost nobody would probably care about.

As she rose up, she thought about the family in there.

Clearly, that lady had no help coming in from anywhere. Per what Joseph had said, she had been dismissed as a witch and left to her fate. The slum she found them in was utterly pathetic. And the children were an absolute mess, as far as their clothes and bodily appearance was concerned.

They needed help. Badly. It was not enough to just see that Maame Akua got better physically; her standard of living needed an urgent and immediate cure.

And as she stood there, an idea had just been deposited into her mind. A major idea that would most definitely change those needy lives for the better.

Jennifer decided to step out of the hospital for a moment, to get something to eat. While at it, she would get some food for Maame Akua and the kids as well.

And with the idea being planted in her head, she also felt it would be a good time to have a little chat with God about it. You know, seek a little confirmation before going ahead with it…

 ***

Maame Akua and her kids woke up to meet Jennifer with Hausa koko and chibom (bread and fried eggs), laid out and waiting to be consumed. The mother was beside herself with joy as she and her children ate. “I don’t remember the last time we ate and felt satisfied,” she remarked as she finished off her bowl of koko. “It’s been a hard time for us since my husband died a few years ago. I don’t have a job, we struggle every day to get proper food to eat, Kwaku and Akua are no longer in school because there’s no money to pay their fees, I’ve had to sell almost all my clothes just to help us survive… my dear, life is hard, and if it wasn’t for these two, I don’t know if I’ll find life worth living.”

Jennifer listened with absolute empathy. Exactly as she had expected. What she had heard was a total contrast to her life, which was pretty comfortable, her parents having more than enough money to cater for her and her two brothers, although she was no longer staying with them. This family was definitely on its last leg, and with nobody else moved to help, it would only be a matter of time until they went into extinction.

 Jennifer briefly closed her eyes and bowed her head. Alright, dear Lord, this is it, then. I’ll do it!

“Ma, after all you’ve said,” she started as she lifted her head up and looked straight at Maame Akua, “it won’t be fair of me to just leave you and the children after you’re fully fit. In view of that, I’ve decided to take care of you and your children.”

Maame Akua’s eyes widened. “Are you serious?”

Jennifer nodded. “Ma, I mean every word. I thought and prayed about it as I went to buy this food, and I know it’s what God expects of me. So don’t worry, I will take care of what you’ll eat, I’ll help you, Kwaku and Kessewaa get some new clothes, I’ll try and get them enrolled in a new school… look, whatever it is, I’ll do it. With the money I have, it’s going to be absolutely no problem taking care of you and your family.” 

Maame Akua looked like she was ready to burst into tears. “Oh, Jennifer, how can I thank you for this? I just don’t know what to say…” She trailed off, tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Oh, Ma, don’t thank me. Thank God that He brought me your way, and that I’m ever ready to do what He wants me to,” Jennifer insisted, giving her a hug. “As far as I’m concerned, once I’m in that position to help you, it would be foolish of me not to do it. Don’t worry one bit, Maame. Just give all the glory to God.”

Wiping away the tears from her eyes with her cloth, she simply murmured words of thankfulness. From facing a bleak and hopeless future to encountering this Good Samaritan, there couldn’t be more to possibly be thankful for. The kids looked excited at the prospect of getting an upgrade in their lives. No doubt, they were tired of staying in the slums with nothing to eat and nothing proper to wear.

Just then, as a janitor stepped into the ward to clean the washroom, Jennifer noticed it was almost eight o’clock. She hadn’t stepped in her house since she had left for the meeting. She had to go and change, and besides, there was another meeting to attend to later on in the afternoon.

“Oh wow. Time dey move fast papa! Ma, please, I need to get going. I have to attend to some things back home,” she explained. “So I’ll be back later on in the afternoon to sort some things out.”

Still wiping away her tears, she nodded. “No problem, my dear. I’ll be waiting.”

“Alright. Joseph! Evelyn! I’m going home. I’ll be back soon, okay?”

“Okayyy!” they replied.

Evelyn held out her arms for a hug. Jennifer grinned and walked over to embrace the little girl, who gave her a kiss on the cheek and whispered, “I love you, Jennifer.”

Quite an effect those words had on Jennifer as she exited the hospital and headed for her car. They were stuck in her head as she drove back home. It filled her with a warmth that was so satisfying and fulfilling. Those words of affection coming from a little girl who had been hours away from being an orphan had lifted her spirit, and nothing but feelings of gratitude and pleasure flowed from her heart as she drove on. A little tear of joy stood in her eye as she continued to think about it.  

At a traffic light, she briefly shut her eyes and whispered in her heart, Lord, in so many ways, I feel it was You uttering those words through that precious little child…

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