Kamla and her fiancé were able to stop the bleeding, and suture the leaking bladder, but Adaku was still unconscious, her blood pressure had gone so low that she had slipped into coma. They did a blood transfusion for her, but still she did not wake.
Madam Biliki: “Kamla, is she going to ever wake?”
Kamla: “I don’t know mother, we have done everything to the boundaries of science, it is now in the hands of God” she said soberly. Adaku had withstood so much pain in her life, that at the first sign of trauma her brain had shut down, she was as good as dead. She was put on life support, with hopes for a miracle. Madam Biliki began to cry, she couldn’t believe that they would lose her as soon as they had gotten her back. She would live with the guilt that she didn’t do anything for the girl when she first met her, forever.
They say people who are in coma are half way between this life and the next life, wherever that is, that was where Adaku was. She was eager to join her parents at the other side, she was tired of fighting, she was tired of the pains, and she just wanted to leave the world that had caused her so much pain. She had come to Lagos thinking, life was a bed of roses here, but she had been shocked by the many dangers that one could fall into, in Lagos. Now, there was no place she wanted to be more, than where her late mother was.
Where she was, was a white and black space, it lacked color and she had no sense of time while here. She just knew she had to keep moving forward. She could see a bright light afar off, and didn’t her teacher in the school at Igbundu say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel? So she kept walking towards the light, when she thought it was still afar off, she broke into a run. She knew for sure that the light would take her to her mother.
Then, as if her thoughts had conjured her mother, she saw her standing in her path;
Adaku: “Mother, I thought that light afar off is where you are, am I dead already?”
Udoka: “No my child, you are not dead. I am sorry for all that you have been through; my heart bleeds for your pain. But the pain is over, are you going to give up, now that your dreams are about to come through?”
Adaku: “Mother, I cannot anymore. I am battered and weak, I have lost hope in life and I just want to come with you, I have missed you mother” she made to embrace her mother, but the latter shifted away.
Udoka: “The dead has nothing to do with the living, you need to go back, because there is so much you have to accomplish. You made a promise to me, and a promise is a debt. Go back now” she replied and turned her in the other direction.
Udoka: “Don’t look back, go back and do exploits” she said.
Raja sat with his daughter, Kamla, in Adaku’s room, they were both looking at Adaku, and willing her to wake up from coma. This was Kamla’s first procedure in Nigeria, and she wanted it to be successful. If Adaku died, it would dampen the work she was trying to do here in Nigeria. She had helped people in London and the whole of Britain, now it was time to help her own homeland. There were agitations for Independence, and it was time to build the country after the colonial masters had gone, health was her niche and she wanted to do well. VVF was prevalent in the north of the country, if Adaku’s case was successful, it would be a sounding board for greater works.
Raja was battling with his own guilt, Adaku had suffered in the hands of a man like him, he could easily have been her tormentor, after all, he had wanted to rape her too, but for the timely intervention of his conscience. Adaku was his way to redemption, if she lived, he was going to help her rebuild her life, and by that way he would have done penance for all the women he had raped in the past. He prayed to Krishna, to help Adaku wake up from coma.
Raja and his daughter, Kamla were not the only ones waiting for news about Adaku. The world was waiting, Kamla was known in the field of urinology, she had helped women with VVF outside Nigeria, but this was her first case in Nigeria, and it was publicized. The World Health Organization was looking for someone to help them fight VVF in Nigeria and they found a ready partner in Kamla. If Adaku’s case was successful, it would be a big improvement and a sign of hope for women with VVF.
Like God heard the prayers of all involved, Adaku opened her eyes, Kamla was the first who saw her.
Kamla: “Adaku?” she said in British English, pronouncing Adaku as A-dai-ku. She got off her seat abruptly and held Adaku’s hand, she rang the bed by her bedside, and her team of doctors and nurses including her fiancé came into the room. They had shock on their faces because they had already given up on Adaku.
Raja: “We are so glad to see that you are back” he said and tickled her cheek. Adaku looked round the room, and saw that everyone had tears in their eyes. She also had tears in her eyes, she saw love on their faces, she looked to Raja and saw the love on his face, and she knew then that her life was worth living.
Adaku stayed in the hospital for weeks for all her stitches to heal, she was visited by so many white people that she couldn’t keep track of their names, some bare Wilson, some were called Churchill, she couldn’t even pronounce most of their names. They all had words of encouragement for her. She was made to see a psychiatrist while on recuperation. For the first time, Adaku had someone to bare all her pains to, without being ashamed. The psychiatrist was a white man, not more than twenty five years of age, he had the kindest eyes she ever saw, and his smile reminded her of a love lost some time ago in Ogwashi-Uku. Her psychiatrist reminded her of Chike.
Adaku: “Oh Chike, I hope you are well, and that life is treating you fairly” she thought within, as a teardrop, escaped her eye lid.
Psychiatrist: “Tell me what you are feeling, right now” he said, seeing her trying to hold back tears.
Adaku: “A boy I loved, but couldn’t have because I was damaged, I still am” she replied.
For months, Adaku was taken through different psychological exercises by her psychiatrist, till she began to see worth in herself. She began to believe that she was worth as much as a boy child, she was not useless if she couldn’t have children, and that there was more to her life than her reproductive system.
When Adaku was emotionally strong enough, the World Health Organization approached her, they wanted to take her under their wing, and make her a WHO ambassador for Vesico Vagina Fistula and Women Health. The job came with free education in United Kingdom to any level of education. She was travel in one month.
But before then, Adaku, sponsored by WHO, went on tours to the rural communities in the northern parts of Nigeria where VVF was prevalent. She began to speak to the women there, telling them her story and how she survived. She also preached against child marriages, rape and violent crimes against women. She also went to Ogwashi-Uku, where she met with the women, and preached awareness about VVF.
Adaku: “If a woman wets the bed, it is not because she is cursed by the gods or anything supernatural, neither is it a behavioral habit, but she might be suffering from VVF. I was wet and now I am dry” she told the women that gathered. The WHO officials went with her on these tours with her, even Kamla and her medical team was with her. SO, they checked as many women that agreed to be checked, and also educated the women about safe child birthing practices.
Chioma was surprised to see Adaku in this light, someone who had been pitiable, and no more than a slave in her father’s house, was now having people at her beck and call. They gave her water, and they asked her if she was alright, they even mopped her fore head if she perspired.
Chioma: “That place she went to, must have been good” she said as she looked at Adaku from head to toe, she didn’t smell, as she used to, but wore a crisp midi gown and had her hair in a neat sade braid. She even smelled like flowers. She looked and saw her mother talking to Adaku.
Senior wife: “My child, I am happy for you, God has blessed you, you are an extraordinary child, your mother must be dancing in her grave” She also told Adaku of Ejike and how he has changed, but was in prison for life, with ten years compulsory service.
Adaku: “What about Chike” she asked shyly.
Senior wife: “He left the village and no one has heard from him, I pity him, everyone blamed him for his father’s death” she replied. Adaku felt sad after the senior wife left her, she went to a corner and wept.
Adaku: “I am sorry Chike for causing you so much pain. It was not my intention to love you, I forced my heart not to love you, but if you love me, then you know that no one can tell the heart what to do. I am sorry that my love brought you nothing but pain. But I hope that wherever you are, life is treating you fairly” she wept. Then she felt a hand on her shoulder.
Question: What has become of Chike?
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