Few days after Wendy had gone to see her friend, Matilda, in her Fajara flat, She was at a friend’s house to discuss her new friend form Nigeria with the lady whom she had brought other clients for from across the West African States in time past.
She used the doorbell upon her arrival at the compound adorned with different ornaments. She hit her big toe against the urn at the door step in front of the small garden that leads to the narrow entrance covered with a canopy of almond tree. She cursed under her breath as she looked downwards and saw her bleeding toe.
Wendy: “which kain bad market be this on an early Monday morning?” she soliloquised and breathed exhaling the air in form if whistle, as Mariama reached for the door.
Mariama: “Eh, Wendy! Naka Subba si? (How is the morning?)” The six feet and few inches tall chocolate skinned curvy single mother of two greeted. “Oh, you hurt your toe? Come on in. you are welcome” she ushered Wendy into her neatly arranged living room adjacent the British Medical Research Centre. “Have your seat my dear” she offered her a seat pointing to the expensive leather cushioned sofa in the large room.
Wendy: “Subba sangi fi, jërëjëf (the morning is fine, thank you). But can I get something to clean this mess first, so, I won’t stain your flawless floor?” She said and chuckled.
Mariama: “of course!” she entered the small room opposite the kitchen and brought out a boxed shaped first aid box. “I am sorry my dear” she said apologetically as she squatted beside Wendy to dress her minor wound.
Wendy: “Have you enrolled in a nursing school or what?” she asked sarcastically after seeing the medical kit.
Mariama: “I would have done that shit if I could withstand the sight of blood” she replied and they both laughed.
Wendy: ”You know I am just wondering why you have all these at home” she said, pointing at the dressing implements on scattered on the floor.
Mariama: “what do you expect from a mother of two big rough and playful boys? That is by the way. How did you get your toe hurt?”
Wendy: “I hit it against your big earthen flower pot at the door step”
Mariama: “oh, you mean the urn?”
Wendy: “whatever you people call it. It almost killed me this morning, and it is my left toe again”
Mariama: “It seems I will have to change the location of that urn, it has injured quite of a number of people there in recent times” she said as she stood up to return the first aid box”.
Wendy: “hmmm, this woman dey enjoy o. this room was not like this the last time I came here o” she whispered to herself as she surveyed the room, watching form the gold chandelier dangling in the ceiling to the comfort of the sofa she sat on complemented with a well furnished dining room.
Mariama: “okay, take some pills to kill any pain that might crop up later” she handed her a glass of water with two tablets of analgesic.
Wendy: “thanks Mariama” she appreciated her, as she stretched forth her well manicured fingers, and swallowed the pills, flushing it down with a glass of water.
Mariama: “so, you are welcome. How may I help you this early morning of a new week” she asked, clasping her hands together.
Wendy: “yeah, now back to business” she said, sitting on the edge of the sofa. “Can you remember that friend of mine whom I told you was coming to the Gambia few months back?” She asked, pointing her finger backwards as though the person in question was right behind her.
Mariama: “yes, I can remember”
Wendy: “good, she is now in town. She arrived during my last trip to Dakar. I decided not to bring her to you. I felt I should discuss with you so, we can conclude on what to do. You know I can’t just barge into your house with a total stranger without informing you first. So, that is why I am here this early morning, before you go out.
Mariama: “hmmmm, okay. No problem, I will hook you up with someone, so, she can get fixed with a client. That is not a problem at all. I confide in you, so, I believe you won’t bring some incompetent fellow for me. You know Aishat right?’
Mariama: “Perfect! I will give you directives, so you can link up with her” she said as she scrolled through her phone.
Wendy: “that is why I love you Mariama. You are such a darling!” she said, hugging her so tightly, sniffing her nose on her nice embroidered kaftan. “You will give me your perfume, I love the fragrance of this one. It seems to smell nicer than the former one you gave me”. She said, as she released her from loosely grip.
Mariama: “I got this from a friend in my last trip to Taiwan, so, I am not giving you this this time around. It is a souvenir” she said, and the two laughed.
The doctor in his white lab coat came out to see Aminata’s mother alongside a nurse with a file containing the medical details of the sick in hand.
Doctor: “good morning. You are Aminata’s mother if I am correct?” the middle aged doctor asked the poor woman, with his hands tucked in his lab suit pockets.
Aminata’s mother: “yes, I am, Doctor”. She replied nodding her head forward.
Doctor: “fine. I am Doctor Turner. Your daughter is doing fine, but…can we see in my office please?” He said, and the woman who was chanting some Quran recitations with a long praying bead in her hand, leaped out of the bench and followed the doctor behind.
Doctor Turner: “Okay, you can have your seat madam” he offered her a seat across his table. “Your daughter will only be treated promptly if only you can deposit the sum of Ten thousand Dalasi. There is a poisonous substance in her blood stream which has to be flushed away and without the money, I am sorry, there is little we can do.
Aminata’s mother: Ha!” She exclaimed putting her two hands on her head, dropping off her prayer bead on the floor. She began to sweat even though the standing fan was rightly blowing in her direction. “Where do I get that amount from? This girl used to be the one feeding all of us, until she fell ill few weeks ago. Her father died long time ago. Doctor, please help me. I don’t have anybody to run to, please” she pleaded with the doctor, but all her pleas fell on deaf ears.
Doctor: “I am sorry, I wish I could help, but there is nothing I can do.
Matilda was in the bathroom, when her phone rang. She ran out of the bath tub like someone being pursued by a hungry wolf.
Matilda: “who could that be?” she asked as she wiped the soap lather on her face to have a clearer view of the caller on the phone. “Yes, Mercy, how far? Whetin happen?”
Mercy :”Sister, mama don start again o”
Matilda: “Whetin do mama? How many times will I tell you to ignore her whenever she starts her wahala again, and what have you done to her this time around?”
Mercy: “sister, no be that one o. her sickness don start, na papa Philo help us carry her go hospital last night when her crisis start again”
Matilda’s mood swung abruptly like a pendulum swinging on its stand. She leaned against the white painted wall in her room, lifting her left leg against the wall, her head tilted up. She was lost in thought for a few seconds.
Mercy: “Sister, you no talk? She spoke into the receiver, when she discovered there was no response from the other end.
Matilda: “yes, yes, Mercy. I will call you back later. Soap dey my body, I dey bathroom when you call” she replied, and hung the call. “hmmmmm, God why us? Why nah? Why is our case different from others? We are always moving from fry pan to fire. What have we done to warrant all these?” she soliloquised, facing her palms up.
She freshened up and called her sister back few minutes afterwards.
Matilda: “Mercy, how nah? How mama now?
Mercy: “na still the same o. She never regain consciousness since last night wey we bring her come here.
Matilda: “hmmmm, na wa o. how we go do am now?
Mercy: “I no know o. she dey life support machine now. Na oxygen she take dey breathe, sister.
Matilda: “as usual.
Mercy: “we need money for her treatment.
Matilda: “see Mercy, I understand, but you sef know sey e never tey whey I reach this country, I never start to dey work. Na Wendy, still dey give me money whey I take dey chop. She still dey find job for me. You know whetin you go do now, go borrow the money, I go pay as soon as I get a job. Biko, go borrow am from anybody. I go pay una back”
Mercy: “sister, na you dey talk like this, whey I wan see money borrow. And you dey talk like say u no know how you leave Nigeria. You no sey dem don commot fuel subsidy and everything cost, besides everybody dey manage, people no wan borrow anybody money now. So where I wan see money borrow.
Matilda: “Go meet that woman wey dey collect esusu, for the next compound. Tell her sey I go pay next week.
Mercy: “hmmm, I go try sha”
Matilda: “okay, I will call you later to know how far. Bye.
Question: “How will Matilda pay her mother’s hospital bill? And will Aminata’s survive this?
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