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Friday, February 22, 2019

SAVING MARY - LAGOS STILL GOT LOVE


Help me, help me, please help me… The voice was very faint and hardly audible…but those of us nearest to her heard it…my first thought was perhaps she was dreaming especially since her head has been bowed down like one in sleep since we began the journey...but when the plea continued, I took a closer look to understand the situation and at that instant our eyes locked and I recognized it.

A desperate cry for help! Middle aged, neatly dressed with eyes that spoke volume…another cry out and she passed out and the atmosphere changed…people were panicked….the driver was delirious screaming abeg oo…abeg ooo..Make nobody die for my motor ooo…make una carry am down ooo…He swerved to the nearest left turn, parked the car and started screaming on the expressway that someone wants to die in his vehicle. Calming him down as was later narrated to me is story for another day. Meanwhile inside the vehicle we were trying to wake up the woman that had fainted, the HSE trainings conducted at different times in my office came in very handy at that time.

Tapping her cheek, massaging her palms, loosening tight clothing, adjusting her head and leg positioning, asking the people around to give space for air and calling out to her (Madam was the only available name at that point) for what seemed to me like ages…about five minutes actually (and oh I was really scared for her!) until she finally woke up all bleary eyed and obviously still very weak (I feared she was going to pass out again).

The questioning began…what is happening to her….she was feeling very weak and had no strength…any medical condition that we should know?…she shook her head in the negative (A big relief for me as I have imagined all manner of critical health conditions that could be the case) …any family we can contact to help right now….my phone, my phone…where is your phone?...my bag, my bag…where is your bag?...she pointed under her seat…three bags emerged (women and bags!)…we searched all three bags and finally got her phone…but it was locked.

Meanwhile the screaming driver had managed to gather a sizeable crowd…we were surrounded by an army of people with very interesting opinions I must say, ice blocked water was thrown at us to use on her (till now I’m still wondering what we were to do with blocked bottle water), some shouted that we should pour water on her head, others wanted us to totally strip her naked and our driver and his colleagues just kept shouting that we should drag her out before she dies on us ( I don’t blame him. Who knows what experience he must have had in the past, plus the Nigeria police I know will never spare him if the woman died there. They could even go as far as indicting him for murder and pining the whole thing on his head just to be seen as efficient). My good friend and colleague Rachael who was with me in this encounter (and whose unshaken stance and support throughout the episode gave me the needed courage to do what had to be done) later narrated how the people that had gathered around us had “diagnosed” the woman with all manner of ailments, from Ebola, to Asthma, Cancer, to even  heartbreak (as per valentine period) and of course stress from the Buhari administration (In Naija  any and every thing wrong definitely has to be the fault of the ruling administration and his political party).

The struggle to unlock the phone or get her to give us a phone number we could contact with our phones was still on…she tried calling out a number but couldn’t pull through to the end of any phone number despite our 080…070…prodding. We managed to get her to say her phone password (At that point my hands were already shaking, trying to do fastest fingers with the numbers she was calling that we could barely hear plus seeing that she was almost passing out again...oh how my heart cried out to heaven for mercy and grace in those minutes) the sweet lady by my side saw my trembling hands then and collected the phone, I was able to read out the unlock code the sick woman was whispering while she (sweet lady) pressed and finally unlocked the phone (That day I learnt the disadvantage of phone security despite its numerous advantages).

We managed to reach her husband but he was far off…we couldn’t wait for him to get there because she urgently needed medical attention…after that phone conversation I made up my mind to take her to the hospital somehow…The driver kept yelling that we take her out of his vehicle…I stubbornly insisted that we would only move her if he got me a keke (tricycle) to take us to the hospital…he saw my determined look and we struck the deal…get me a keke and I get her off your vehicle. He did…we managed to move her to the keke and I and Rachael headed to the hospital with her. As we moved we prayed for the absence of traffic, we prayed she doesn’t die on us before we got her to the hospital (that one will mean serious police, family and even public wahala), we prayed for the hospital to have a doctor to attend to us and for the availability of needed hospital resources. I kept reassuring her she will be fine (and earnestly prayed she will be).

Yes we were able to get her to the hospital, waited for her husband to arrive, saw that she was being attended to by the doctor before we left. I want to specially salute you Mrs. Mary for your courage throughout the whole episode, your strength and courage made it easy for us to help you...your directing us to your HMO card when the hospital wanted to start making a fuss about your identity, family and payment was quite commendable. I pray that the good Lord will perfect your health and grant you healing, health and wholeness all your life
The major reason I am sharing this is because all these happened in a Lagos danfo bus. All of us were commuters coming from our various jobs…we didn’t know ourselves from anywhere but when it became a matter of saving a life we united and rendered help…Yes the same Lagos with all manner of atrocities trending. From one chance robberies to abductions/kidnaps, to ritual killings to yahoo boys and all sorts…In the midst of all the hustle and bustle due to busy lifestyles, the bad experiences people have had with law enforcement agencies, police injustice, jungle justice which has resulted in massive self centeredness across Lagos its quite refreshing to know people still care.

A very big shout out to the sweet lady who was with me in the bus as we tried to resuscitate Mrs Mary and contact her family, the gentle man who manned the door and warded off the driver from forcefully ejecting us from the bus and also assisted in moving the woman, the other woman who saw that my tiny frame could not support the sick woman alone to the keke and joined hands in moving her and all the other commuters who were there to support (plus the ones that disappeared immediately they sensed trouble…we totally understand….getting involved in things like this is very risky) and of course to you my girl of life Rachael A. the lady with best soul ever who guarded our bags while we were busy with Mrs. Mary to ensure Lagos sharp guys don’t rob us in the midst of the whole chaos and also went with me to hospital to get medical help. Thank you all for reassuring us that there are still people with human feelings and kindness in Lagos…that in the midst of all the trending atrocities, Lagos still got love.

Have you ever found yourself in similar situation where you needed public help or were required to help? Please share your experience in the comment section.

Yours in the hustle,

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