Project-Help-a-Child Team paid a compassionate visit to the distressed woman with 2 kids, I met at Awolowo Way, Ikeja, last week.
Beloved, My name is Azemobor Gregory, you would recall, that last week, I shared with you my encounter with a distressed woman, who was shouting for help along Awolowo way, Ikeja and how I felt ‘moved’ to help her and the kids. I did promise that The Project-Help-a-Child team would pay her a visit this week. True to my promise, we visited her yesterday (25th, june 2016) at Ajegunle-owode axis of Lagos-a water logged, slum settlement peopled by the poorest of the poor. Ajegunle-owode is located off, the ever busy Ikorodu Rd, on your way to Ikorodu town.
On getting to Ajegunle-owode, at about 12. 30pm , our first place of call was Mrs Okenwa shop, her neighbor and benefactor, who called me last week, to say she knew her When we got there, the hapless woman-Mrs Nkiruka Okereke was already sitted in Mrs Okenwa’s shop, waiting to receive us. Immediately she saw us, a bright smile came up on her face, as if to say ‘ you are truly here, what a pleasant surprise’.
Mrs Okenwa gave a vivid account of how she had been of tremendous assistant to Nkiruka, in her own little way, while praying that God would one day send helpers her way. She said “when Nkiruka came with a phone number last week, and told me she met a man in Ikeja, who promised to help her, I did not believe . But after so much pressure from her, I reluctantly called you sir. Even after calling you, I was still doubtful about the promise. But your coming here today with your team, has completely removed every trace of doubt I had. God will bless you people for sparing a thought for the poor and neglected people like Nkiruka. Sir, I know the way she looks; you would think she is probably not mentally sound. Her present state is as a result of the bitter experience she had, when she gave birth to her last baby. The man that impregnated her ran away when she was in labour. She was delivered through a caesarean operation. There was no money to pay the hospital bill of about N200,000. The hospital- Ikorodu General Hospital detained her. After spending about two months in the hospital, and they saw that nobody came forward to pay the bill they were ‘forced’ to let her go”
Speaking further, she said “ Before Nkiruka gave birth, she used to sell moi-moi ( beans pudding). But, the operation, she had depleted all her savings and business capital and she was also psychologically traumatized by the experience. Sir, she had nobody to help her. Even her few family members in Lagos do not care about her either. Please! anything you could do for her and the kids, would be kindly appreciated. The little baby is really malnourished. Right from birth, She could not even breast feed the baby because of her condition. The day they came back from the hospital, she was even smelling, because the wounds she sustained during the operation, had not completely healed. The little baby- Emmanuel is now about one year old. But do you know that he cannot even crawl or walk because of the acute malnourishment? Please sir, help her…………..”
I had to interject, when her plea for help was becoming too much. “Madam we came here on our own. So please ma, don’t worry, we would help her. We are here to give them hope and wipe away their tears of anguish. The day I saw her in Ikeja, I was moved by compassion towards her plight, even though many people that passed by, ignored her. I believe God sent us here, to provide succor for her and the kids. By the grace of God our organization will give her some money to start a petty business, and get kind-hearted people to sponsor the two kids. We are committed to give her a new lease of life. Her life will turn around for the better”, I reassured.
It was now the turn of Mrs Nkiruka to speak.“ Brother, since that day you saw me in Ikeja, I now feel very confident that an end has come to my suffering. It seemed God had hearkened to my cry for help. I was really confused about my predicament. There was a night I contemplated drinking poison, so that I could just die and leave this life of pain, but when I considered my children, I changed my mind. Brother, I am not a beggar, but at times when I do not have food to feed my children, their cry for food would drive me outside to beg for survival. I am not lazy brother, before I gave birth to Emmanuel (the little baby), there is no trade that I have not done. I have sold moi-moi, cooked rice, banana, ground nut, pumpkin leaf etc,. I was even the one feeding the useless man that impregnated me. He promised to marry me after the birth of the child. But during the time I was about to give birth, and he was told to go and bring N200,000 for the operation, he ran away. Up till now I have not set eyes on him. I don’t know any of his relations. He refused to take me to meet his family. He was working as a labourer with the company that constructed Ikorudu Rd. I met him when I went to sell moi-moi to them and he told me he would marry me. When the company finished the road construction, he became jobless, and I was the one who took care of him, until he ran away
Speaking amid tear of pain, she continued “It was the child’s birth and the operation that brought me down financially. If you give me any small amount of money to start my petty business again, I promised you, brother, I will not disappoint you………” she spoke on and on. We felt so much pity for her. She had really suffered. According to her, she lost her husband six year ago in her village in Ebonyi state. She had two kids for the man. One of the kids is with her in Lagos. Her name is Blessing. She is about nine years old. The little girl was in primary two, when they came to Lagos about two years ago. But now, she does not attend school any longer, because of their poor condition. The other child lives with her relative in the village.
From Mrs Okenwa’s shop, we had to proceed to Nkiruka’s ‘house’. The condition of the whole environment was really deplorable, it was a squalid settlement. Poverty was palpable. There were no drainages and the whole place was water logged. We were told by Mrs Okenwa that any time it rained, almost all the houses would be flooded by water and the streets would be impassible. As we worked along the streets, many residents peeped at us as if we were some ‘aliens’ from the outer space. Our presence lighted up the aura of gloom in the community. Almost everybody came out of their houses staring at us with admiration. We were regarded like some ‘Nollywood celebrities’. Many who read the inscriptions on our T-shirts looked at us with inviting countenance as if ‘ you people should also come and help our children too’.
As we distributed our flyers, one Pastor Robinson accosted us. Mrs. Okenwa had told him about our mission. He walked up to us and spoke with a passionate plea “sir, I am Pastor Robinson, I am the chairman of the Parent-Teachers Association of the only primary school in this community- Saint Anglican Primary school. Please we would like Project-Help-a- Child Team to visit the school, as many of the parents cannot pay their children’s fee; buy books and school uniforms. The level of poverty in this community is monstrous! The government has abandoned us. We believe it is only humanitarian organizations like you that could come to our rescue” we however interacted with him briefly, took his contact details and promised to get back to him. And indeed, we would truly visit the school some times in the future, to provide some support to the indigent pupils.
Finally, after navigating through the bad roads, flooded with water, we got to the squalor where Mrs Ikuruka and the kids live. The house looked like a place that is constantly water-logged, as the wall seemed soaked with water. The stench emanating from the surrounding environment was abhorring. As we entered her one-room apartment, Her 2 kids were lying helplessly on the tattered mattress, which was the only ‘precious’ property in the room. At this point, I and the team could not hold back the outburst of emotions, as we were confronted with a grim dehumanizing condition this woman and her kids live in. I could not restrain the tears of compassion streaming down my cheeks. I reached out for my handkerchief, to clean off the tears. We all felt dispirited at the heart-rending condition of the poor family.
The way the children slept in an awkward manner, on the tattered mattress showed that, they probably, had not eaten for many days. The room was so dirty that you do not need any doctor to tell you that the place was disease- infested. It was a nauseating experience! Why we were discussing with her, all that was going through my head was ‘how could these people be allowed by society to live in such a dehumanizing condition?’ The more I thought about their plight, the more emotional I became. In the midst of my emotional outburst, I managed to utter some reassuring consolations “ look, madam, don’t worry. All your problems are over now. We would get you a new apartment and also get sponsors for these kids. Do you hear me?”. As I looked in her direction, our eyes crossed, and I saw a ray of hope flickered through the wry smile on her face, and then I felt better, believing that God who sent us to her, would make all thing available to lift Nkiruka and her hapless kids out of poverty forever! Finally, we departed from Nkiruka’s place at about 2.30 pm, after giving her some money for feeding, with a promise to get back to her next week, to give her some money to start a petty business.
Beloved, our visit to Mrs Nkiriku Okereke, stirred up our resolve to lift her and the 2 kids out of poverty. You too can join us to give her and the kids a new lease of life. From our assessment of her condition, she would need the following to give her a better life
1. A little capital to start a petty business
2. She would also need a new accommodation. The condition of the house where she presently lives with the kids is terribly unhealthy. The kids could contract diseases there!
3. The 2 kids need sponsors to take up the responsibility for their upkeep
4. She and the kids need new clothing
5. The little baby Emmanuel is seriously malnourished and would need proper feeding and medical care
Beloved, let us join hands together to save the lives of this hapless woman and the kids. We need kind-hearted-people to sponsor the children. Please don’t allow them to die. We also need donations for her to rent a new apartment, and a little capital for her to start a petty business. If God lays it in your heart to support her, please contact the Project-Help-a-Child Team on the following number: 08084701414, 08087656176 . No amount is too small. All donations could be made to:
Voice of Divine Truth International Outreach. Zenith bank..a/c 1014391610. God bless you richly as you save a life today!
Together, we can create a world were no child lives in lack!