I love food and I can act funny sometimes when it comes to food. I can share anything with you or give you anything but sometimes, I find it hard to share food (I know its wrong and am trying to be a better person *wink*). Why am I telling you this? Well, let me say it is important for you to know to understand the context of this story.
So, because of my love for food, I decided to buy myself breakfast. I happily went to a mallam’s kiosk to buy breakfast of bread, fried egg and tea but the service I got from the mallam was annoying. I ask him how much fried egg would cost with half a loaf of bread and he looks at me like am supposed to know and begins to shout in a language I do not understand. So I collected the food and without saying a thank you, stormed off towards my work place. Well, I was still going to enjoy my meal…its food. Lol.
On my way back to work, with the hot nylon of food in my hand, I happened to sight a woman by the roadside. This is not the first time though. Every day, on my way to work, I always see this woman along the road seated under a tree. She was a very tall lady. There is this particular way she does her things…with grace. It was quite amusing to me. The way she meticulously guards herself with sacks of dried leaves and heaped “ghana must go bags” or the way she gracefully roams the streets, hands crossed, staring at the floor as if to find something there. I always see her. Every day. They told me she was “crazy” but I like to think not…probably “away with the fairies” for the time.
Well, this time I saw her, something crossed my mind.
A day before, I was at my friends place when I secretly read an article she wrote about lending a helping hand to people (she still doesn’t know). She wrote something that got me thinking “help others help ourselves”. Erm…what does that mean?
On this particular day, I decided to do the one thing my friend wrote about that I did not particularly understand – Help others help myself. But, I don’t know why my eyes and heart betrayed me and looked at the nylon in my hands. Hold up! You want me to give her my food? But…but…I can give her some money. I would quickly go into the office and get the money to give her…or maybe on my way home, I would stop by and give her the money (but I know myself well enough, I would forget).
Hmmm…so I decided to just get on with it. I knew what I was supposed to do. Give the beautiful lady my food (Yeah, I also forgot to mention she was beautiful too). With mixed emotions, being afraid, happy and sad at the same time (remember what I said earlier), I walked back towards her spot. I began to worry and different scenarios came to my mind. What would happen? Would she create a scene when I approach her? Would she scream, claw at me? My mind went too far. It began to picture the gory images I see on the TV screen. I was actually scared, literally shaking. So I just whispered a prayer to God “Dear Father, this woman is your child, please help her” and then, I added “Lord, please let her accept this meal peacefully and not create a scene. Please do not let her not waste this food. I pray she would be so hungry that she has no option than to eat this meal”. (Yeah…I just I had to add that).
So with shaky legs and sweaty palms, I walked towards the woman usual spot. And then I walked past where she was seated and walked back again, past her, and back again (I did that twice, am sure the traders on the roadside and the woman thought I might have gone awol).
The woman just stared at me like I was crazy and continued reading her book out loud. Erm…pause. She could read?! Interesting. I finally stopped in front of her, cleared my throat and greeted her. She looked at me and rolled her eyes as if to say “Oooo, this people have come again to disturb me. What do you want? Why can’t they just leave me alone?”
She turned away and continued her reading out loud. So I smiled and said “Good morning Ma, I brought you something”. That got her quite. She looked at me for a long time and said “No, thank you”. I wanted to walk away before the gory images in my mind becomes a reality. But then again, my feet betrayed me. I looked at her, my heart racing and said “Ma, I bought bread, egg and tea for you. Please have it”. She looked at me again and said thank you.
This time around, I forced my feet to walk away but it turned back. I dropped the food beside her and prayed to God that she eats the meal so my money would not be a waste. Let me also add that minus the fact that I am still learning how to share, I also squeezed out of my transport fare to buy that breakfast. I now understand why my aunt always flogged me silly when I came back home from school with my lunch box completely not empty. She would say, with a slap on my head and pulling my ears “After waking up early to prepare your food before the school bus arrives, you think you can waste my time and energy?”
I headed back to the office and turned back to look at the woman…and the nylon beside her. It was still there, where I had left it. Untouched. I was feeling so sad. Mission not accomplished! I was about to enter the gate when my head betrayed me and turned back again.
But this time around, as I turned to look at this fairy woman, I did not see the nylon again. Rather, I saw a woman so engrossed in the contents of the nylon…smiling to herself.
So what did my friend really mean when she said “Help others help ourselves”?
Well, here is what I think:
I am not okay if you are not okay
I cannot laugh except you are laughing
I cannot be happy except you are happy
And I would try my best, in the little way that I can
To light up your face
To put a smile on someones face
Everyday, I would try
Because I can only smile, when you smile.
Hey! Don’t you think the world would be a little bit better if each person can try, everyday, to put a smile on someones face? I am trying and I hope you would too. Go out there and make someone smile today.
Don’t forget to share your stories in the comment or send me a mail -firstname.lastname@example.org Looking forward to hearing from you. Till next time…Adios!