The Nurse’s words echoed loudly in her head. Who could have been the good Samaritan that was kind enough to rescue her from dying. She couldn’t place it so she stopped bothering her mind, instead she gave a faint reply to the Nurse.
“I see” Kawthar replied and just then a rumble was heard from her stomach.
“What took you so long to reply and what’s that noise? You’re hungry right.” The nurse stated rather than ask.
“I don’t know if it’s hunger but I have not eaten since yesterday.” She replied.
“You’re funny, you haven’t taken anything since yesterday and you said you don’t know if it’s hunger. My friend your rumbling stomach needs food, the doctor said you can eat anytime you’re awake, what would you like to eat?” Asked the nurse
“Nothing.” Kawthar replied wryly.
“What do you mean nothing, you and I know that you’re hungry and food is what you need right now.” The nurse urged.
“I am hungry yes, but I don’t have money to pay for food.” She replied firmly and the nurse chuckled before speaking again.
“You don’t have to worry about that, the man who brought you here had already paid for everything, treatment and feeding inclusive and he promised to be back tomorrow to check on you, now what will you eat?”
“Rice and fried plaintain.” She replied sharply and the nurse called on one of the hospital assistants to get her the food.
The food arrived in no time and she dug on it hurriedly devouring it like a hungry Lion. While she was at it, the doctor came in with his team for the final ward round to call it a day. He did some examinations on her and put some things down on his writing pad.
“How are you feeling now?” The doctor asked.
“Much better” She replied
“That’s very good.” The Doctor responded and instructed one of the Nurses to give her some drugs.
She finished her food and heaved a sigh of relief. She was really much better now after eating. It wasn’t as if she was sick in the first place. It was hunger that took the better part of her. She went to the rest room afterwards and performed ablution to pray. After prayers she lied down on her bed and slept off.
Peaceful was the description of her sleep that night for it was long since she had a whole meal. The similitude of her sleep was that of a baby who sleeps like a log of wood after being well fed. The following morning, she woke up with so much energy and great enthusiasm. She said the morning Sallah and had her bathe after which she devoured another sumptuous meal. She reached out for her Quran after food and started reading. The Quran had always been her companion and she really felt a lighter chest after reading the word of Allah.
She was still reading when a gentleman walked in and greeted her, she looked up and replied while staring strangely at him. The latter noticed her countenance and quickly introduced himself.
“My name is Yasir, I brought you here two days ago.” He explained with a smile.
“Oh! You are the one. Thank you so much for your kindness, may Allah bless you and shower his mercy upon you. May you never know tribulations and may you……”
“Aameen” Yasir interrupted her with a smile and quickly added “How are you feeling now?” He asked.
“I am very better now in fact I have the strength to run a marathon.” She responded with humour and they both laughed.
“I am really glad to hear that, I can see that you’re much better. Excuse me for a moment, let me go see the Doctor. I’ll be right back.” He said and went out only to return with the good news that she’d been discharged and Kawthar immediately had a mood swing.
“The doctor said you can go home now, I don’t understand why you’re wearing a long face, if you’re still in pain tell me so that the Doctor can postpone your discharge.” He said firmly
“I am perfectly fine, it’s just that I have nowhere to go.” She replied dully
“How can that be, are you an orphan?”
“No I am not, my parents are alive and kicking.”
“Then why won’t you go home.” He asked impatiently obviously running late to catch an appointment.
“I am a disowned child banished from home.” She replied.
“Then you must be a disobedient child because for a parent to disown and banish a child from home, that child must have been really wayward.” Yasir submitted
“What an hasty conclusion!, Kawthar your life is pitiable.” She said shaking her head with teary eyes.
“Oh you’re crying? I am so sorry if my conclusion is irrational. Please tell me what the problem is exactly.”
“I don’t feel like telling you, a judgmental person like you won’t understand so why bother.” Kawthar replied coldly.
“Oh I am sorry, I won’t force you either. I have paid the medical bills, you can leave whenever you’re ready but make sure you don’t spend the night so that you won’t have to pay again.” He said and left.
Kawthar hissed lightly, took her small side bag and left the hospital also. Life continued for her as usual. Wandering the street aimlessly and doing some menial Jobs to survive. She tried going to some relatives of her father but they wouldn’t take her in, they told her they have the same stance as her father and wouldn’t take in a deviant. None of her mother’s relative were in Lagos so she was really helpless.
One day, while wandering around as usual, her eyes caught a poster on the wall. She moved closer to read the poster which arouses her interest. It was a particular school and orphanage looking for teachers and minders. It was stated clearly in the poster that minimum of NCE was required for the post of teachers while Minders should have school leaving certificate or grade two certificate. It was also stated in the poster that there is free accommodation for whoever is interested in living within the school and all applicants should submit their CV in the school Gmail address which was stated in the poster. The address of the school and orphanage was clearly stated as Magodo in Lagos and the date of the interview was clearly stated too. She tore the poster and tucked it in her pocket for reference purpose.
She was really interested in the minder job which would not only put her off the street but also empower her to save some money to further her education. She was engulfed by sadness the moment she remembered that her school leaving certificate and result was still at home and going home would be tantamount to going to the Lion’s den. She thought of what to do and couldn’t arrive at a solution. She needed the job badly and would do anything to get it even if it means daring her father this time around.
After much deliberation, she decided to seek her mother’s assistance. She went to a phoning booth to put a call across to her mother. The latter agreed to help her take the certificate and they also agreed to meet at a particular place. Her mother ran to embrace her upon sighting her and burst into tears.
“Oh my poor daughter, look at how lean and pale you look, why are you endangering your life by living in the street, why do you choose discomfort when you can have comfort at a platter of gold. Please denounce this fake religion and come home to your family.” Her mother pleaded.
“Mum you don’t have to worry about me, I’ll be fine. I shall overcome all the hurdles and come out successful, and talking about a fake religion. Mummy Islam is not a fake religion, In fact it is the only religion recognized in the sight of God, whoever meet Allah with any other religion, it wouldn’t be accepted from him and in the hereafter such person will be a looser. Mummy come to success and leave vanity.” Kawthar preached.
“Jehovah Jesus!! My poor daughter has really been brain washed, whoever did this to me will never live to reap the fruit of his labour, whoever….”
“Mummy stop cursing, whoever set my foot on the path of righteousness deserves prayers and not curse. Where is my certificate?” She said spreading her hand to collect it while her mother handed her the certificate and some money.
“Make sure you eat well, I’ll be expecting you home very soon after you might have denounced your faith.” Her mother said to her.
“That is not going to happen except daddy will accept me with my chosen path.
“You this stubborn girl, you won’t kill me someday.”
“No I won’t kill you. Mummy thanks for the money, it’s going to go a long way.” She said and made to leave when her mother called her back.
“Where are you sleeping?”
“Any where that the night meets me.” She replied firmly.
“You this girl, don’t you realize that you are a lady, you need protection under the roof of a house but you chose to sleep in the street in this present day where pedophiles abound waiting to consume young girls, rapists too are there talk more of so many harassments and molestations. Maybe you should go live with my mother in Ekiti.” Her mother suggested.
“Ekiti is not a bad idea, I want to go for a job interview next week, if I didn’t get the job then I’ll go to Grandmother in Ekiti, but don’t worry mummy, Allah is protecting me, I make sure I chant my adhkar morning and evening and Allah has been more than enough for me.” She said confidently.
“You and this your Allah, let Him keep protecting you o because I don’t want to mourn over you. He shouldn’t stop watching over you else your situation will be pathetic.
“Don’t worry, he is and you should also put your affairs in his hands as well.”
“Me! Never!! Jesu tofunmi [Jesus is enough for me], my dear let me run along now, my customers are waiting.” Her Mother said and both mother and daughter dispersed.
After receiving her certificate, she quickly went to a nearby café to submit her resume on in the gmail address provided on the poster. She did as instructed and prayed fervently that she’s been given the Job.
On the day of the interview, Kawthar located the address on the poster and found herself at the address as early as 6:45am. She met a gateman at the entrance who directed her to the reception. She thanked him and walked on the walkway while surveying the school. It was a very big school and also has an orphanage inside the compound. The school which shares the same name as the orphanage had its name written boldly on the roof of the buildings. Iwalewa Montessori school and orphanage was a beautiful sight to behold. The school and Orphanage must be a joint ownership because an individual cannot put a place as gigantic as this in place, Kawthar thought as she walked to the reception.
She met three other applicants at the reception and took her seat next to a lady who had been dozing off and was only awoken by Kawthar’s greetings.
“Don’t mind me, I had woken up as early as 4:30am just to be here early. I can’t afford to be dismissed because of coming late. Have you written your name?” The lady asked Kawthar.
“No I haven’t.” She replied.
“Hurry and write it please, see some people are coming in, don’t let them write their names before you. You’re the 4th person to arrive.” The lady urged while Kawthar quickly put down her name as number 4 on the attendance, she came back to her seat and thanked the young lady.
“Thank you so much, I really appreciate your kindness.” She thanked her.
“It’s nothing, punctuality is very important in a job interview because a first impression lasts longer. The interviewers will not only peruse your CV but they also want to know your attitude to work.” The lady explained again and quickly added “What’s your name?”
“Thank you so much, I am Kawthar.” Kawthar responded while the lady told her she was Amirah. Moments later they were told to get ready as the panel of interviewers were ready for them.
After the arrival of Kawthar, so many applicants arrived later and they all put down their names on the attendance sheet after which the first person on the list was called in. Kawthar’s heart pounded severally and she was almost shivering. She quickly said a fervent prayer and told Allah she needed the Job and the shelter so badly. The first interviewee was out after some minutes and Amirah being the second person on the list went in. She also came out after some minutes and Kawthar inquired about the interview.
“They said they would get back to me.” Amirah replied firmly.
“I thought it’s going to be an Automatic employment.” Kawthar said with a shaky voice.
“No, there’s no automatic employment anywhere, they have to sit and deliberate before picking those they want.” Amirah explained
“Don’t mind me, what do I know.” Kawthar said dully.
“Anyways let me be on my way, see you some other time and best of luck.” Amirah said with a smile.
“Thank you, I wish you best of luck too.” She replied and went back to her seat.
Not long after she was seated, the third interviewee came out and as the fourth person on the list, it was her turn and her heart ran another round of marathon. She stood up and walked in where she met seven Interviewers seated. She greeted them and one of them showed her to a seat. She sat and had her head bent without looking at any of them while one of them spoke first.
“We’ve seen your certificate, we’ve seen your o’level result. You have such a fine result, 7 distinctions and 2 B’s. With this excellent result, you’re supposed to obtain Jamb and go the University, what do you need a job for?” One of the interviewers asked and before Kawthar could reply, another interviewer spoke on her behalf and Kawthar was amazed.
“She needed an accommodation.” He said with certainty and Kawthar who had been fondling with her fingers all the while looked up and recognized the young man immediately. He was the one that took her to the hospital the other day and said his name was Yasir.
“Son do you know her?” The only woman in the panel asked Yasir.
“Yes, she’s an acquaintance, we met once though.” Yasir replied.
“Really? Her result is good but let’s see what she has for us.” The woman said again and she was being bombarded with questions upon questions. At last she was through and like they told Amirah, they also told her they would get back to her. She stood up from the hot seat and walked out of the room after accepting the T.fare the school offered her.
She was about walking out of the gate when she heard someone trailing her with “Excuse me, excuse me” She paused, looked back and saw Yasir coming towards her. She continued walking while the latter ran to block her in the front.
“Are you always stubborn like this?” Yasir asked panting heavily.
“What do you want?” She asked coldly.
“We met again.” He said.
“And so what?”
“You didn’t tell me your name that day and why you’re homeless.” He said again.
“Young man please don’t disturb my life, I can see you’re the son of the owner of this place so you’ve been living a comfortable life, why wouldn’t you be judgmental about other people’s shortcomings. You don’t know what it is to suffer do you?” Kawthar asked and hissed lightly.
“On the contrary young lady, I know what it is to suffer and I am really sensitive to other people’s plight, it’s just that I was in a hurry that day and I seemed to wake up from the wrong side of my bed. I am so sorry if I sounded insensitive” He pleaded.
“No problem, can I go now.” She asked impatiently
“Where will you be sleeping tonight?” He queried with concern.
“What a question! I have been sleeping somewhere before I met you so why the sudden inquisitiveness.
“I am asking you because I already told my mum about you and she has agreed to give you an automatic appointment, you can start sleeping here today if you want.”
“No, I don’t want an employment out of pity, I want to merit it and also want to be called back like others if at all you found me worthy of the job, and again what you said inside the other time was really annoying, you said I needed accommodation and I could smell some sarcasm in that statement. If I don’t get this job, I have an option of going to live with my Grandmother in Ekiti so Mr rich kid, my destiny is not in your hands.” She said and walked out on him without looking back.
Yasir stood still with mouth agape and was wondering where he’d gone wrong. He was only trying to help but this cheeky girl wouldn’t understand his good intention, what! What sort of human being is this? He thought aloud before going back to the panel in disappointment.