Right from the very moment when Habiba carried her son to NPTV –Nigerian Peoples’ Television station; she had already concluded within herself that any penny that came from that announcement would be distributed on other area of her life that needed attention.
It had been by sheer luck that she got that chance. On her third Sunday, at the General Hospital in Gidi, the woman whose baby’s stretcher was beside hers, advised that they both took the chances to request from the doctor on duty if their sick children could be given the chance to appeal to the well-meaning Nigerians to bail them out of their fate and give them another chance to live. Habiba hadn’t believe that anything could really have come from that, in fact she couldn’t believe that the fragile lanky doctor would put a call through immediately to the Director in charge of Gidi Television Station (GTS).
When the women got to the station, they saw many other mothers wishing to tell their tale and beg the public. Amazingly, Habiba was the only one chosen among all the women sitting outside, not even Mama Latifa, who had brought up the idea.
“Two minutes!” The beautiful lady that gave her the chance to make use of her programme had instructed before she faced the camera. And then she started.
“Please ooo. Doctor say my child have Cancer. Me and him papa, we don’t get money. We needs your help.”
“How much did the doctors demand?” The lady asked while she was speaking.
“They say na Three hundred thousand Naira dey want to use to heal him. All his body, if you too you touch it, na so so hot e just dey hot. Please, I am beg all Nigeria”
The hostess helped her complete the announcement, and read out Habiba’s account number, “Please help out if you can while you can.” Was the last words they said concerning her son’s matter. But when she went to check the account balance the following Friday, not one penny was added to the thirty kobo that was there.
Princess Bee, was the name of the lady that had given her the chance to use the few minutes out of her programme, and amazingly the beautiful young lady took the pain to come check her out at the general hospital.
“Madam, they don’t send anything ooo” She explained to Princess Bee, as she kept staring at her child on the bed, looking as sickly as possible, flies perching on his skinny body as he sucked a dry dirty bottle of milk.
“Okay, See. I have this friend that works in NPTV. If you don’t mind, I can link you up with the fiend and you can have your chance to reach out to more people there.” Princess had asked out of a kind heart, and when the skinny woman agreed, Princess put a call through to the friend, and they fixed the appointment for the following Tuesday, by Two o’ clock in the afternoon.
With great appreciation, Habiba collected the two N1000 notes from Princess, and promised to make the appointment as early as possible.
When Princess left, Habiba turned to her son and thought very angrily towards him, ‘What kind of luck do you even think you have sef? I have been everywhere because of your case, and all is yielding nothing. You want to kill me? See this small girl now. She cannot be as old as I am, yet she just came to give me N2,000, and neither you nor I have eaten good food since morning. Now, you just lie there doing nothing, while I keep spending everything I have on you. Foolish child!’
The two year old boy just kept staring blankly at his nagging mother, he had not learnt how to speak yet, and hadn’t even learnt how to give meanings to the sounds humans make. His body was frail, and unhealthy, his stomach bulged out like a kwashiorkored child and his spindly legs kept knocking constantly in the little cot he was placed in.
The following Tuesday, Habiba was driven to NPTV station in a car Princess sent with her driver, they alighted and was warmly welcomed by the big friend who looked just as healthy and chubby as Princess Bee.
Habiba looked at herself with disgust, she was putting on a dirty low quality Ankara blouse, over a very discoloured different Ankara wrapper. Making her look unkempt and as unhealthy as the child she carried.
“Welcome.” The lady said with a smile, pretending that the mother wasn’t looking as terrible as she felt. “Please, time would not allow me to give you more than two minutes.” She said with a big smile, like those on the faces of models.
“Thank you ma. May God reward you goodly.” Habiba made a complete analysis of what she would say, and Mabel Darku; the new hostess, helped her with some words that were compulsory for her to include in her plea. In few minutes, they were already on air.
“My son, the girl. . .em. . .sorry, the boy. She sick, get cancer. ..” She fidgeted on the national tv station, she sobbed as she speak, “I love him very well. Doctor say make we bring Four hundred Thousand Naira for treatment. Or he we die!”
Even Mabel Darku and the workers around shed tears as she spoke, especially when she said the words, ‘I love him very well’ which Mabel had told her to say.
She took more than five minutes analysing how the baby’s father ran away for lack of money, and how the cancer started altogether.
Before that Friday, there had only been a forty thousand naira deposit in Habaiba’s local savings account. When she checked on Friday, her mouth was aghast as she discovered that a total of Six Million Naira had been deposited.
She raced to the hospital, and kept staring at her little sick child, with mixed feeling. The baby yawned and stretched continuously on the bed, and flies kept perching his skinny body, making irritating buzzing sound. Habiba winced.
‘So, this is it ehn? You think you would share in this big thing too. Even if I am going to share it with you, it can never be on sickness. All the stress I went through, you did nothing with me. I kept carrying you from one hospital to the other, and you couldn’t even help out with anything there, except shedding tears incessantly, bringing me nothing but shame. Bastard child. Even if the doctors attempt to treat you now, can you ever survive this terrible sickness?’
Mama Latifa; Habiba’s ward mate, walked in and attended to her own crying daughter, she observed the way Habiba was staring repulsively at her son, and she spoke to her in an angered tone, “Iya Mujibu, When would you start loving this child of yours? You have gotten forty thousand naira already to pay up some f the hospital demands, now you have even been allowed to air your request, definitely, God and the boy’s ancestors are solidly behind you. The boy would bring you great fortune, I can see that. He is going to be a great child.”
Habiba scoffed, ‘Are you a seer?’, she thought before she said, “Great fortune, when we are still unable to raise the money for his treatment?”
“Heeh, it is only a matter of time, just wait aand see, I believe that your saon and my daughter would very soon, leave here healthy.”
Habiba scoffed even more in her heart, ‘Was it true? Could she attribute the new amount deposited in her account as a sign of one of the boy’s fortune or as a result of her rigorous work upon the boy’s life?’ she asked herself, ‘of course it was the latter. How can the boy claim responsibility for the money when she was the only one walking up and down, speaking on tv and adding the extra effect to cry.’ Habiba was getting irritated by the presence of Mama Latifa, she decided to get air outside to gather her thoughts about the money, but as she was about going, she burst into Princess Bee.
“We received only, Forty thousand Naira in all” She said with weepy eyes, and she turned constantly to Mama Latifa who was ignorantly supporting her with slow nods.
“I pray God would heal your son ma. I am very sure people would come to his rescue.”
“Amen” Both women chorused sadly.
Then Princes handed her an envelope of fifty thousand naira, “My humble contribution.” Because it felt odd not giving anything to the woman whose emotional contribution was chiefly involved, Princess Bee, brought out naked five one thousand naira notes, and handed it to Mama Latifa whose immerse appreciation was immeasurable.
That night, Habiba smothered the little boy with the pillow above him, and cried out hours later, that her child was dead. Everyone pitied her as she slammed herself on the floor in helpless tears.
The next day, people in the hospital gathered financial donations and sent it to Habiba. She wrote appreciation letters in reply, to Mama Latifa, Princess Bee and the whole patients who contributed close to twenty thousand naira for her.
That was the last anyone who knew her ever had of Habiba again.
Nooooo. . .For the curious minds. Before you get angry at me, please read below
People who didn’t know her, saw Habiba’s body in a pool of blood as she trod the desert towards Egypt to start a new life there, where she would cash her money in one of the bank branches there and enjoy her life.
And all the money? Was traced months after and deposited into motherless babies homes.
THE PROPER END