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Monday, 10 June 2019


I was the only passenger in the auto rickshaw until we got to a popular bus-stop at the Allen Area of Ikeja in the city of Lagos. This elderly woman boarded the rickshaw with a toddler strapped to her back. 

As soon as she got sited, the child, not more than 2 years of age began to cry profusely, aggressively pulling the head tie of the woman. She had mucus running down her nose, and she was dressed in a gown which was clean but noticeably worn out. 

Her hairdo was rough and she had no shoes on. 
As she kept pulling at the hair tie of the woman backing her, I tried to pacify her but she was headstrong. I looked closely at the woman carrying her: 

She was elderly and any matured person who has some form of family responsibility would easily recognize that she is a struggling mother. More so, she looked too old to be the child’s birth mother.

As I fruitlessly tried to pacify this child, the woman hit her mildly, twice on her left arm and annoyingly made a statement in Pidgin English. She said “your mama dey enjoy where she dey, I know no where she dey now, na me dey suffer”. I immediately got the picture of what was happening. 

The woman was the child’s grandma and the girl’s mother left her with the grandmother to take care of. What I couldn’t determine was if this toddler had being with the grandmother since she was a baby or if the mother just dropped her recently. 

However, I saw tiredness, anguish and confusion in this grandmother’s eyes. One could determine that she was doing her best to take care of her granddaughter. One could also see that she really did not have the financial strength to adequately provide for her. 

So, I asked the grandmother what was wrong with the child to which she responded that she gave her food in the morning but this toddler threw it away. It was obvious the child was hungry but because she couldn’t fully express herself yet, she started throwing tantrums in order to get attention. I also guessed this child didn’t like the food she was offered, so she threw it away in protest. I asked the grandma if I could buy her coke to which she immediately responded that I could. 

Then I thought to myself that i could actually split the little amount of money in my pause into two and give her half which would limit the number of groceries I intended to shop for at the market. I debated it in my mind for a while and as we alighted at the final destination, I gave her half of the money in my pause which was N1, 000. You needed to see the look of surprise mixed with gratitude on her face. 

As I walked on, this grandmother called me back and prayed for me and asked if we had met before to which I responded in the negative. I told her that I just liked her granddaughter and she prayed for me even more. I instantly confirmed that a hunger problem had just been solved.

As I walked towards the market, I began to think about the whole scenario. What would make a mother leave her young child with an elderly woman, whom actually needs to be looked after? What happened to the mother? What is her story? Did she do the right thing? Why would she leave a toddler with an elderly person? What will happen to that child if the grandmother suddenly passes on?

Then my mind went out to those women who are anxiously seeking to give birth to children of their own but are yet to have that desire met. I thought to myself that some families would give almost anything to birth a daughter like that toddler and someone somewhere isn’t taking care of hers, for whatever reason.

I had a lot of unanswered questions but I was at least grateful that I could give of the little that I had on me at that time.
I was glad that I could help a total stranger fill a need.

I was glad that I was able to offer help genuinely.
I was glad that I was the solution to a problem and not part of the problem.
I was glad that I was able to recognize what was happening and lend a helping hand without giving excuses and casting blames.

The earth didn’t shake when I gave the little that I had, the ground didn’t move but I know that in the heart of a struggling grandmother, would be songs of praises for the provision to feed a hungry toddler even if it’s just for a day. 

Phone No: 0809 433 7280

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