The bleats of the goats banished the beautiful silence from the compound as though the midnight silence had been barbaric to them. The birds which perched on the nearby branches were also employing their highest decibel in chirping as if they were in competition with the ruminants. The fowls ran helter-skelter as the male cock chased after the gorgeous mother hen to mate with it. All these could have been a distraction, yet Amina sat unperturbed in the barn that was their kitchen. The smell of the food she prepared kept her father’s dog close and the cats even closer.
Amina was the only female child of her parents and at age 15 she had to stop school to help in the upkeep of the home when her mother died. She barely will pass for someone that age because her development through adolescence has been quite stupendous. She now has five brothers to take care of and as their father ages and weakens by the second, she realises that if nature will again be cruel as it were, then her father will leave her sooner than she thinks
Amina’s father happened to have gone away for a number of years in the city. He lived and worked as a driver for a business woman who owned a group of companies. As their relationship grew, Amina’s father grew fond of the woman, and she too of him. The relationship grew from being business to cordial then to being sexual. Friday nights was their way of keeping in touch at Golden Tulip and he always looked forward to it.
One day as he was driving, he felt uneasy and informed his mistress on the need to visit the hospital. He took a number of tests and was asked to return the following week for his results. That weekend he went to the village for the first time in many years and met his wife. The whole family was happy to have him around. He told them of tales told only to children in the city known as bedtime stories. He never mentioned to his wife the sought of relationship he was having with his boss.
After he returned, to his chagrin, he was told that he had acquired the HIV virus through unprotected sex. His boss also has acquired the same virus. He now was carrying his head in his hands regretting all the ‘good’ times with his boss. Interestingly, the boss was not perturbed because she had enough money to get access to proper treatment and care. She also had to relieve him of his duties as she didn’t see him fit for the job anymore.
The week Amina’s father got home he had laid with his wife in bed and unknowingly affected his wife with the virus. This was what killed Amina’s mother more quickly than the husband who gave it to her. Now he is bedridden and can barely eat his own meal by himself.
Amina did not despise her dad although he had brought such a calamity home. She catered for him as though her dad was her own son. Her care for him was the love she had unconditionally for everyone. She still managed to take care of the home and of her other siblings.
She managed to also see her five other brothers through junior high school while she took on petty trading and household cleaning as a job. Occasionally she also purchased pure water to sell to meet up with the demands of the household. Though she dropped out of her school, perhaps due to obvious circumstances, she served as a role model to her siblings and her hard work was enviable by all.
Few months later her father died and there was no one in the extended family willing to take them in. She was an outcast who had fingers pointed at her like she was the HIV itself. But she remained headstrong and prevailed through the storms of life.
Her zeal for school made her see her brothers through school successfully. She later became an AIDS ambassador in her community when the AIDS commission visited her vicinity. Because she had had her experience with her dad she didn’t treat the HIV and AIDS patients with any stigma. She got closer to them than any of the volunteers. Her exceptional duties were recognised and later she was recommended to the United Nations to continue her selfless service.
One day as she told her tale to a group during a summit, one man was touched by her story and decided to take care of her and her remaining brothers. He was from South Africa and volunteered to take them in order to help them in their schooling. That is how come after ten years of working with the AIDS commission, Amina found her way to the UN although with no qualification, and now delivers many lectures to people on the need to stay true to one’s partner and be faithful.
One thing she said as I attended one of her seminars was this: The human being is an entity that expires when its time is up. Life is the shortest thing we have to make eternal changes to the lives of many including the unborn. May we not spend time hating others, rather, let us love wholly, serve selflessly, and above all see every human being, no matter his or her state, as a simply a human being. For with that the world will be a better place.
My name is Kotey, good morning.