These questions were still plaguing me the next day when I got a visit from Rosa.
“Darlin gal!” she exclaimed softly as I gave her a hug. “How you been dear?” she held me away from her a bit so she could get a good look at me.
“Rosa!” I whispered. “Come so we can talk better.” I led her out to the corridor. “How’s your Johnson?” I asked.
She smiled sadly “Johnson no good.” Then her eyes brightened “But I get hope.”
I smiled back “That’s good then. And how have you been?”
“Oh I be just fine gal; I be just fine.”
The hospital had a lovely garden just outside pediatrics’ and we both decided to take turn around the garden. We walked arm in arm content to just be silent in each other’s company. As usual, Rosa had a calming influence on me. We found a park bench in a hidden corner of the garden and sat down. Rosa was easy to talk to; she had such a dry sense of humour and took pleasure in the simple things of life. I learned about her son and daughter in law in South Africa. She had five grandchildren but had not seen them for five years – since she and her husband left everything they had and fled their country. Now they could not afford to jet set anymore and her son and his family could not afford the air fare to Nigeria.
She told me about her life before; I gained a healthy respect for the huge woman sitting beside me. As she spoke, I became aware that she had overcome a lot of adversity in her life. Oh not from anything she said in particular; she just had a way of making a lot of things comical. She told me how they had to hide out in the thick forests of West Africa for weeks, and how if she had not spent most of her childhood in her grandmother’s hut they would have starved to death for sure. Johnson who was always impeccably dressed had learned to climb trees to survive. She had me laughing till tears came out of my eyes, describing how he had fallen out of a tree one night. Before I knew it, an hour had passed and it was time for her to go back to her Johnson’s bedside. Before she left, she turned to me and asked if she could pray with me. As we bowed our heads together in that isolated part of the garden outside the paediatric ward of the General Hospital, I felt a stillness in my inner being. Once again, the waters inside me were at peace.