The Danfo Files: The old woman

Okay,  so I got down from a bus at my stop along the expressway this evening. An elderly woman got down before me. I noticed how stooped she was. The hair on her head had turned white,  a white that showed the toil of her life. She asked me, in a strong voice that belied her age, if this was actually the bus stop that had been called out. It was obvious she wasn’t seeing very clearly. With determined steps she crossed the road and walked ahead to where she’d get a tricycle to her house. I slowed my pace and kept watching her walk by. I wondered where she had gone to that day, where she was coming from. Did she just go out to see a friend? Did she go to church? Did she go to work? No matter where she went, no woman of that age should be on the road in a bus, the kind that never waits for passengers to get down properly, the kind that rumbles on like its sole purpose was to make the bones in our bodies rattle to no end. I felt sorrow that this woman had to go through the stress of commuting by bus on the crazy roads of Lagos, and I wondered about her family. Did she have any children? Was there a car and driver available for her? It didn’t look like it, but I was hopeful for her sake, hopefully that this journey she undertook today was not an everyday thing, hoping she had the small comforts of life waiting for her at home and with family, hoping that she wasn’t also a part of the rat race that has got a lot of us young people in a tight grip in this weird kaleidoscope of a city called Lagos.

I wrote that short story because for every single person we see in the streets, there’s a story that may or may not be pleasant to hear, there are things we take for granted that mean a whole lot to people out there. I wrote that short story so that we could remember, in the crazy busy network of our lives, to stop, look around for a minute, see with our hearts the people around us and their stories, and do three things: 1. Count our blessings, every single teeny-weeny one of them. 2. Redeem the time and ensure we build a solid foundation for our children and ourselves in our old age. 3. Touch lives, in any little or big way we can.

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