Sometimes the best gift we could receive is the gift of a listener and a witness to our lives - our struggles and pains and victories!
  • Sometimes the best gift we could receive is the gift of a listener and a witness to our lives - our struggles and pains and victories!

This morning I met a girl named Fatima sitting on a pavement around the CMS - Marina area of Victoria Island Lagos.

What caught my attention even though I had a 9:00 appointment to meet was her attempt to stay 'hidden' - inconspicuous though she was in plain view. You see, Fatima is a quadruple amputee and like her friends who were positioned not far from her, she had come out early to beg for alms.

As I sat down beside her to speak with her, a man passing by shouted at me saying "don't feel any pity for her, it is their people that are killing our people in the North, they are evil and deserve no mercy..." He went on saying terrible things. A small crowd began to gather around, so I asked him "who are their people and who are our people? Have you met her? Have you seen her? Have you noticed that this girl has lost her legs and hands because of words and thoughts like 'our people and their people'?" He quietly walked away as the crowd began to disperse.

Fatima then told me she graduated from a polytechnic in the Northern part Nigeria, she had a job and was able to pay her rent and sustain herself until she lost her parents, siblings and her limbs to a bomb explosion.. She found herself in Lagos somehow and now lives with a woman who provides shelter for persons living with similar disabilities with the condition that they must all go out to beg for alms daily.

"I just want people to see me as a human being, not as a freak, not throw money at me while passing by, not pity me but to see me! I just want people to see me!" Those were the words she kept repeating as tears streamed down her face.

I left her knowing my life would never remain the same again. Her words touched me in a way that I did not know I could be touched. I feel especially sad because I left her earlier than I would have loved to plus I don't know if I would ever see her again, she has no phone and she doesn't know the address of the place she stays. She also said that they are moved daily to different locations by their benefactor.

I have reflected on this experience all day as I suspect I will for a very long time. Sometimes the best gift we could receive is the gift of a listener and a witness to our lives - our struggles and pains and victories!

We must learn - make a conscious effort to put the HUMAN before nationality, ethnicity, disabilities, religious and personal belief systems, sexual orientation and socio-economic status. That is the only way we can fight for humanity.

Topic Leadership
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Hey we can do more.....May we learn to open our eyes to the needs of others. Amen.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Yes! Together we can!

Let's keep holding the line!


"Working towards a just and equitable world for all persons, without recourse to status."

If only people understood and actually implemented the fact that we are all humans and we humans are all equal we would not have had problems in this world. I remember my friend posting verses from the Holy Quran on facebook which says "O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful. O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted." And what amazed me was the comment he made. He said if only Somalis understand and implement these two verses, surely we would not go through what we are going through and civil war and disaster would never have erupted in the first place.

Your message is loud and clear my dear... And you are absolutely right. If people have stopped with the labeling and accepted each other as fellow humans surely we wouldn't have had all these man-made disasters across the world.

I enjoy your journals, keep sharing my dear. Love Deqa

Love is what the world needs especially at this crucial time.

If we could all practice love and acceptance as each religion extols..!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you for your comment.

Warm Regards,

"Working towards a just and equitable world for all persons, without recourse to status."

...As such we must look for things that Unites us instead of those that divides us!

"Working towards a just and equitable world for all persons, without recourse to status."

I can picture the situation you described in vivid terms and fathom the situation you captured in your post. Though I am from the South Western part of Nigeria, I was born and have lived a significant part of my life in Northern Nigeria, where I still reside till date. Guess what, almost 40 years in Northern Nigeria cannot guarantee me the status of an indigene, talk more of a certificate of indigeneship/indigenization.

It is really very painful that we continue to accentuate what can divide us above those intricate things that bind us together as a nation. The experience of Fatima and her friends are just one too many reminders of the very sad and horrible situation we have drifted into as a people. We are now particularly divided along religious and ethnic lines such that segregation, cruel sentiments, insensitivity have become the other of the day.

'PRAY' we must, that HUMANENESS, PEACE and TRANQUILITY will reign!

I appreciate the article! You too! Greengirl.

Humanity before anything can be the only solution to all those brutalities out there and that humaneness is the word we have forgotten turning each one into beasts fighting for boundaries, race and religion.

Its very heartwrenching to read about the girl but as you said how long will we remember her or reflect on the fact that something need to be done to stop this. At this point your writing i say is a step ahead to speak for her and many other lives of poor abandoned ones who just wanted others to see them and not pity.

Peace and hope

Merlin James

Dear Vweta,

Thank you for sharing the story about Fatima with us. I've been thinking of it a lot since I read it a couple days ago.

We all have the same basic human needs: to be seen, to be heard, to belong, to be loved and love others. I agree that the best gift we can give each other is simply to "be" with someone, to listen, empathize (not pity!) and share our common humanity.

I know you're sad you lost touch with Fatima, but by being there for her that day you gave her a beautiful gift of friendship and kindness that will stay with her. You rekindled her hope. Thank you for being someone of compassion, who truly "sees" others, who listens. You are helping to bring peace to our planet!

With love and respect,


______________________________________________________________________________ "I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being." -Hafiz

Dear Vweta,

Thank you for your kindnesses toward Fatima, for being her witness, spending the time to listen to her story, and for being a powerful voice sending important questions to a man who was needing to think about your questions and find answers in himself, to help him become perhaps more aware, at least, if not more thoughtful and respectful towards a woman in the future.

You have helped us to become her witnesses too, and hear her story from your heart. There is no time, or distance really, so we can send lots of love her way.

In appreciation, Phyllis

Thanks for sharing this Vweta

As you have very truly said. The best gift we could give someone is our time - to listen to them. to see them for who they are. Everyone needs someone to share the joys, the sorrows, the triumphs, the losses with.

humility, humanity needs to be at the core of our thoughts to unite us within the community, between the nations and across the globe.

keep writing.

Salaam Aminah

You see Dear your efforts,your love will not go in vain.The mismanagement of Human lives,in Africa will not go unnoticed the voice of men-the voice of our God(the all seeing,all loving,undiscriminating God)He sees he will intercede in the pains of our people.Fatima was an experience for you,the Lord has called to you to walk a long route with and for him you just got started..................We need to spread love in our country,our continent and the world as a whole.LOVE, yes L-O-V-E is the only tool to answers,the tool to peace,to reconciliation,to rehabilitation,to renaissance,to true development,to oust moribund conventions e.t.c.Bless you and may the good Lord indeed be with you and all Nigeria ALWAYS.And indeed ALWAYS. Shalom: Apostle Mike Amafule.

Love is the greatest obligation of man. But most time, people prefer to create dissentions - by words, actions and even inaction.

May we practice Love in everything we do!


"Working towards a just and equitable world for all persons, without recourse to status."

Your comments are so very warm and encouraging. I have enjoyed reading them.

I know that together we can heal the world of so much hate and reach out to victims of these injustices.

Let's raise our voices, let's be witnesses of other peoples lives. Let's truly practice love and compassion and empathy.

We can!

Warmest wishes,

"Working towards a just and equitable world for all persons, without recourse to status."

Oh Vweta,

Your story is so moving. And I love the peacock and the message beneath it. That saying under the peacock says SO much about who you are inside. You are an amazing soul.

Ubuntu(I am who I am because of who we are together),


Wendy Stebbins Founder/CEO I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

And I love this - Ubuntu(I am who I am because of who we are together)!

Its laudable work you do, helping street orphans and vulnerable children. Keep up the good work! Posterity remembers!


"Working towards a just and equitable world for all persons, without recourse to status."

Thank you too for taking the time to read this Michel.


"Working towards a just and equitable world for all persons, without recourse to status."

Thank you for sharing this experience Vweta. I believe 100% that we are all one family, just living in different parts of the world and wearing different clothes. My trip to Liberia, Africa confirmed the truth behind my "one family" belief. I encourage you to hold that thought, act like others are your sisters and brothers and they will soon become so. Blessings to you from a Christian outlook. William

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