She touched everyone in the village with her heart of love, the young girls, young men, her fellow women, her children, her step children, her in laws, her grand children and all the children in the village.
Even though we were her blood children, no one would differentiate us from the other children in the village because she treated all of us equally, with the same measure of love and care.
Our home was near the road and therefore most of the time people would branch and ask for water as they proceed to their different destinations. Mama Helida, the darling of the village took this opportunity as her way of helping people and whenever we prepared meals she would say "make sure you cook alot so that those passing by, when they come to drink water they would also get something to eat". Mama didn't choose, she would serve all including some who were mentally retarded and would always pass by home to get something to feed on.
Our home was constantly with people and somehow, there was always something for them to eat or drink. Those who didn't get a meal definitely got tea to drink because there was always a flask with tea. It had become a practice and therefore whenever we saw someone coming in we didn't wait to be told to give them something to eat or drink, we availed it because we knew that's what mama wanted and we enjoyed sharing with others, something mama taught us and it became part of us.
When mama was healthy and we would leave home with her, it would take us hours to reach the bus stop because everyone wanted to talk to mama and catch up.
In the year 2014, the cruel hand of death robbed us this darling. Mama called and said she was unwell. I spoke with her and she sounded weak so I organized with a friend to pick and take her to the hospital as I organized to take leave from work and be with her in hospital. Because of her condition, she was admitted in hospital for further tests and proper treatment. Two days after her admission I took leave from work and joined mama in hospital and all this time I knew she would be treated and I would take her back home. Her condition worsened and two weeks after her admission mama Helida, the darling of the village went to be with the Lord in my presence. Oh, the pain I felt! The vacuum that my darling had left is all I thought of. How were we going to fill this gap?
Mama's death was a shock to the entire village because she had never been so sick. Everyone knew she would be treated and come back home.
The most traumatizing moment was the burial day of Helida, the darling of the village. The home was full with over 300 mourners. People we didn't even know. Without our knowledge, mama had assisted even strangers. Anyone who was needy and went to her she would assist. This we got to know when so many people came and wanted to say something about her on her burial day. The stories about mama Helida's deeds were so encouraging and challenging. She wasn't working but what she got from farming and the the money we would send to her for her upkeep is what she used to feed the villagers and be of assistance to many.
This kind of heart from an old lady is amazing. Her house is now closed but I promise to follow her foot steps. The love, the kindness, the smile to others is what made a difference in the lives of the villagers. Wasn't she more than a leader because of the role she played in the village? That's my late mother. Helida, the darling of the village!! Missed but her deeds left a mark. We can all do something and make a difference in someone's life.