When Musa and I got to my car, we found my driver and the Security man bent over the car changing tyres.
We packed the goods on the ground and waited for them to get done.
“Thank you Musa”, I said, “I am glad you came with me……
He smiled, he has a brilliant smile.
“So tell me, how did you get into Lagos?”
“Ayabasa, it come”
I didn’t get that. I looked at him blankly.
“Ayabasa”, he repeated, pointing to the bag of onions we bought. “Maalu, yam, tomato, It come Lagos, it follow it”
They hitch-a-ride with trucks of food heading into Lagos.
What a rough life. I looked at him again.
“OK, so when you got to Lagos… What happened?
“It stay with brother”
“You have another brother here?”
“Every body brother”, he stated simply.
I got that.
Moslems understand the principles of being your brother’s keeper……. I have seen it at play a lot of times. I wish Christians will understand it deeply too.
“So you are staying with him now?”
He shook his head.
“Brother, meguard, Oga I no want am pu fipul, E slilep for sifaci”
I struggled with that.
I got the extent that the owner of the house where his claimed brother works as security didn’t allow extras….but sifaci?
He tried to explain but I still was blank, so the security helped out.
So Lord, there is this sleeping arrangement called “Space”.
Its like a hall with lots of sleeping mats. At the end of a full work day, homeless kids go there, and pay for a “space” to sleep.
So the space is a mat and a cloth on the bare ground and you pay N100 per night.
I didn’t believe my ears.
“What happens if you are not able to pay?, I asked the security man with a lump on my throat.
” Aaah Madam, na OYO now….”On your Own”
I was silent.
“You need to see what goes on there madam, some of these children that hawk in the streets, that’s where they all go….some of the girls are raped, and some the money they made for the day are stolen”.
“Who runs the space? Who owns it? My head was reeling…
“Aaah madam, they called them Landlords, they plenty for Lagos naa. Where you think say all these boys dey sleep?” He said pointing to the hawkers. “If they are not under the bridge, they are in the space”.
I felt a huge headache, and a bad taste in my mouth. “Space?”
“Never heard of it, never thought of it, never imagined”
I looked at Musa again, and my heart tugged at me.
What can I do for him? How many of them can I get out of Space? Where do I start?
“Are your parents still alive Musa?”
“Father e kill it, mother I run”
I felt an explosion in my heart. Why did I ask?
I stared at the boy.
Father Lord, This boy took a decision to do the right thing, why is he paying this huge price for it?
My driver was done and I had to go but I was stuck.
From my purse, I pulled out everything that was left there, and folded it into his hand. I just got out enough for the security.
He stared at the notes speechless.
Then he dropped on his knees and bowed.
I almost cried.
As I was about to drive off, I heard my Father’s voice in my head……”Don’t give him Fish…. Teach him how to Fish”
“Stop, wind down”, I ordered the driver.
“Do you have a phone Musa?”
“Give me your number”. You are a good boy Musa, right now it doesn’t matter who you serve or what you serve, the most important thing is that you have a good heart. I said intensively looking right into his eyes, please stay good. I will call you soon. I promise”
He nodded blankly.
I took his number and drove off.
“Space”, I shuddered. And People sleep there.
Father Lord please help me make space for this boy. Life is not about religion or color or tribe.
Life is about helping people, help me find a real space for him in life.
This is Your daughter and I am checking in.