I was sitting down, minding my own: “head in the clouds, thinking and pushing my mind along the boundaries of my fashion filled reverie: my ever constant status quo”. Then I overheard their conversation. It went thus: “I hear Kwashiorkor is back in Nigeria“.

The word Kwashiorkor stopped me rather  chillingly in my thoughts  and I was automatically transported  to 2 months ago and a little girl. It was a really weird coincidence , as I had thought about her very often in recent times.

I had gone  to  braid my hair in a salon  in Lagos and there she was, a daughter of one of the braiders: all spindly legs and bulging eyes. She was very pretty and delicate looking. I was intrigued: “Her hair was a fuzzy orange hued mass on her skull.Her skin was stretched tight and I could make out the bones on her face quite clearly. A closer inspection revealed smatterings of tiny rashes all over her gaunt features.

..with a deeply heavy yet curious heart, I struck her mum up in conversation: “She told a cute story about her little daughter; her second baby. How she was quite choosy and never wanted to eat anything”. I asked why she was so skinny and she explained that it was her nature. All I saw was a heart wrenching situation:  “A mother keeping a brave face and trying to maintain a unified front as well as her dignity amidst the toughness life had dealt her”.

I was still bothered by her little girl’s orange hair, stretched face, ungainly bony limbs and rashes. Sadly, she reminded me of the images of kids in war torn countries: malnourished and in need of aid. My heart bled in desolate helplessness.

While there, I surreptitiously bought her Luczade and fed her with quick snack pick me-ups. I acted really casual, like I had taken a passing fancy to her and just felt like sharing. However I know this truly was not enough.What can I do??

I shall start small: By contacting a Doctor and finding out the best way to go about helping her and if possible getting her to seek medical care, this would require her mom’s co-operation.

There are many other little girls like her around us. It is very tough times for Nigeria and we have to all keep our eyes open to the plight of our neighbours. Every little help goes a mighty long way. How do we do this?? How do we help?? Your input is well appreciated..

 

Strength in Numbers.

xxx

Ezinne Chinkata

 

 

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