Chronicles of a Social Worker – Part One

As I stand at the bus stop, bag in one hand and the other clutching the end of my flowery skirt in a bid to prevent it from touching the ground as patches of water sits here and there, a lot of thoughts race through my mind especially about the events for the day.

It’s been raining cats and dogs lately and today’s early morning weather doesn’t seem to hide its intent of a possible outpour. Maybe it will, later in the day or maybe not, if the sun decides to shine its gentle face. Whichever way, like the boys scout motto, I’m always prepared with my umbrella fitting gently inside my bag. It isn’t just a fashion item to compliment my dress sense as it also allows me carry children’s data and assessment forms needed for the job. Speaking of my job, I am a social worker and I work with Fair Life Africa Foundation.

After a long wait, a bus finally arrives and the usual street urchins popular called “Agberos” swoops in on the arriving bus as a hungry predator attacks its prey in the jungle. I observe, amidst the usual struggle for a space, the typical friendly gesture of the bus conductor in managing the scene as he offers his morning “offering” leaving them with a smile.

Male Passenger 1: You should have ignored them.

Bus Conductor: Oga, wisdom demands that I give them their dues so sleeping dogs can lie peacefully.

 Male Passenger 2: (Interrupts swiftly) You bus conductors encourage their business sustenance. They should go find something meaningful to do with their lives.

Bus Conductor: My Chairman, their existence and continuity will only be grounded with the right policies from government. Everyone is aware of the social menace and threat to society…

Female Passenger: Conductor, Conductor! You seem learned. What happened? (Characteristic Nigerian way of making an inquiry) How come…?

Bus Conductor: My Sister, everyone get their own story. Cut long story short, I had to drop from final class in junior school to make ends meet after I suddenly became an orphan. Since I couldn’t go, at least my children will go.

Me: So what are the ages of your children and what classes are they in?

Bus Conductor: I have three children. The first is 12 and in JSS 3. The second is 9 and in Basic 5 while the third is still a toddler. My children are brilliant…

Me: (Hands him a form) …My contact details are on the form. I’d get yours so I can visit for a possible assessment and we would see the possible outcome of your children being sponsored up to university level…

Male Passenger 1: Please which organisation is that you’re advertising?

Male Passenger 2: Aunty, my children are also brilliant o. You can come pay me a visit too to assess them.

Female Passenger: My Sister, better thing good for me and my family too. Make una come assist us too nah.

In what was supposed to be a long drive to my destination, the conversations with passengers made it seem short as everyone wanted a form until I finally ran out.  As always the families visited were also very appreciative as they await my feedback as a lifeline thrown to someone at sea.  You never know what each day might bring but overall for me, it’s been a great day and I look forward to tomorrow. Contrasting Pinky and the Brain, tomorrow’s dream isn’t about taking over the world. There are more homes to be visited and more children to be assessed for possible adoption into our programme.

Fair Life Africa Foundation is doing great things in the lives of children through our Disadvantage to Advantage Initiative.

*Pinky and the Brain is an American animated television series.

Written by Emeke Ndego

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