The hardship in the land is real! A good Nigerian Natasha Akpoti has narrated the pathetic story of a female graduate, Queen Okoye who has been suffering and living on Lagos streets for years because she couldn’t secure a job and has no one to help.
Last night I, like many were disturbed about the news of a young lad burnt to death for attempting to steal garri. The images haunted my sleep. Not only because of the gruesome murder of a human being bitten hard by poverty, but because of those human beings that carried the act and worse off, those who stood by capturing his death with their phones.
This morning on my to the Singaporean embassy in Lagos, I saw besides the gates of Eko hotel, a lady laying on the floor and everyone (black and white) walked past her like she didn’t exist . I picked up my phone and took this picture (below) with the hope that I could share a lesson of poverty with you all.
At the embassy, I couldn’t get her image off my head. I felt even ashamed to have taken only the picture without stopping to hear her story.
Immediately I stepped out of the embassy, I drove right back to her. Woke her up and this is what she said in fluent English.
My name is Queen Okoye. I am 31 years old and a graduate of YabaTech. I am from Orsu LGA in Imo state (she paused to spell Orsu for me). Her father is Mr. Basil a Okoye. Mother is late. She lived with her boyfriend whilst in school. Their relationship fell apart and he kicked her out of his apartment. She has lived on the streets for years because her sister (married with children ) refused to assist her.
I asked if she was on drugs and alcohol, but she said no. I noticed she smiled a little too much but always added “I am happy a beautiful lady like you acknowledged me. People walk by me everyday like I don’t exist “. This broke my heart.
So I asked permission to take a picture and share her story with you good people. She asked ” will they help or laugh at me. People call me crazy” . I told her the God that made me see her will make others connect to her.
I also asked if she had any message for you all . She looked at me and said ” tell them I need help to get out of the streets. It all started like a joke and now I can’t believe how low I have fallen. I might need some counseling and medical attention because being out here changes one drastically. I need a place to sleep and a job to fend for myself . Please “
Beloved Nigerians, in our heart lies the power to do good and evil. I understand hunger’s pain. I know exactly the danger poverty sting’s delves to ones psych. At this trying times, let’s be sure to Chanel our frustration to the right persons and not the vulnerable like us.
Today, I had an option to be like everyone and walk past Queen but I decided to be better. Everyone of us can attempt a little kindness and love to each homeless person; or anyone about to be lynched by a crowd. A little effort goes a long way.
Queen stays in front of Eko hotel’s fence. She is waiting for someone to read this and reach out to her. So if you work in Lagos state welfare department or know any agency in charge of women, pls get to Queen. Let’s all share a little kindness because it would all come back to us.
Queen needs you!!!”