Sunday, 14 September 2014

Ise abi Alafia

Always warm, always welcoming. This is how I remember her. She was one of those people who is neither a client nor a business associate but I always bumped into her atleast once in two weeks at a café very close to my place of work.
Shaba, how are you doing today? You look abit tired? I said
“Asake, I have been battling with flu for almost two weeks. I have taken medications and homemade remedies, yet no improvement” Shaba said
“Maybe you should see a doctor” I said.
Very unusual, I bumped into her the following Monday and I enquired about her health. She had not been to the hospital because she had exhausted her medical aid for the month and payday was 4days away.

“Four days? That is a long time, why don’t you go tomorrow or on Wednesday, I will give you a loan till pay day” I said
Thanks Asake but if I take any day off, it will be deducted from my leave days. I have planned this year’s leave with my daughter” Shaba said
That was the last time I saw her.
The last time I was at the café, a lady came to console me on the loss of my friend. For a second, I was lost- then she said Shaba was a good mother and colleague. She narrated how she had seen me with Shaba a couple of times and assumed we were friend.

Which Shaba? No, it cannot be Shaba, I broke down at the café and I was inconsolable. I took the rest of the day off work and kept wondering if she ever went to the hospital to treat herself. She did not live to witness her annual leave and sadly work still continued.

She had a still birth, she had a still birth, my sister was carrying a set of twins, and she carried the pregnancy for a full term – 8months then gave birth to dead children” Warimu cried.
Warimu narrated how her sister was feeling a bit tired but was determined to work till 8months inorder to spend maximum with her kids. She kept complaining how she didn’t feel it was okay to spend just 3months with twins. After their devastating loss :her sister’s husband  asked her to choose between being his wife or being an employee of the organization she worked for. If she chose to be just his wife he agreed to pay her monthly salary till she puts to bed and their baby is atleast 6months. Her sister did not lose her life but the young couple lost their first pregnancy- they had shopped and decorated for the twins.

This post is dedicated to everyone who has had challenges settling hospital bills and those who are afraid of taking days off work when ill or afraid the maternity leave is not sufficient so they had to work till they are about to put to bed.

Health is wealth

Ise means work

abi means or

Alafia means health

Edited by Opson Eniola Dada



  1. Too often we ignore our health because of work but as you said, work will continue long after we are gone. Thank you for reminding me of that fact

  2. Yes my dear.. Work will continue after we are gone. Atleast in our part of the world, we dont misuse sick leave