Kindness always pays, by Aisha Musa Auyo

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Aisha Musa Auyo

Kindness always pays, by Aisha Musa Auyo

Two years ago, I relocated to a new place 9 days after giving birth to my 3rd child. The plan was for me to get enough rest and bond with the baby(maternity leave pro max!) I enjoyed the quietness and the fact that no one knew me there. My husband suggested I visit and introduce myself to our neighbours when I had the chance; I reminded him that I was on maternity leave and didn’t feel I was ready to meet anyone.

After a week, he reminded me again, so I did. You see, in this place, no one cared to know who his neighbour was. Infact, if one tried to be friendly, they would revert the advance without guilt. But even with this mindset, I met friendly neighbours who opened their doors to me, and warmly welcomed my baby and I. After the usual pleasantries, I learned that they were new there too, and were hesitant to introduce themselves to other neighbours. We exchanged phone numbers and I left.

Two days after my visit to them, my husband travelled and my 4 year old son accidentally put a button inside his nose on that very morning. He rushed to tell me that the button was still inside his nose and he couldn’t bring it out. I used my phone to check; a slight touch to the button would have taken it directly to his lungs. I panicked. This was around 7am, and my husband’s phone was unreachable, meaning he was still airborne. To say that I panicked would be an understatement! My hands began shaking and at the same time my baby started crying. It’s like the earth and universe had conspired to crush me.

I backed my baby, and we rushed to the car, heading to no particular direction but knew we had to find a hospital. I started with my right side, looking at all the buildings to see if I could find a hospital or at least, a pharmacy. I got one and as I showed them the issue, they directed me to National Hospital (apparently that was the only place you could get the equipment to remove such an object). I thanked them and left as I drove aimlessly. I saw another big pharmacy and thought they could solve my problem but they too directed me to emergency at National hospital. I felt stranded in an unknown city. I just parked in the rain and started praying and crying. Then I remembered the neighbours; I zoomed off and went straight to their house, explained to them what had happened, and the father told me there was a local surgeon he met last week who was an expert in this area. He saw how perturbed I was because this person he mentioned was not a medical personel but a traditionalist. He narrated to me how he heard this local ‘surgeon’ bragging about his expertise at a barber shop, that even hospitals used to employ his services when there were similar complications such as ours.

He didn’t even have the barber’s phone number, talkless of the bragging ‘surgeon’s’ but he took the trouble of going out to the shop which was closed as it was too early to open. He had to copy the phone number from the shop’s banner, called the owner and told him to send that ‘wanzami’ he met in his place immediately.

All this while I was praying for Allah’s help and guidance; I wasn’t really comfortable with the help they offered but I trusted in Allah, so I kept praying and hoping. The local surgeon came, asked where the boy was, and I sent Abdul to him, after praying over his head. He brought out a sharp object called ‘Matsefata’ and my anxiety increased. So many thoughts ran through my mind (was that object sterilized? Was he going to poke that inside Abdul’s nose??)

He took the boy in order to view where the button was lodged, and like magic, it was in his hands, saying, “ga shi, ancire” (Here, I’ve removed the button). All this happened in less than 5 seconds! From “let me see”, to “here it is!”. Whatever he did, none of us there could tell; we were all in awe! I was lost for words, it was after a minute that I was able to say, “alhamdulillah”, then I thanked our neighbours. When I asked for the wanzami, I was told he left, just like that!

As I laid down after absorbing all the shock, I reflected on how going to meet the neighbours saved me a lot of trouble and stress. I met them barely 48hrs before the incident. The lessons I learnt here is that treating neighbours, (or any other person you meet) with respect and kindness is good. One does not know when he would need another’s assistance or favour. Even if one thinks he has it all, something could come up that only those neighbours would be able to help.

Another lesson I learned is never say never. I never thought I’d take my son to a local surgeon…not even in my dreams. Their services and how they operate used to scare and annoy me. But that day, one of them saved my day!

Respect every profession, modern or traditional. If they are professionals, trust me, they earned the title. This incident taught me to respect the local surgeons and their super services.

Another good thing that came out of meeting these neighbours is that it has helped in promoting my business. It happened that I sent them a dish over the weekend and they very much enjoyed it. They learned that I was into catering services and coincidentally, they were looking for a catering tutor to enrol their kids during that corona lockdown, which is what I do. My business mind took over and I hurriedly ended the maternity leave to start the practical classes. They were so impressed with the work that they let the whole neighbourhood know about the new caterer in town! Free advert and publicity! Before you knew it, I graduated two sets of practical students. The single kind act of sending a bowl of goodies brought about endless business opportunities.

I lived in different places, far away from home, and neighbours have really been helpful to us. I am especially kind to neighbours as the hadith of the Prophet about neighbours is always in my heart and mind. Even if they don’t reciprocate the kindness, one will have peace of mind that he has fulfilled his obligation.

Aisha Musa Auyo is a Doctorate researcher in Educational Psychology. A mother of three, she is Home Maker, caterer and parenting/ relationship coach.

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