Help someone who can't even thank you

Yesterday, I went with a group of friends to visit Atanda-Olu School for physically and intellectually handicapped children, tucked in like a telling conundrum inside one of the more exclusive neighborhoods in Surulere, Lagos. It was part of the 3rd anniversary of the passing of Femi Ajayi, our dear friend and founder of our group, Footie Aficionados.

I was struck not only by the "unfortunate" conditions the students find themselves in and the clear message in locating a home for the less privileged in a rather opulent neighborhood, I was even more touched by the sacrifices being made by the minders of the children, led by Mrs. Yemi Benjamin.

Perhaps, the sacrifices of the founder, Mrs. Hall, who we were told is now aged and wheelchair-bound but yet finds time to call from her home in the UK to check up on the school, the children and their teachers. She built the school in 1965. I admire her heart of gold even as the school prepares for the Golden Jubilee in November.

It was while I was processing all of that, very early this morning, that I came upon the attached image (which I quickly nicked from Chris Kehinde Nwandu's wall) ostensibly from one of the IDP camps in North East Nigeria.

It is so gory, to say the least, and reminds one of similar images that came through during the Civil War, which ravaged the parts of the country now called the South East. This is the direct consequence of the ruthless, mindless and ungodly war being waged against innocent, defenseless people by Boko Haram. It is, however, also the indirect consequence of the propensity of the rich not to care for poor, or the haves not to bother about the have-nots in our society.

Isn't it a shameful irony that such an image is emanating from a country purportedly with the highest GDP? Isn't it scandalous that such children exist in a country where some parents spend $1000 or more to buy the latest smart phones for their children? Isn't it sinful that we have children like this in a country where we are assaulted per second with ludicrous tales of eye-watering sums of money stolen from our collective patrimony by people sent to public service to take care of us. A country that is probably the highest consumer of champagne and with the highest number of private jets in this part of the globe!!!

Now, there's a sobering even if unauthenticated statistic which estimates that nearly 500,000 Nigerian Children die annually of malnutrition. Oh dear! How came it we are living in such a graceless irony? What a shame!!!

Now, I know it's hard to make money. Yes, it is hard to make money the right way. And so it must be hard to give it away, especially to those who cannot repay you or even thank you. But that's where the greatest blessings exist in abundance.

Yesterday, at Atanda-Olu, I came close to tears watching the children trying to sing a song in appreciation for the TV we gave them among other items (they craved for one for a long time). They really couldn't sing...even if they knew the song. It was like a ghastly choir. But God bless them because they did their best to praise God and thank us.

Now, there are so many people, especially children, languishing in hunger and curable diseases,who need you to touch their lives from your soul. Particularly, the children in the IDP camps need you. If you can't find or give time, please give money or food or items of clothing. You'll sure be saving lives. And the ever so gracious God will bless you more.

Happy Sunday, brethren!
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