Tuesday, February 28, 2017 9:01 am
By Grace Essen
Sometime last week I got to the bank early in the morning to use the ATM. I was just about leaving after my transaction when I met two women at the bank’s entrance looking somewhat devastated, most likely waiting for the bank to officially open. I greeted them casually as I walked pass, one of them in response chose to let out her anguish. She said so much in a hurry as though she was repeating a previously rehearsed line.
“Sorry?” I said, “did you say you were…” “Yes!” She cut in, “We just entered One Chance this morning o! Just two of us in the midst of men, we didn’t know they were all part of the gang…!” She continued, trying so hard to hold back tears.
I stood and listened as they both narrated their ordeal at the hands of the robbers who threatened them with knives and took everything away from them – phones, cash, jewelries, the most surprising was the church branded t-shirt they also took with them. They told their story in tears, regretting ever getting into the bus in the first instance. But how could they have known?
According to them, the robbers applied a substance they suspected to be balm on their eyes and searched them in embarrassing places to be sure they had nothing left on them. They drove them to a bank and one of the gang members alighted to try the ATM pin to confirm authenticity. And when they saw that the account balance was not what they had expected, they got angry and demanded to know when and why they made the last withdrawal. Luckily one of them had paid for goods the previous day.
All through the attack the women said they could only pray to God and plead with the men to take everything and just drop them off somewhere. They eventually did. The women got to the bank immediately after waiting to make a formal complain to have their ATM cards blocked and call on relatives to transfer money to them since one of them had to travel back to her station in Delta State. And that is if they had the number of their close relatives by heart having lost all their mobile phones!
I know what it means to suddenly lose what you ‘think’ you have. At some point in my life it felt as though I was standing and someone suddenly pulled the rug off my feet. I found myself on my back not sure how to pick myself up. It’s not so much the amount of money involved. You may lose a million Naira and not give a hoot because you have a hundred million somewhere. But when you lose twenty thousand and that’s all you have, you know you just lost something.
Most times the people who do this to us are our men, our brothers, our husbands, our friends, the very ones who should look out for us. It is so pathetic when some men see women as weaker and decide to take advantage of them.
I encouraged the women to look at the bright side, reminding them of what they had left – life! We thanked God together that they could still go back to their children and family in one piece, that they were not raped, that they were not kidnapped and taken to an unknown destination, and they were not harmed!
I was time for me to leave, I wished them well and bade them farewell and then one of them said, “Thank you very much for your support!” Wow! I didn’t even realize how much support they got just being able to “off load” just a bit of the burden in their hearts. I had no money to give but the sisterly support lifted their spirits. I was thankful I had the time to spare.
As I walked away, I remembered the story I read in the news that made my heart sink. A mum had borrowed some money to invest in MMM ponzi scheme. After she realized she had lost the money following the freezing of MMM system, she called her children, apologized to them, went away and drowned herself.
After her death, neighbours said she had suddenly become withdrawn, but no one knew what was going on in her mind. We live in a society where people don’t trust each other enough to share their burdens. Maybe she could still be with us if she shared and someone was willing to give her just a little support – a listening ear.
This is just to remind us mums that our children need us around, the society depends so much on us and the least we can do is be strong for them. We have to support each other and keep pushing. It’s tough out there and we women are always so vulnerable. But we will not let that not stop us! No matter what you are going through, stay strong and keep pushing. You are stronger than you know!
Grace Essen is an author, speaker and host of Super Mum Makeover workshop. Check out Grace’s blog @Mum2MumAfrica.com You may reach Grace on 08061367203, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter @GraceEssen, find her on Facebook.