Grief they say is like living two lives. One is when you pretend that everything is alright and the other is where your heart silently screams in pain.
This is the situation of Mrs. Nwadise Ngechi Philomena. She has been romancing grief for seven years now as her heart silently screams in pain because of the sudden loss of her eyes to glaucoma.
Philomena, who hails from Ogwashi-Uku in Aniocha Local Government Area of Delta State, was living a good life with her family as a professional clothes designer and, according to her, had designed for the high and mighty in the society.
“After I lost my eyes, I couldn’t work again and there was no money to pay rent. My then landlady ejected everybody from the house where I was living but she brought me to this place which was mere landed property then”, she narrated.
“A church, Lord Chosen, a tenant on that landed property, occupied the frontage but my landlady built five rooms at the back where she offered me a room to stay free because of my condition.”
“Later, my landlady called to tell me she wanted to sell the property. I informed the church of the landlady’s intention.”
“The church bought the property and I was happy. I asked my pastor what will happen to me before the church bought the property and he told me not worry as he knew my condition.”
“So, I continued to live in the house.”
“But a new pastor is here and he gave me seven days’ quit notice and has locked me out; if not for the intervention of neighbours, I would have been sleeping on the road.”
“He even said he was going to bring the police to throw my things and my children out despite the fact that I am a member of the church and was the one who helped them to know about the property.”
“The church and the children are the only family members I have. I have nowhere to go. It is pastors that preach to us to stop going for family meetings and now that I am in problem, who do I go and meet?”
“It broke my heart to hear the pastor saying blatantly that the church could not help me and that even if they were to promise to help, they won’t be able to do it because they were tired of helping me.”
“Yes, they were giving me N1, 000 and at times N2, 000 twice a month when they had service. But if anyone dashed me money, they will minus it from the money.”
“I was a fashion designer before the eye problem came. The eye problem started gradually and I couldn’t see very well and they said it was glaucoma.”
“I have gone to many hospitals even with the help of Dew Drops Development Foundation.”
“Mrs. Bakare, the owner of the Foundation, helped me and I was registered at the Lagos State Ministry of Disability Affairs where I learnt tie and dye but there is no financial assistance to pursue what I learnt.”
“My husband’s relatives have not helped me except my children’s sibling, a daughter from another woman, who has been helping with the payment of the children school fees after their father died in 2016.”
“I have four boys and a girl to care for and she (step daughter) too has her own responsibilities.”
“We are like a burden to her. She has really tried for us.”
“A reverend father was taking care of one of the children in Abuja but he has since gone back to his country.”
“It is by the grace of God that we are surviving through friends and neighbours.”
“Mrs. Bakare often times brings food stuff to us. “But this morning, what to eat was not available because everyone is looking for how to survive as a result of Covid-19.”
“It is when someone has enough that he will be able to remember somebody like us.”
“I want well-meaning Nigerians to help me secure accommodation to enable me have somewhere to lay my head first.”
“I’m a trained fashion designer who has sown clothes for people in high places.”
“I was told there are chances for me to see again.” “Even spiritually, the pastors here have been unable to take me to our General Overseer.”
“They just toss me around. I was told also that my eyes could be operated on but it will cost N1.5million.”
“But where do I get N1.5million when the test I was told to do after doctors reviewed my eyes to know the extent of the damage, I couldn’t afford it.”
“They wrote supplement for me which after I finished taking the one I bought, I couldn’t get money to continue.”
“I can’t feed with my children.”
“I have been staying here without light for the past two years because the church operates only on generator.”
“The church treats me as if I am not their member.”
I will be happy if Governor Okowa of my state, Delta, can help me to get out of this trauma with my children.
“Sight is very important to me. I can work and feed my family if I can regain my sight but I need immediate evacuation to be able to be alive with my children first.”
Mrs. Philomena, who presently squats at No 45 Owoseni, Ikate, Surulere, is looking forward for kind-hearted Nigerians to come to her aid.
Efforts to talk to the pastor of the Lord Chosen Church Parish proved abortive as the building was closed for service as a result of renovation.
@ Vanguard Newspaper