Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Kemi was staring at her reposting letter with so much intensity, she quickly scanned through it, expecting to read that she had been reposted to the Military hospital, her facial expression was a mix of disappointment and disdain for the system. She sat down wearily, feeling more alone than she had in the last couple of months.
She silently wished she could call him. Things were pretty messed up between Jerry and her, almost to the point of no return. She remembered how he’d looked at he’d that last time, and wondered why she was holding on to something that was clearly over.
The sound of her phone ringing startled her, and jolted her back to reality. It was an unknown number, her heart skipped a beat as she answered the call. Her heart sank a little when recognized her father’s voice, although she was glad to hear a familiar voice. Today had been a stretch. “I have sent you money for the rent you asked for, get a good apartment”, he was always so straight to the point on the phone. She missed home.” Thank you daddy, I was reposted to…”, he hung up before she had a chance to complete her statement. She smiled, daddy hadn’t changed one bit, she mused.
At least something good had happened today, and she hoped for more. She was not sure where the primary health centre was located, but she had to go in search of it tomorrow. This was the absolute last place she expected to be reposted to. A primary health centre of all places! Everyone knew that the PHC system in Nigeria was a shadow of what was intended when it was created by the late Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti several years ago. She had been posted to Abeokuta North. ‘Eyilaju Primary Health Care Centre’, named after a philanthropic son of the soil. She wondered what she would find there. She already knew the pay would be nothing compared to her house job salary. She wondered about the working environment and sighed.
‘Whose report do you believe? I shall believe the report of the Lord’ This was a line from a song she loved, and it was no coincidence that she remembered it now.
As she embarked on the next leg of her journey, finding the new PPA, she prayed.
Dr Agbo was a frustrated 30 year old Medical Officer who worked at a PHC in Abeokuta. Frustrated because all his plans to leave the Nigerian system had failed woefully. He was too poor to rake together the money for foreign exams, despite his distinctions in medical school. Today was his last day in Abeokuta. He was going to Lagos in search of greener pastures. He had heard that a new corper was coming in today, he shook his head in pity. There was nothing here for her. He worked with another senior medical officer who barely did any work, he left all the work for Dr Agbo. He had been here for at least 20 years. Agbo felt sorry for him sometimes, he was so disillusioned and jaded, always lamenting about his unfulfilled dream of becoming a neurosurgeon. His chances were slim to none because residency positions were very competitive.
Kemi hummed as she walked into the reception area of the hospital. She hadn’t expected anything more. The place looked deserted, then again, at 7:45am she was early. The compound was large but the main building was a small bungalow, at least it looked that way from outside. The paint was peeling off the walls, even though it was neat, the building still looked dilapidated.
“Good morning, you must be Dr Kemi, we’ve been expecting you”, she looked up at the face of a beautiful woman dressed in white, ” yes I am ma, you must be the matron in charge here”, she quickly replied. “It’s lovely to meet you, Dr. Let me show you around”. She learned that the place had been established in 1992 by a young medical doctor who had just returned from studies abroad and wanted to give back to his community. Now, it was government funded but little had been done about maintaining the facilities. Although they offered primary care to all patients, the hospital was more known for the maternity services. If patients needed to be referred it would be to the Federal Medical Centre. Call duty would be explained by the doctors. “…I wish you a beautiful stay with us, I will introduce you to the other nurses later.” Mrs Jeje seemed nice, but Kemi knew that she shouldn’t conclude so early, there was enough time to truly get to know her.
As she sat in one of the consulting rooms, her mind drifted to Jerry. She remembered how she had ended it. She had no regrets but sometimes she wondered. It was a time in her life when she had just started to take God seriously. Her relationship with him wasn’t helping her grow. She knew it needed to end. Maybe it was how she ended it, on their anniversary trip to Olumo Rock. “Good morning Dr, a penny for your thoughts?”, she quickly smiled and introduced herself, she learned that he was Dr Oke, he had been here for 20 years, he came across as someone who was tired but stuck. She felt sorry for him. He was dressed in a faded blue shirt and dark trousers. He welcomed her warmly and introduced her to Dr Agbo, today was his last day, and he seemed very happy about that. Who wouldn’t be?
Kemi almost fainted when she heard how much she would be paid every month. It was 50,000 naira, less than 150 dollars. She quickly hid her displeasure. She wasn’t here for the money, God had sent her here, and he would take care of her.
By 9am she had learned enough about the system to know her way around. Clinic would begin in about 30 minutes. Before she knew it, she would be the one leaving in one year. She silently prayed, as she called in her first patient, “Lord, please help me”.
Author’s Note: Writing and completing my second work of fiction has been an adventure for me. It’s a story of trusting God in unfamiliar situations and places, and even with relationships. I truly hope you have been impacted in one way or the other by this story; maybe you have learned a couple of new verses in the Bible or gleaned some history or even learned about a country that’s different from where you are from.
Thank you for coming with me on this journey. Please leave a comment, I would love to know how this story impacted you. Thank you for reading! Be sure to share the link with a friend.
Olamide Akappo (nee Oti), July 2020