Tuesday, September the 13th started off like any other day. Before leaving the flat, I went to the balcony to watch the sunrise. It was pretty amazing. I then headed down to the office on spur road where we park our vehicle. Our driver was slightly delayed due to transport issues, but came soon enough. After a 30-minute journey to the hospital, I started work. Work mostly consisted of firefighting; little issues here and there. And I spent a good portion of the day trying to resolve a conflict between various staff members.
Then I received a phone call. It was from Saidu, Namina’s brother. I thought they were probably just calling to say hello. But no, this time it was different. Saidu called to tell me some bad news. The line was not good and I had to have him repeat the message a few times. I don’t know if it was the connection or if I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Saidu was telling me that his little brother Ibrahim died that morning. Silence.
I didn’t know what to say. Osh ya, the Krio phrase for ‘sorry’ is all I could think of. I wanted to speak to Wara, Namina’s mom but she was too distraught. Saidu asked if I could come to the funeral but it was to take place in just a few hours. There was no way I could get to Bailor town on time. I had to say no. Instead, I said I would meet them on Saturday. I still found it hard to believe that Ibrahim was no longer with them. Just two weeks earlier he had been in my office with Wara and Namina, looking like a healthy one-year old. They had just come to visit.
It sounded like Ibrahim had been sick for just two days. Enough I guess to cost him his life. My guess is malaria. His symptoms were fever and paleness. They took him to a ‘hospital’ and he received a couple of injections. That’s all Saidu told me at that time. I knew Ibrahim had not received appropriate treatment and I wished they had come to Freetown. After all the times they had come just to visit, this would have been the crucial time to come. If only.
I know I work at a place where death is a daily occurrence but when it's a little child you know and have come to care for, it hits home a little harder. When you see the pain the family is going through, it is all so much sadder. I can’t change what happened. I can only continue to support this family. And that’s what I did when I went to Bailor town just a few days after Ibrahim’s death. And that is what I will continue to do.