Tuesday, December 18, 2007
THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS AS THEY SEEM
I was at the Yaba Psychiatric Hospital yesterday, waiting for Stella Damasus (whose TV show I am producing) and the camera crew, so we could commence the recording of an episode.
As I stood waiting by my car and talking on the phone, I saw a woman in her 30s screaming at a slight-framed old man in his 80s. She, with a baby strapped to her back, said she was tired of taking care of him. She had done enough in her life for him and was tired of eneslavement. He had maltreated her all her life, made her childhood a misery. She said he would have to deal with his mental health problems himself, he and his fat shapeless wife. Her words in Yoruba.
The old man was pathetic and kept on trying to stand by her side but she would have none of it. Once, she slammed him in the chest and he almost broke in two. Karma, I thought. As my more retributive-minded friends who think I'm going to pay for every woman I've run away from would say, "life will bite you in the a*^e in the end. You just wait". For this old man, I thought, "he's getting payback in this world." As they circled my car, she now in possession of the old man's slippers and attempting to maim him with it, she showed me a small wound on her head which she said he had inflicted.
It was apparent she had had enough and called him unprintable names at the top of her voice. A member of staff of the hospital joined me in trying to appease her and that was when we found out from the old man, that she was the person who needed treatment. They had brought her from the Mountin Of Fire Church and she was having none of it. Some statistics say one in ten peiple will suffer some kind of mental health issue in their lifeime. Things are not always as they seem.
As security guards escorted the belligerent woman with the baby still strapped to her back into the deep recesses of the hospital, I watched the old man's wife as she approached and stood in misery looking at her ill daughter, and the old man himself, a little to one side, racked with grief.
I thought of how I had prejudged the old man based on how things looked. As I write this, I can almost hear the old man singing to me- "Walk a mile in my shoes, before you abuse, criticise and accuse, Walk a mile in my shoes"
Photo from left shows the Chief Clinical Psychologist of the hospital- Marcellinus Nwaogwu, laspapi and Stella after the recording.