OpEd, Politics

Baby “Weu Aliu” is hospitalised

Given a tragic name, Weu Aliu, who is 7 months old, has never parted with hunger since birth. His mother named him “Weu Aliu” out of anger following her husband’s reply of “No Money”, the salary is not yet out, whenever she asks for upkeep.

In her fifth gestation, she became tired of “No Money” and promised herself to do something stupid if Simon, her husband, never changed his reply. When she gave birth and phoned Simon, whose occupation is soldier, to inform him, he said soldiers have spent 5 months without salary. So, there is no money completely. She became annoyed and named the newborn “Weu Aliu”.

Simon was informed of such a tragic name and said I could not blame her, but I blame the government. Simon picked his axe, went to a forest and became a charcoal-maker. Every month, he could at least send an upkeep home for baby Weu Aliu and his elder children. When the salary was received last year, he sent it home.

The money that Simon makes on charcoal cannot make his family live above the poverty line. Children began shrinking and showing the signs and symptoms of malnutrition. With forests being cleared by so many soldiers for charcoal, Simon, together with other soldiers in charcoal-making, have found it difficult to get good charcoal for sale.

The trees left cannot make good charcoal and this has caused a profound effect on Simon’s family. Simon tries Plan A to Plan Z and nothing improves at all. It is only rich people who have 3 plans only; Plan A, B and C. But poor people have 26 plans; Plan A up to Plan Z.

Simon just gave up and went home to starve together with his children. Children look brown at home. They have scattered hair, swollen legs and arms, scaly skin, cloudy eyes and wasted bodies. They look old while young. Before a month ended, the merciless hunger started finishing Simon’s family with the little boy “Weu Aliu”. Other children are sick of hunger, but that of Weu Aliu is beyond hunger.

Weu Aliu has an unending diarrhoea, lethargy, hypoglycaemia, hypothermia, generalized body swelling and fever, suggestive of an infection. Taken to the hospital, the doctor, a specialist in Paediatrics and Child Health, who is himself a soldier, diagnosed Weu Aliu with malnutrition.

While treating the baby, the doctor also took courage to comfort the baby’s parents. After introducing himself fully to Simon and Weu Aliu’s mother, Simon’s wife, the doctor opened the floor for Simon and his wife to introduce themselves. I’m Monica, the baby’s mother and wife of Simon. She ended there.

Over to you, the doctor pointed at Simon. Simon kept quiet for a minute. He was unhappy, of course. The headache of the sickness, the headache of no salary, and the headache of no assignment since time immemorial, even a madman cannot be happy with all this.

Then he began introducing himself. I’m Simon, a 1st lieutenant in SSPDF, Charcoal Division. Simon did not want to mention his exact division because he quarrelled with his Division Commander over a case of salary consumption, which he says would have helped his child, Weu Aliu.

Simon said he liberated this country and unfortunately, he was pushed to the periphery by those who just joined the army in 2005. He terms them as “Abïï wëu”, meaning “those who joined because of money”. If you see Simon, you will never fail, in the whole of your life, to identify someone who is angry. Anytime, you expect him to do anything stupid.

As quick to understand as doctors, the doctor understood Simon and told him to calm down as everything gets settled with time. Both Simon and the doctor assured themselves that everything will change and things will improve. The doctor said change comes in the blink of an eye, and finally reassured Simon and his wife, Monica, that baby Weu Aliu is going to recover soon.

Thanks for reading “Sowing the Seed of Truth”.

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