“I see her come out the office in a flood of tears and is like me heart just go out to her and I had to stop she and ask she wah happen. Is like she couldn’t even talk and after a long time she try to tell me wah happen. I still didn’t understand all she been telling me but I know she wanted somewhere to sleep the night and I couldn’t just like say no. I know is a stranger but I just had to help.”
This was how Susan (not her real name) told it. A security guard at a government ministry, she observed the stranger in distress and intervened. She does not have much but said she could not see another in need and not help.
“I live alone… and is not like I get plenty money but I tell she to come and sleep for the night. Today and tomorrow is me day off and I using it to carry she around town to see if she could get some help. She could sleep by me in the nights, but when I get up to go to work she have to leave with me and do something during the day and then come back with me in de afternoon,” the woman said.
As she spoke, the woman to whom she opened her doors sat quietly, tears running down her cheeks. She is in great distress and sought some much needed assistance. Her story, if I am to believe it all, is very complicated and may be told at another time but for now I am focusing on the Good Samaritan who opened her doors when she herself does not have enough. Just to state, however, in case readers might wonder, I did all I could to assist the woman in my capacity as a journalist and the effort continues.
“But even if she sleep by me and suh I really can’t give she food because I just barely get food for me,” the woman said flatly.
But you opened your doors to a stranger? I enquired.
“Girl leh me tell you something I had some bad days, real bad days and I know how it feel when nobody is there for you. Is just how she was crying, like I couldn’t just see she go away like dah. I know I didn’t have much but I had to ask and when I hear she story – tell me how I coulda just let she go away like that?” she questioned.
I did not answer and so she continued.
“But leh me tell you, I had it bad. I was marry and been living good, good with me husband and you know people don’t like to see you living good,” she launched off.
By this time the woman in distress is sitting quietly with her eyes closed. I made an attempt to cut Susan as I felt her new temporary house guest needed more of a hearing but she did not give me an opportunity.
“This woman see me and me husband living good and she decide that it was too good and she do she dutty wuk…, and that was it,” by this time she was standing and her face contorted as she spoke.
“She come into my house and she tek everything. My house had everything and when I lef, I lef with nothing… I had to move out and leh me tell you is just the grace of God keeping me,” she said this close to tears and quietly took her seat.
The three of us sat in silence for a while. For a moment I was unsure of what to say and I really wanted to focus on her guest, but Susan was also obviously in pain. I looked at the two women and said a silent prayer for guidance.
“Now I living in a small apartment wuking as a security guard. And leh me tell you something I am not Guyanese you know by I met my husband [in another country] and I marry and come here,” Susan said, giving the name of her country of origin.
“You know this is my home now. I dream about this country you know and I come here and make a life and it was a good life until somebody think it was too good.
“I praying to God you know and I believe one day that he would come back to me…,” she said almost to herself.
“I guh continue to help she,” she said of her house guest.
“But as I say I don’t have money to feed she and when I go to work she have to leave the house with me. You take my number [she gave me her number on a piece of paper]… you guh be hearing from me, I have so much more to tell you, so much more.”
I nodded as if in agreement with what she said but honestly I wished at that moment not to hear more. The two women combined took a serious toll on my psyche that day.
I assisted her house guest, who I had featured in an article a while back, as much as I could and she left smiling. The smile made me feel better, as she had come in tears. But I am not sure I could keep her smiling much longer even as I try to get her as much assistance as she needs.