Diary for Project Keep A Warrior Warm Phase 3 As Written By A Volunteer – Toyosi Abikoye

Dear Diary,

by Abikoye Oluwatoyosi

*Issa Crimson Bow something*

I woke up, a little tipsy from last night drink at the law dinner. It was awesome, I can never forget the look when I ordered for a plate of *“Amala on the spot”* in place of the Chinese others ordered. That Amala ehn…….follows the name. It was on the spot, Unrivaled. After I had it, all those chicken hearted lawyers followed suit. All dem follow follow.
I woke up *9:12am*. Toyo, when they say be there at 9am, you are waking up at 9:12am. Hmmmm. I sha got up. I was careful not to say I would make it, should I actually not make it. So, it wouldn’t be a second time, I will be promising and failing.
I left the house 10:10am got a cab and the estimate price for the cab was fair enough and I was to arrive at the venue for 10:40am. I got to the Expressway Primary School, even a blind man won’t miss it. Dropped at the gate and walked the stretch.
I have never ever met anyone at CrimsonBow before, so I got my introductory skills on. I spotted Timi Edwin…..Mama CrimsonBow. Her red lipstick unmistakable and trust me, she was hot de-la trot. Then I met Greg, towering over me like King of the North (Hey, I have never watched the series, so if I am wrong with the title, please feel free to re-adjust that) He was indeed towering over me. Toyo is a *very* petite lady.
I met Timi’s mum (what a sweet Mama, couldn’t believe how pretty and flawless she looks), Pelumi was also great (Did his camera thingy well and I remember I caught him playing football) Hell yea, I could have joined him too. But, then you will get to know what made me laugh, petrified, shocked, annoyed and at the same time grateful.
Oh I forgot, I met Boluwatife (awesome lady, works like a workaholic, effortlessly and diligently picking and dropping stuffs, she made everything look like ABC), Emuesiri (tough lady with a very tender heart. She kept me rolling with laughter almost all day, particularly when she asked if I have ever worked in a pharmacy before.) I wonder too. Maybe I have o. Who knows. I also met ermmmmmm…..ermmmmmm…….what is her beautiful name again? I remember now Temilade, She is one strong wonder woman. Then I met the brothers, that initially confused me as a twin, too identical to not be twins, to my shocking amazement, they are not. Can’t remember their names. Then Jumoke, the happy one. She had the kids under control, mehn I admire her.
A little bit of packing here and there. biscuit,

happy hour, sweets, cakes, chinchin……. etc. The party packs was wonderfully packed. Even the drugs was not spared, we had to count, I could not stop laughing at Emuesiri hopelessness at getting the figures right. Timi had said a particular number of Vit.C per pack, I remembered, but Emuesiri face at each count was priceless. I still relish the moment. She looked like a puppy all the way. It was one hell-of-a-work, but one that’s worth it every step of the way.

Fast forward to the part that I almost missed. Thanks to my friend for covering for me. I really cannot believe all that my eyes saw yesterday. *You know what really happened?* *Story* *Story*………………..*Storyyyyyyy*
The place was virtually empty when I got there at 10:50 thereabout, it was filled to the brim and guess what? The rain was not going to stop any one o. let it fall and just kuku beat us all together.
There was genotype testing by Nirvanna for 120 people, Kids mostly. A few of us from CrimsonBow had to do the *Sorry you hear* *pressing down* *holding down* *wiping tears* and above all the smiling part. *When I got tired, I used sweets.* Who says children cannot keep still and be pained in the face of sweets? Some children will collect your sweet and still cry o. Those ones don’t even send at all. They are the sure-banker cry criers.
I remember a particular kid whose name was *Mohammed Saba* He knew other kids kept screaming and crying, but the poor lad couldn’t make out what went wrong with his peers. He sat still on his mother’s lap, allowing his mother to care about the world. Then the needle pricked his vein……..oh my God….how I survived being deaf is a miracle. He screamed, yelled words only the angels could have revealed to him. In fact, I had to duck a misfired punch. I stared, in that tiny teeny moment, the ordeal was over. He cried inconsolably. I laughed for all the cares in the world.
Then there was a woman (this one is like the great Amina) who had predicted what her children will be. The younger daughter will be a doctor and the elder daughter a lawyer. I and Temilade keyed into the fans club like we wrote a script. *Doctors don’t cry* * go Doctorrr* go Doctorrrr*  the babe didn’t cry. She didn’t even flinch. Then the to-be lawyer, sat and we chanted *the law* *lawyer* *lawyers, don’t cry* I caught the sting of tear, but the girl couldn’t let her mum down, the tear went straight back to where it came from. Those were the most forbearing children of all time.
That kid that said his name was baddooooo………and yea, his tears was so bad, It sounded like thunder. The sound assaulted my ears. I can’t stop laughing. I was greatly disappointed at his charade of courage. I sha warned him that the name baddoooo was absolutely unfit for him today and forever. And most of the kids that closed their eyes so badly, they didn’t even know when the needle was out. I had to open their eyelid or whisper, its over lad, its just like it never happened. They didn’t even trust me.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, relishing the moment from happiness to exhaustion…I opened my eyes and I saw this kid dancing his heart out. I wish he could see himself ten years from now and laugh out loud at how ridiculous he threw his body. I was laughing with him, for he was truly happy. Such a dance for a small body. I dared to look west from where I sat and I was amazed at how more than to 300 kids got gift. Then to my East, some guys played ball and when I looked behind me, I saw Pelumi playing football, I just wished I could join him in that free spirit mood. I smiled. The environment was perfect for an outreach.
The annoying part was some mothers were just so mean and ready to give default-setting slaps or hit their already petrified children. It was as though the kids were facing their executioners (the needle man) and yet, their mum stood there with the threats I will slap you now, if you don’t sit down and allow them do their work. I told one mother, this is wrong.
The most terrifying one was David’s mother. She gave him some slaps because his younger brothers have given their blood samples and David didn’t even want to sit. I wonder how such child would succumb between the devil and the deep blue sea (slaps and syringe). Some kids will go for the slaps. A little beg here and there, tap, pat, many many English and particularly the pleading from the *Nirvania End Sickle cell initiative* guy worked. That guy is good with children. Like he could just walk into their psychic and get them to do the task even with tears in their eyes, they obey him. That’s some mystic power mehn….
Hmm…you see ehn, there was one other mother who nearly slapped her two kids and when it was her turn Mama said *mio like abere* meaning *I don’t like needles* I almost rounded her a slap. I remember myself saying *My frien(without the *d*) will you keep quiet. She had her samples collected looking at me like a witch, the unconquerable child. She was ready to throw tantrums to the zenith of the sky. After much unsuccessful attempts, we declared her unfit.
In the midst of this, dear diary, I sat and wondered, if it was not for CrimsonBow, I would never have watched in person the pricking of skins with needles, met awesome people. I dare to say that for kids, facing a syringe automatically make the lab scientist the devil.
The drum crew, Goal.com, Nirvania initiative and DJ did an awesome job. The kids had a wonderful time and it was a perfect work. The smile, aww! mmmmm! ahaaaaaaa! When clothes were distributed to the kids, made a memorable one. A particular girl got a dress. I could tell the future of that dress. She will rock it till it either tears or she grows out of it.
I had a really good time. Everyone had something to do and I wonder if this was not someone’s initiative and the spirit to dare to take a bold step, actually, the event would never have taken place.
Diary, what am I forgetting ooooooooo. Too many details.  I remember the kid who gave me hi-5 and the ones that said thank you. And the one that I caught with minds in the air, she kept wondering what we want to use their blood to do(to this one I could not stop explaining) she was just a sit filler who wanted the packs and everything else was nothing to her.
I refuse to tell you my changing of clothe exercise. You this diary like to poke nose into what does not concern you. Today, ayam too tired to tell you everything. No…I wont write this one. Ahan………..
I must state that the jollof rice was amazing and Musa was so grateful when I handed him my pack. Was too hungry to negotiate my food. I am sure Musa will bless aunty Timi because he will wonder where I had been to have brought such pack home.
I use this medium to celebrate all of you here, who give out our time, resources, prayers, support and encouraging words to promote this cause. Don’t you ever think you are not making an impact, this is so bigger than the impact Nigeria is making on her citizenry as a whole.
I remember the hugs, the smiles, the handshakes and hi5, the strength from friends and the need to stand and make nothing fall apart. I can’t put to paper all that I feel and this, is a great understatement post. I promise to improve on my post next time. But, my inescapable conclusion is that *It can only get better* *great warriors and advocate* *little miracles touching lives of those that we will never meet again*.
Thank you CrimsonBow for this experience.
And to those who can make it next week Saturday for the get together, please be there. You have to be there, You must be there, before Emuesiri will pick me up on it *lights out*

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