“I am not hungry” Precious managed to blurt out of her mouth.
Tears has started flowing from her eyes.
What was exactly her problem?
It was a delicate situation that required tact to handle.
“Precious do you remember me?” I asked.
I needed to know what i was dealing with first. If she didn’t recognize me, then everything i was going to do or say was useless.
“Yes, brother Austin. Why did you leave me here? You promised to find me but you did not come” She said.
I wanted to ask why she didn’t attempt to find me when she was released at the Upsalla camp. Or why she didn’t leave Kiruna when she came here but it wasn’t the right time. The girl was crying and she couldn’t even stand up from the bed.
A quick look around revealed that there was no food whatsoever in the house.
I was going to find out what happened but first of all, i needed to fix her.
“I am sorry baby and i am here now. First we are going to find something to eat, then we return and pick your things; we are going away” I said.
I stood up and pulled her out of the bed slowly.
Philosophically, i knew that everything we did in life was never going to be successful; Some will fail. I had recorded success stories with most of the girls i rescued but one of them had just reminded me that nothing is really permanent in life.
I opened her wooden wardrobe to get her the clothes she needed but i was surprised to find out all her clothes were very dirty and stuffed on the ground. Despite the fact that the ones she currently wore was dirty, they were also the best i could see.
Where do you people wash your clothes?” I asked.
She said it was outside the building.
I brought out her clothes and stuffed them inside two buckets i saw in her room.
“Wait for me here” I said as i walked outside the heim to the supermarket i saw on my way in.
I bought some sweet bread and ice cream and soap.
Back in the heim, i gave her the foods and took the clothes downstairs near the tap.
It took me close to thirty minutes to finish washing the clothes. I spread them on the dwarf fence and returned to her room.
“Can you cook today?” I asked.
“So, why didn’t you cook what you eat?” I asked.
“I don’t have money and there is nobody to lend me money here. They pay us with stamps which can be used to buy some things in the supermarket. I wanted to sell my own and use the money to travel to Stockholm but nobody agreed to buy the stamps. I use them to buy things but it is almost finished now. I lost your phone number in the camp. The day they posted us out, they asked five of us posted here to enter a bus; then they drove us to this place. They told us not to leave the heim. If i had money, i would have come down to Stockholm. Since i couldn’t get you on the phone, i didn’t even know if you were still living in Stockholm or not. I hoped that you will come here one day”
“Let us go to the supermarket” I said as i pulled her up from the bed.
We got to the supermarket and and purchased One Chicken with the remainder of her food stamp. That was the only thing it could buy. There were also some grumbling from the Supermarket owner before she accepted the stamp. It seemed there was racial discrimination up there in Kiruna but i didn’t go there to combat that.
With my money, we purchased some more food items and went back to the heim.
My dear Precious wanted a packet of cigarette but a serious look from me scared her. I knew that returning her to normalcy was going to require tact. Perhaps i should have allowed her to smoke that one packet and slowly talked her out of the habit but i wasn’t a shrink. As long as i was concerned, her smoking days were over unless she didn’t want to leave Kiruna with me.
“How is Aunty Maria?” She asked on our way back to the heim.
“She is fine and she is missing you. She is in Italy now. Do you want to see her again?” I asked.
Precious nodded and an idea came to me immediately.
I called Maria and told her that i met Precious in Sweden. I also told her that she was coming down to Italy with me and that they were going to live together at the Levanzo Island.
She asked about Ngozi and i told her that Ngozi was to remain in Marseille and continue her schooling. She agreed it was a better idea.
While Precious cooked, i went into town to look for a hotel. It was true that the ice hotel was amazing but visiting it and having a look was as far as i could go. I wouldn’t want a block of snow to fall on my head while sleeping.
Imagine such news as “Ice Hotel collapsed in Sweden and killed four. A Nigerian was one of them” on a newspaper or perhaps on a major Cable news Network.
I had a laugh at the thought and decided i wasn’t going there.
The hotel prices in the city were high; whatever the reason was and as a result, i decided that we were traveling that night.
When i returned to the heim, the food was ready. Precious was eating while i came up with her clothes and spread them on the metal heaters in the kitchen and her room.
“We are leaving here tonight” I said as she put some food in a plate for me.
“We are getting our food stamps tomorrow” She replied.
“Since you can’t sell them here, what is the need?. There are only night trains from here to Stockholm. We could have waited until tomorrow and used the airport but you don’t have documents to fly. Put the rest of the rice and chicken in that food flask and pack up the things you will need in Italy. Your asylum process here is over. The good news is that if you are controlled anywhere in Europe, they will know that you took asylum in Sweden” I had said while i ate the jollof Rice.
She packed up her things and we talked for over two hours before her clothes dried up; then she picked them and arranged them in her bag.
We left the unguarded heim and took a cab to the Kiruna Train Station. The night train was not there yet; it gave us time to purchase tickets and waited inside an area where there was a heater to keep people warm.
Precious was going.
“The statistics on sanity are
that one out of every four
people is suffering from a
mental illness. Look at your 3
best friends. If they’re ok,
then it’s you”