Saturday, October 3, 2009

Container Counselor

What do Coca-Cola and counseling have in common? They’re both dispensed by my friend Jummai who works for Faith Alive at the container-turned-soda shop. It sits at the curb directly in front of the clinic, and seats four Americans (or seven Nigerians – they don’t have an issue with personal space!). People (including doctors, nurses, maintenance staff, and patients) often stop there for a brief rest. They sip their sodas (usually lukewarm if the generator’s not on), talk about their day, and get encouragement and advice. She’s proof that you don’t need a PhD in counseling to be a compassionate listener who offers comfort and wisdom.

Because she sees everyone come and go, she helps people find out where someone is (has Greg come in today?), pass along a message (will you please tell Nkiru I’ll be late for lunch?), and let people know where you’re going (I’m going to the sewing school). One day Dr. Chris showed up at the hair salon with a Save-A-Life patient as I was getting my hair washed; I was surprised until I remembered Jummai was on duty.

In a perfect world she'd clone herself and run a container shop outside my house!

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