We were out of registration paper for the lab, so we went to the local photocopy store. I stayed outside, I don’t like small stuffy buildings. I talked to people on the street. This women came up to me, she didn’t speak French, I couldn’t understand what she needed, but I shook her hand and felt something wrong. It didn’t feel right. I subtly looked down at her hand and right away I knew the problem. Knowing me, I bet my non-verbals gave it away! I must have had eyes wide open like a scared child. Most of her fingers were worn down, chopped off, looking like they were eaten away or rotten. This lady had leprosy.
I wanted to talk to her. I wanted to know if she knew! If she was being treated! If she needed medical attention before she lost any more of her fingers or toes!
Outside of the photocopy shop was a “fast food” joint. I thought I’d give that a go! Excuse me m’am.. could you help me translate? Fatou helped me talk to the lady and I found out that the elderly woman was known at the Leper’s house and had completed her treatment a while back. I was happy to let her go. She asked for money, I didn’t have any, but I offered to pray for her.
Once the elderly woman left, Fatou asked me for a gift in exchange for her translation services. I explained that I was a missionary and didn’t have any money. Then she asked for my earrings, I told her they were memories, she asked about my watch, I told her I needed it for work… She asked about my hair, I told her I had just cut it, it was already short, then she must have been joking, she asked for my teeth! I rhetorically asked who was going to pay me for the medical advice I provided, Fatou laughed and agreed to let me go.
My friends weren’t done printing yet, so I stayed with Fatou and chatted a bit. When I was about ready to go, Fatou called me back and ask if I could pray for her business like I had prayed for the elderly woman with Leprosy! I thought it was so sweet! That she would see the value of prayer and ask for me to bless her shop. So I did and also prayed for blessings over her family and all the students from the school that were having a quick bite in her shop. They all shouted, agreed and laughed.
I’ve seen Fatou every other day after that and she’d always make sure I’d have a seat in her shop to spend time with her and chat about life. I love that woman.