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Tribute: We’ve just lost a friend

Tribute: We’ve just lost a friend

Everybody on that day agreed that we’ve all just lost a friend. Lucinda Daniel-Baio. The world was my witness.

Before I proceed, may I please suggest that we choose to treat this piece as an account of an action completed in the past, just so that we pretend it never was true at all.  That Lulu died.   (Photo: At NASSIT where she had her internship)

We’ve just lost a friend. Not just me. Imagine how it felt for the graduating class of 2011 Mass Communication Department, the Muslim Jamaat and the fraternity that informed her votes in the students’ union elections, all of them at Fourah Bay College.  Her passion for learning was compassionately unshakable.  That characteristic intuition was the reason she had problems with anybody who felt she could not learn.

We indeed lost a friend.  But what about her two-day old baby boy and her husband?  They lost her at a time they needed her most.  Probably the most bereaved of us all was her mother, Mama Mariama.  She was still struggling to forget the angst of her son’s death in September of last year, two years after her husband died in 2008.

Our hearts are with Mama Mariama. ‘Wonde’, as Lucinda had fondly called her, lost all three of her friends in four successive years – first her son and later her husband.  Now the only daughter, her best friend, in a family with six siblings, was gone too. Too bad to be true!

I can’t believe we’ve just lost a friend. That was the inspiration from which I drew the title of my eulogy.  On Thursday September 8, 2011 she was in labour.  On Friday September 9, 2011 she was no more.  The next day (in her own Bo town) she was gone; and by the end of that rainy Saturday we bade her final, final farewell.  Rest in peace our dear Lulu.

However, her deeds live on.  Her past lives with us.  Memories of her ways now remind us all of our ways even while we live, always.

We lost her to the prevailing health neglect.  A system she so believed in that she had to write her dissertation on the free healthcare  – for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children below age five.  Her life could have been saved.  Or better still, she could have saved her own life, but was certainly too weak to revisit her expertise on the free healthcare.  She had done an extensive research on the country’s free healthcare initiative in partial fulfillment for her Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Comm.  She could not live to share that expertise with the world.

The Lucinda She Was

I’ve known Lulu, as we fondly called her, for only five years.  Those years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds were like more than the 26 years she had on planet earth.  Therefore, I was sure that the day that she died, the world lost a very special woman.  She was the type that was more concerned about doing the right thing than she was about doing the easy thing.

Although she wasn’t perfect, she aspired to the best . Thus, if she had to dress for the reopening of schools, she did so with the colours, styles and brand names that stood out among her peers.  If she had to work on her assignments, she worked on them in good time and explored the best presentation formats.  If she had to read for her exams, she got everybody around her to think, behave and feel like her.  Tenacious!

Her love for her mother and younger ones was made obvious in the way she always spoke of them, and bragged about their every contribution to her accomplishments.

Lucinda was disciplined to a fault, yes, but she was very broadminded.  She easily got annoyed, probably the reason why her friends couldn’t afford to offend her at all.  She was too emotional to withstand heckles, jibes and snubs from friends, not even when they were meant to be jokes.  She just could not talk back at her friends who opposed her trivialities without shedding tears.  And even where she never wanted to hurt her friends she had almost always done so because she was afraid of the impressions they might hold about her.

Yes, she was afraid and she was right.  Those who saw her go into the theater on the night that she underwent a caesarean operation confirmed that she was just afraid.  And she had every reason to be afraid.  As if she knew it, she was probably not sure of what was going to become of her.

Rest In Peace

By Tanu Jalloh

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