The Very Last Shot: Tribute to a Fallen Sister and Colleague
It was Friday 26th December, 2014 (Boxing Day) at about 5pm local time (China), whilst having a rest after my last presentation of First Semester’s Final Papers that I was suddenly awoken by a terrible vibration produced by my cell phone. I reluctantly and tiredly picked it up. It was a WhatsApp message from our Group’s Administrator, Bro. Denis Ketima (Kissy Baptist Church WhatsApp forum). I felt the unexpected shock when I read the message about the demise of another committed sister and colleague in the service of the Lord. Her name is Jeneba F. Makieu aka Fema. She was medically confirmed to die of malaria at the Rokupa Government Hospital, Freetown in the early hours of Boxing Day. Before her death, she used to be our Galilean Youth Secretary; one of the Good News’ (children wing) workers, and a chorister of the Kissy Baptist Church respectively. Little do I need to state here that she had been committed in her duties in all those wings or groups of the church- what a loss! (Photo: Jeneba F. Makieu aka Fema)
She had been a smiling figure (an attribute of her mother, Mrs. Makieu), respectful and humble. Never had she ever called my name without using “Mr.” within and without the church. As a Galilean Youth Secretary, Jeneba inspired me greatly in attending fellowship meetings. She used to tell me with a shy smile and cool but convincing voice in our local parlance “Ay Mr. Saidu you bin promise for cam meeting past Tuesday or Saturday but ar nor see you” meaning I had not fulfilled my promise of attending fellowship meeting on Tuesday or Saturday evening. No wonder on a particular night after rehearsal Jeneba appointed me to do exaltation (brief Bible reading and interpretation) on another meeting evening. Knowing how much I was busy with office work I smiled but reluctantly accepted only for her to later receive an excuse from me that I would not make it to the meeting that evening. Disappointed again I guessed she was, that which she expressed to me during the following Sunday divine service.
Jeneba knew how to cajole members for fund raising or contribution. I remember her insisting I had a dash card for past October’s Youth Anniversary despite me informing her I had to sign with a certain amount the dash cards of the entire membership including hers. “Ar know Mr. Saidu, but you sef for get one dash card” was her reply. No further excuse from me but to accept her wish.
During choir rehearsals on Friday nights she had always been shy of any scolding statement or comment from our Choir master, organist or any other executive member. When usually asked to open or close rehearsals with prayers, Jeneba would first smile with shy before continuing. Not that she had not been outspoken but that she had just been expressing her character of being shy with obedience and humility.
My final personal encounter with her was on 31st August, 2014 when I attended my farewell service before leaving three days later for studies in China. It was the Good News Thanksgiving Service and as usual Jeneba was busy organizing the children. Taking memorable photos of colleagues and other members during the service, I had cause to point my camera towards the direction and person of Fema (as she was popularly called) whilst delivering the Good News Wing’s annual report, never did I know I was later going to use that photo on her tribute piece like this. Indeed, it was my last snap shot of a sister and colleague in the vineyard of God Almighty. And even when bidding them farewell as a group on the night of Tuesday 2nd September, 2014 before my departure for China the following morning, Jeneba was amongst those that rendered prayers for my safe trip, healthy and successful stay.
However, you have embarked on a journey that requires no such prayers. On 31st August, 2014, you joined colleague choristers and the entire church congregation in bidding me farewell with my favorite hymn song “Sweet Hour of Prayer”. Here I am today not opportune to extend same to you before taking your final rest. I am even absent to say bye. You will be sorely missed by the Galilean Youths, the Choristers, and the entire church congregation. Indeed, the surest event on earth for any man born of a woman is death- a respecter of no age, sex, colour or origin. We loved you but God needed you most. Sleep and take your rest sister Jeneba. Till we meet again on that beautiful shore, I say farewell, farewell, farewell- Tears …
Saidu M. Sesay
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