I first saw her standing by the roadside. For a moment she looked like a
normal old lady wanting to cross the road. Then I noticed that she was hesitant
about crossing even when the road was clear.
Quickly I walked over to her and
offered my hand. She took it. But as I tried to lead her across the road, she
resisted and said, in English, "I want to go to church."
Well, I had assumed
wrongly she wanted to cross the road whereas she wanted to go to a church on
this side of the road. Still, why was she standing by the roadside appearing to
want to cross ? I looked in the direction of the church and saw her problem.
Between us and the church's entrance was a kerb
meant for pedestrians to walk on, but inconsiderate people had parked their
motorcycles on the kerb making it impossible for anyone to walk on it. She was
forced to walk along the road, and she did not seem to be able to cope properly.
She was at least seventy and showed signs of geriatric
degeneration. Her steps were small and uncertain. She should not be out on her
own. Anyhow I led her by the hand step by step along the road towards the
church. On the way I suggested she get a walking stick. She replied that she
already had one given to her by her daughter. She said that she was just too shy
to use it in public. I would never have guessed that an old person could be shy,
but I guess they are still human, despite their age.
The reason for her to go
to church was to attend a function that was being held there that evening. It
took about three minutes for us to walk the thirty or so meters to the entrance.
There one of her church members recognized her and came over to greet her. The
old lady thanked me for helping her.
I nodded my head, released my hold on her
hand and headed off to where I was going
originally before I encountered her.