“My husband Adama always sees the bright side of things. Even if you yourself can’t see it, he sees that there might be a positive outcome.
We have different religions. He is Muslim and I am Catholic, and we know that we have the same God. With the children, we all pray together.
God is at the center of our lives. Sometimes, it’s possible for people to forget about you, but God, he is always there. Throughout the world, anyone can call on him: even if you are not a believer, this God is a God of love. You just need to say the word. Because what’s happening here, it’s pretty serious…If we give ourselves every chance to call on him, there is no reason he won’t do something. Anyway, that’s what I think…
The elderly – how do you say… They are vulnerable but when they tell you their stories, even their most difficult experiences, they know how to add some humor into it.
There are sad times too, when they feel lonely. I try to comfort them.
One day, an old lady told me she was sick of being cooped up here, that she couldn’t take it anymore, that she wanted to take action. I asked her: ‘What do you mean, take action? I don’t understand.’
She tried to explain, dancing around it… I told her, ‘But, I don’t know action! Is that a person? Who is it? Are you talking about me?’
She replied: ‘Oh, stop it! Cut it out, sweet Georgette! I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about the action!’
Me: ‘I don’t know action!!’
And she said: ‘When you have had enough of life, what do you do?’
I told her: ‘No, no, no, that is not a good solution…And when I come to your room, I want to see you smiling, talking about everything, about life, the styles you’re wearing, maybe the way you walk, that might inspire me…’ And she laughed and forgot about her sadness.
I start work at 9pm each night. There’s one woman who wears a hearing aide and last time when I entered her room, I realized something was off. I asked her: ‘Is something wrong?’
She said: ‘Oh, Georgette! You won’t believe it. All day, I’ve been sad.’
I said: ‘But why are you sad?’
‘I lost my hearing aide. I looked everywhere, others helped me, I looked and looked…and I haven’t been able to find it. I don’t know what to do because without it, I can’t hear anything.’
Whenever things like this happen, I hand them over to God. So when the lady told me that, deep in my soul, I called him: ‘Lord! What should I do? Help me to find this hearing aide! I must find it before leaving this room.’
So I looked and looked and looked… Just when I was about to leave, I saw the hearing aide! It was tangled up in a wool scarf that was tucked in a corner. Deep down, I said: ‘Thank you, Lord.’
She kissed me on the cheek and said: ‘Georgette, what would I have done without you tonight? Really, you’ve given me a reason to smile!’
The following night: ‘Georgette, I slept so well… like a baby!’
So, there you have it. With stories like this, you see that even the littlest things matter, and when you can make people smile, it’s amazing!
Tonight, I’m a little stressed, with everything that’s happening. But, you know, fingers crossed…”
Georgette works as a health aide alongside nurses in an EPHAD (assisted living nursing home) in Paris. She has two children with Adama, who is a garbage collector for the City of Paris.
English translation by Elizabeth Blood, Salem State University, April 2020