FATSUMA ( A Poem) by Terver Chieshe

“I am deaf and dumb

But lovely and great

Hardworking and determined

To create jobs for others

Using my God given talents”



In the morning she wakes up

Practical and lively

Possessed by a great creative spirit

No! She doesn’t hear the cock’s crow

But she doesn’t wait for sunlight

She leaves her bed at the crack of dawn

And speaks to God within her mind


“No one needs to know me

Oh lord my God

But you have made me so beautiful

That someone must notice me

Even today

Oh! Allah na

I am very happy that people will notice me

I’m not really seeking notice

But I delight in the great possibilities

You set before me each day


The little things I do

Will surely be noticed

And someone will be proud of me


Thank you Allah for yet another day

To save and invest

To gain and re invest

To make sure others benefit from my talents


Oh! Allah

Are you not wonderful?

Thank you for the privilege of school

I know I can learn a lot more each day

Thank you Allah

For all my school teachers

Thank you especially

That I can read and write”


She then leaves her room

Goes out to the kitchen

Washes the water pot

Takes the big basin out

And heads towards the nearby well

To fetch drinking water for the house

She cooks the breakfast silently

And gets food ready for her sibs to eat

Before they go to school


She doesn’t feel sad

That she could not afford to complete

Her education up to the primary school certificate level

She knows she would pass the exams

If given the opportunity

But she realises that her parents

Cannot afford the fees

Even this does not depress her


“A happy person learns to bake bread

With whatever type of flour

Allah offers to her”


One thing she knew for sure

Was that she would never beg for a living


She was deaf and dumb

But she always reminded herself

That she was also lovely and great


Many times each day

She would say to herself

“I’m deaf and dumb

But lovely and great

Hardworking and determined

To create jobs for others

Using my God given talents”


She wrote this down

On a piece of paper

And kept it in her Koran


Every evening after her Sallah

She would engage the almighty

In a discussion

Great creator”

She would say

“Thank you for making me who I am

As I am

And where I am

Thank you particularly

For my parents

My brothers and sisters

Thank you for making me deaf

To the noise of this empty world

Thank you for sealing my lips and my tongue

With your divine restraint

You made me this way

For your goodness

Ah! Maaliki yaw midi din

Master of the day of judgement

I know you will on that great day

Open my ears to hear your voice

And permit my tongue

To sing your praise

Iyaka nabudu wa

Iyaka nasta in

Alhamdu lilaahi rabil Alamin”


She’d spend her nights in deep slumber

And dream out great things

Her talents were capable of

Let us see her dream

“I can read and write

So I must study the great book

To find out the will of my creator

And observe his teachings”

“I can read and write

So let me write down

My thoughts and dreams

So that I can always   be reminded

By my book

What I plan to do

And what I dreamt of in my youth

Certainly, if I write my thoughts and dreams,

Someone somewhere will read them someday

And even if I have not accomplished them

Other people could use my lines of thought

And creatively involve their relations and friends

With the help of my ideas”


“I shall not beg

I’m too talented

To spend my useful time

Asking for alms”


“I shall never look down

On those who are needy

Because I believe

That they are equally gifted

And each of them needs someone

To help them appreciate

How lovely and great they are”


“I know I can help people

By praying for them

But I can also reach them

Through simple deeds

That I’m capable of”


“I can cook, I can wash

I can farm, I can be a tailor

Or learn to weave

But is that all?

I can read good books

And write my own

I can paint

I can draw

I can snap pictures

Oh! I can make videos

And plant gardens

And do lots and lots of beautiful things


Oh! Allah na

I can listen to you in my heart

Or will you not speak to me?


Allahu Akbar

Great God! You are wonderful

I know you made me deaf and dumb

But lovely and great

Hardworking and determined

To create jobs for others

Using my God given talents”


Her name was Fatsuma

She was eleven years old

And she felt strong,

Purposeful and determined

Built for self actualization


She had known about the school

For the deaf and dumb in our village

The missionaries ran the school

Her parents had no sure source of income

But when she was seven,

She met some deaf children coming from school

So she traced the school the following day

And hung around the classrooms


One of the teachers noticed her

And tried to communicate to her

Fatsuma felt totally confused but excited

The teacher took her to Sister Gwen’s office

Where gradually, with sign language

Sister Gwen started interacting with her


That day, she was enrolled

Into St Francis’ school for the deaf and dumb

Oh! How happy she felt as she eagerly learnt

The sign language in the years that followed


After school that day

Sister Gwen drove her home

To her parent’s house

Which was in a state of disrepair

She talked to Fatsuma’s parents

About the value of education

They were not really bothered

For them, Fatsuma was deaf and dumb

And could not be of much help

So whatever she enjoyed doing

Might as well be encouraged

However, they could not afford

To pay her school fees


Sister Gwen told them not to worry

About school fees at least while

She was still around


When Fatsuma had learnt the sign language well

And was able to read clearly,

She was overjoyed


Most of the pupils in St Francis’ were Christians

But Fatsuma was a muslim.

She loved Islam

And the great prophet Mohammed

(Peace be with his soul)


One day before Sister Gwen would return

To her homeland in Canada

Fatsuma asked Gwen if she could

Get a copy of the Koran for her


With great delight

The reverend sister

Ordered for a Roman transliteration of the holy Koran

And gave it to her as a present


Fatsuma was very happy indeed

This was the most beautiful present

She had ever received

She would treasure not just the book

But the divine messages of the holy angels

Meant to be memorised and recited

By all the faithful

As no one will have no excuse

Before Allah


Already she was aware

Of the great day of judgement

And her greatest desire

Was to know the way of those

Whose portion is not the wrath of God


I watched her pass through our compound

Every day on her way

To and from her school

Following a bush path

I loved watching her

The fact that she loved to study

So intrigued me

That one day

As she was coming back from school

I tried to communicate with her

But I had no knowledge of sign language



She could read and write

So she took out her biro

And wrote on a paper

“What are you saying?”

I wrote a reply


“Thank you”, she replied

Again i wrote


Then she wrote down







I have watched her growing gently

Into a lady

Truly lovely and great

Hardworking and determined


I look forward to appreciating

The great fruits of her life

In this vast world

Of ubiquitous opportunities



Dr. Terver Chieshe lives in Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria.





Some all-rounded writer with the wits to turn anything and everything to words with inspiration... cheering to glory and on...

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