I knew a lady who sat outside a mut hut concession, opposite a marsh where breezes blew palm fragrance in her face, to wait for alms. She leaned against a neem shade tree whose roots exhausted soil. I think she kept a garden of her own, although her fingers may have been misshaped for tilling earth. At any rate, she needed change for pharmacy antibiotics; passing on my way to church, I’d drop coins into her hands. I remember Sunday mornings spent in a baobab’s shade, clapping and signing of converts, a young man telling gospel, but most of all, a leper-lady whose fingers curled with leprosy like soft peeled bark. Her fingers could not feel my hand or anything that came their way. I wish I had the healing gift. All I could do was spare pennies for those outstretched hands, roses where no thorns are.