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Jacques: The story of an outpatient who became a Gardener & Poet

The Gardener is an outpatient called Jacques, nicknamed “Fofo-Jacques”.
This story began about 4 years ago. The Director of the centre found a man who used to wander the city and who used to sleep at the University of Lomé. He said that the university belonged to him.

They brought him to the centre, and he was admitted for 2 months in hospital. He received treatments, medicine, and was fed. Everything was covered by the hospital. Till date, when Fofo-Jacques needs his medicines or when he is sick, the hospital St John of God gives it to him for free. When he was at the hospital, they were able to find and notify his family. Fofo-Jacques explained that he studied at the University of Lomé and he went to Ivory Coast to do carpentry.
The mental health problems appeared as a result of an incident there. He came back to Lomé but he had nothing left, and became homeless.

Jacques and Roxane

After the treatment at the hospital, Fofo-Jacques was reunited with his family but he couldn’t find a job. So, he asked at the hospital for a job and they employed him.
Thanks to his salary, he was able to put money aside with the director and some months later he could buy himself equipment like a bed and a mattress.

I met Fofo-Jacques, he was happy to discuss with me, and explained to me his work at the centre and what he is doing outside.

Our meeting:
Fofo-Jacques is around 38 years old, he has been working at the centre for almost 3 years. He works 3 days a week. He travels in from his village outside of Lomé and does odd jobs like, clearing up, cleaning windows, cutting weed etc… He likes his job and seems grateful to work at the centre. He likes to be useful and is happy working in a familiar place.

Fofo-Jacques describes himself also as a writer. He writes religious texts (like religious quantum, songs and poetry). According to him, The Lord asked him to do it. He asked him to write His word, to accomplish its works. What Fofo-Jacques really wants now is to build a temple for God. For the moment he sells his texts but he would like to create a book with all his texts and sell it in a bookshop.

Fofo-Jacques seems to be a very religious person, I think religion is important to him. It takes an important place in his life.

He generously gave us one of his texts and proposed to sing it! It was a very touching moment.

I tried to ask more about his past when he was at the centre as a patient, but he seemed a bit embarrassed so I didn’t insist and we moved on.

Today Fofo-Jacques looks much better; he has a good job and an income. He lives in a house in the same village with his family. Writing and gardening are his passions. Jacques is dating and hoped they would have been married by now, unfortunately, he does not have the dowry.

Nicolas Robert, an amazing French photographer living in Togo, also on the team of the Foundation offered to cover his wedding. If anyone could help Jacques get married it would put a smile on many faces.