Gimba - the ward host
During the peak of the pandemic, I signed up to work as a cleaner in a Covid-19 ward at my local hospital, Whipps Cross. Within days, Gimba, our ward host, called me ‘my son’; I noticed she loved eating rice. Gimba migrated from Nigeria to Britain and has been working at the hospital for over a decade, commuting for 2 hours to get to work. On the day the photograph was taken, Gimba had received the terrible news from Nigeria that her mother had fallen ill and had been rushed to hospital. Gimba cried all day and was heartbroken that she couldn’t fly home to see her mother and look after her because of travel restrictions during the pandemic. She declined to take any time off, saying: 'I have to feed my patients’. I took this photo while Gimba was having lunch in the staff room, after having prepared meals for all eighteen COVID-19 patients in our ward. She was having chicken and rice.