Kwame Attah won the name Borga after he traveled to the United States and came back in the year 2001. Borga Attah loved his new name because it came with many privileges and… responsibilities. He was hailed by women of the Bramo Community as a saviour, praised by fathers as the best role model for all children and was made an example used to insult and ridicule men who were not doing well in their jobs, and he had many women clamoring for his attention.
Borga Attah however hated the fact that many people thronged his house to beg for money, provisions, clothes and even stayed in his house to eat freely. Extended family members also sprouted like weeds around him; those he knew, and always a different batch of those he did not know. He devised a plan during his visits, staying for only three days in his house and relocating to a rented apartment after. When he told them he was leaving, many brought him lists of things they needed upon his return. And the calls never ceased when he returned back to the US until he changed his number.
He had refused to get married because many women threw themselves at him. He had three children with three different women at 42. As a caregiver in an elderly home in the United States, he struggled to get his money. Working long hours by changing the diapers of old men, bathing them, feeding them and making sure they were in good health condition. And most of his wages went into paying rent, utilities and the insurance on his car. It was tiring but smooth until Corona Virus became an epidemic, and a pandemic. His work place turned into a scare. They screened people each day and sent workers who had high temperatures home without wages. Borga Attah couldn’t think of being jobless in America. So he booked his flight and headed back to Ghana before authorities closed the airport and the borders. As usual, he bought gifts for every household close to his, his parents, his sisters, his numerous girlfriends and his children.
When news got around that Borga Attah had arrived from the States, all houses shut their doors. Even the provision store close by his house closed. He woke up early morning and realized his car had been washed and parked but his security man was no where to be found. The house boy who was there had put on a black long sleeve shirt, black trousers with a full black pair of shoes, cotton gloves, a self sewn face mask and a hat even in the intense heat. One could barely see his eyes. He looked like a dangerous assassin.
“What is happening Akwasi?” Borga Attah asked.
“Massa, US and Corona. We’ve heard o. Even me, I have no where to go that’s why I’m still here o. Self… erm… protection…” Akwasi stammered.
“But all you need is a hand sanitizer, face mask and not this ninja dressing.” I will self quarantine but no need to be this uncomfortable around me. If that’s what you’ll do I’ll send you money on your mobile to go to your hometown so…”
“Yes Massa. I even miss my mother” Akwasi cut him off.
Borga Attah was so shocked but he sent him some money and within an hour, he was gone. It was as though he had already packed his bags.
After 14 days of self quarantine, Borga Attah decided to go out and greet his people. Immediately he opened his gate, he heard “w’apue ooo!”. Then he heard running feet. He was barely out when he realized the whole place was quiet. Not even a single soul was seen outside. He thought something was wrong and decided to survey the area but there was no one. He went back home, picked the neighborhood gifts and decided to go and greet and share. When he knocked on the gate of the next house to his left:
“Who is there?”
“It is me o Borga Attah”
Reluctantly the voice asked “What do you want?”
“I came to bring your gifts”
“Ei! My mother says we will not receive gifts this year. She is not even in the house. She traveled for a convention last week, ei…no to a funeral.”
Borga Attah could not believe his ears. He knocked on the next house.
“Who is there?” a female voice answered
“It’s me Borga Attah bringing you gifts from the US”
“Borga Attah. This one we thank you. Kindly leave the things at the door. We’ll pick it up later. My husband is sick so currently tending to him.”
Borga Attah asked to see him to see what he can do but the woman said he was asleep while she was giving him a bath. It was clear she did not want to see him.
He went on to the next house and after they got to know he was the one, no one responded to his voice. The other houses also never responded although he heard hushed voices within.
The other houses had circulated the information that Borga Attah was in the area hoping to share his Corona.
All of a sudden, he felt alone, sad and rejected. He went back, took his car and decided to go to one of his girlfriend’s houses. When he called her, she said she had traveled and would be back the next year. Almost all his girlfriends rejected his calls when they got to know he was in town although he had finished with his self quarantine.
Perplexed, he went to sit at a pub far off. There, he was joined by a woman who started a conversation.
“It looks like you have a lot on your mind man. My name is Gifty and I came from Italy just three weeks ago. I’m here out of boredom. After my quarantine, even my own parents’ friends won’t see them, let alone see me. They claim I may be hiding Corona. These are people I’ve helped over the years. Now they reject my gifts, badmouth me and run away from me. No matter what you’re going through, let it go. Life is like a chameleon, it changes at all times. The good thing is that it shows you the colours at a time and you learn from them. I look on the brighter side, after all this is over, no one can ask me for a gift. I can save up on my money and enjoy my life with my family.”
Borga Attah smiled and asked her what she wanted to drink. Suddenly, he felt good. He introduced himself as Kwame Attah for the first time in years in Ghana and he felt a weight lifted off his shoulders. Sure, this could be a blessing in disguise
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © April 2020.