Joy sits in the see through kiosk, fanning herself with a dirty cloth. Mandy, Saa and Korley sit outside complaining and cursing their fate. Mɛɛ vilus hu nɛ? Ewɔɔ te wɔ baa fee tɛɛ ni wɔna niyeni? Korley asks no one in particular.
The question keeps bugging her. All she has left is 78 Ghana cedis. She has to pay rent of 20 cedis per week, she needs to eat, she needs to bath daily for 2 cedis, and the toilet costs her 1 cedi too. Not to talk of water in this heat. With this ban on them to stay in, how will they survive?
Joy thinks back on how it all started. Her mother’s death, the debts, her uncle’s payment and his subsequent demand for repayment. Because she couldn’t pay, he asked for sex. A junior high school drop out with no one to assist her, she just had to give in at a point. There was also nothing like free education then. After tasting that pain over and over again, and getting no where in gains, she decided to travel to Accra. She first sold iced water by the street. But her madam got all the profit and all she got daily could not sustain her. Saa, who was always loitering about but looked good told her about her work. At first she was scandalized but she thought about it. Even her uncle had her in exchange of her mother’s debts. So she decided to try it once, get money to buy a pan and maybe some sachets of water and some blocks of ice to start her business.
The man she met that night turned out to be something sweet. He liked her, sucked her, kissed her all over her body and fucked her like she never had been before. She never thought sex could be that sweet. For the first time she felt alive. And on top of that, he gave her 100 cedis. A whole 100 cedis just for few minutes. She felt at that moment that she could work like that, save money and even get a single room to rent. But she needed beautiful clothes and she needed them daily. She needed beautiful wigs and she needed to change them at least weekly. She needed beautiful earrings and she needed to chase the trends. She needed beautiful shoes, sandals, heels, panties, etc. In the end, instead of saving, she realized she was rather in debt. She kept sleeping with all sorts of men as days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months and months became years. She was 16 years old when she came to Accra. She is now 34 years old with just 78 cedis in her hands in a partial lock down.
Joy stole into the night to see if she could get a client. There was no one on the street. On top of her woes, she was caught by one of the area hooligans who brutally fucked her until she bled. She did not know whether the man was a donkey or a lion. Men don’t usually have that much strength. As if that was not enough, she was caught by the security men who made her do m’aso yɛ den menti asɛm for minutes on end until she collapsed. She woke up to the shocked faces of the soldiers. They saw the blood on her and warned her never to step outside until there are directives to. Then they let her go.
She stares at the bottle with different antibiotics, contemplating on taking them all to end it or live on. She has heard there are some foods being shared. It is for head porters and not night workers. She does not want to think of herself as a prostitute. That word offends her to no end, ashawo kills her very soul and makes her sad. She keeps thinking of what her mother will think of this living, this amorous living with no rewards. She sees droplets on her thighs and realizes she has been crying, seriously crying. Saa, Mandy and Korley rush in, see her, all kneel around her, build a hug wall around her and cry together. Mandy saying through her tears It is well. It will be well. It can be well, can it be well? It is well.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © April 2020. Photo Credit: Google Pics