The Making Of Orgiastic Cyprian by Oppong Clifford Benjamin

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Episode III

The Making Of Orgiastic Cyprian is an episodic fiction by Oppong Clifford Benjamin which focuses on educating its readers on the sacredness of sex and how the pleasurable act can be a divine form of prayer between a creature and his creator. The story centres on a mysterious sect of young women between the ages of seventeen and thirty called The Ancient Aphrodisiac Cult (The ACC). The cult is strictly invented out of the creativity of the writer. However, some settings in the story are real.

We hope you enjoy this episode as well as the others to come.

Despite its vastness, the temple of Ishtar was widely known for its detailed designs of the interiors and the ancient sexually inclined activities that occurred therein. Faulckman Johan, a celebrated historian, in his popular documentary on Ancient Sex among early Babylonians that earned him a world-wide recognition described the temple as ‘a dainty piece of architecture, starting from earth and thrusting the eyes of God in the heavens.’ He, however, had a lot more to say about the two columns which were placed at the entrance; ‘most substantial pillars holding in highest esteem the glory of the temple.’ According to the history of the ACC as recorded in the early chapters of Longman’s Blue Ritual of the Sex Cult, the left pillar was named after Hamamat in the 1400s. The honour was done Her after she had served as a medium through which many Egyptian kings of the time were elevated from men to gods. Put differently, the powers in the ancient mysteries were conferred on them. And that on the right was after Baba Binlawa, Hamamat’s husband, who was never seen because he always visited his wife at odd hours and also because he was not in any physical form. Rumours. Some books said he was the mysterious smoke that rose from the hollow inside of the right pillar to the high skies whenever Hamamat danced and others of a more informed guess said he was the heavy air that had the exclusive seductive power to make Hamamat reach orgasm.
Faulckman used ten minutes of the thirty five minutes video documentary to talk about the sexual discovery of Baba Binlawa. In a morning’s winter, Faulckman narrated, Hamamat stood naked at the porchway, around the right pillar and moved her hips slowly in circles, her hands thrown in the sky like a helpless prostitute, her tender breasts scored the giant pillar, she stroke her tongue about the white clay surface of the pillar. It was as if she was dancing to an erotic silent music. Linda Longman wrote that a heavy cold wind circulated Hamamat. The howl of the wind could be heard from a far, it sounded like a huge man groaning under intense pleasure.

And calmly, she would lie in the open, on the bleak concrete floor beneath the pillar, her long black legs widely spread towards the right pillar and her head towards the left, and she tucked the middle finger of her left hand in her moist vagina while the right was employed to engage her breasts in a hot self romance. In between short time intervals, she carefully removed the finger and licked it. She deliberately allowed the saliva to leak about the finger onto her flat tummy and down to her navel. She would gently restore the finger to its previous position in the vagina. And when she was at the climax of orgasm, she moaned a strange name, ‘Baba Binlawa’ Faulckman’s said in his documentary.

“Use the mat,you may be able to sleep.” Hamamat stretched his left hand to reach for the mat which stood folded in the corner over her head. She rolled it on the bare floor but sleep was not on the floor too. She just couldn’t close her eyes. She knew those scenes in her dreams,  they have been living with her since the beginning of dark that day.

Scene 1. the tattooed middle finger of  Miss Juan’s right hand floating in the warm air.

Scene 2. A tiny sleek voice luring Hamamat to lick the finger starting from the proximal to the distal.

THE MAKING OF ORGIASTIC CYPRIAN by OPPONG BENJAMIN CLIFFORD (EPISODE II)

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The Making Of Orgiastic Cyprian is an episodic fiction by Oppong Clifford Benjamin which focuses on educating its readers on the sacredness of sex and how the pleasurable act can be a divine form of prayer between a creature and his creator. The story centres on a mysterious sect of young women between the ages of seventeen and thirty called The Ancient Aphrodisiac Cult (The ACC). The cult is strictly invented out of the creativity of the writer. However, some settings in the story are real.

We hope you enjoy this episode as well as the others to come.

Episode II

Hymn No. 69

Who Will Plough My Vulva by the goddess Inanna.

My vulva, the horn
The Boat of Heaven,
Is full of eagerness like the young moon.
My untilled land lies fallow.

As for me, Inanna,
Who will plow my vulva?
Who will plow my high field?
Who will plow my wet ground?’

“Stop!
Stop it!
In the name of The Mother, stop!”

Miss Juan yelled. She felt the absence of the soul of the hymn. She pushed her gaze into the yellow morning sun which pussyfoot its grandeur through the concrete windows ahead of her. She quickly remembered how this particular hymn made men use their tongues to search for divinity in the vulva of glorified prostitutes in the temple and how the men blurt out feeling purified, holy and relieved of their sins in the early days. She had read about the Atonement of Sins through the art of licking the vulva too as a chapter in Linda Londart Longman’s book ‘Blue Ritual of the Sex Cult’, and wanted to return traditions and ancient usages to their rightful places in the ACC during her sovereignty as Most Perfect Chiliad.

“Our purpose here would be fruitless as it has been in the past two or so decades if we continue this languorous approach towards our sacred art.” Miss Juan cried out loud, her voice shook terribly when it hit the four walls of the sexy temple. She descended the ancient pedestal which since time immemorial stood in the east of the large hall. She directed the attention of the qadeshes assembled to certain characters impressed into the front surface of the pedestal, SIVDSPHIV.

“It’s an abbreviation. Who knows the meaning?”

Still pointing to the letters, Miss Juan asked the qadeshes while she scanned her wild eyes through the assemblage for an answer.

There were whisperings among the naked ladies, their bare breast stood horizontally upright and succulent as a result of the oil of Ishtar which they had daubed into their skins. It was a tradition among the ACC members to insert the middle finger into a lithic vagina full of oil and smear over the body concentrating on the breast’s pap before entry into the temple for any ceremony. In the old days, cow milk was used instead of the oil. The milk was a symbol of fertility. But this and many other traditions of the ACC had been relaxed either to the generational gap or the laziness of the qadeshes as Miss Juan would like to think.

After few minutes of speaking softly without the vibration of vocal cord, Louiselle knelt on her left knee, erected the right in the form a square and gave a court bow – a submissive request for permission to speak to the Most Perfect Chiliad. Louiselle was barely six months old in the cult but had shown intellectual penetration into the mysteries and secret arts of sex. She was Miss Juan’s best friend in the sisterhood. Sometimes she asked too many odd questions that narks Miss Juan; Three months after Louiselle’s initiation, she was set for her sanctification ceremony whereby the rituals required her to seduce ten men and engage five in a divine sexual intercourse. On that day, Louiselle almost lost her life after the fourth man among the five selected for sex was done with her, but the ceremony thus far would have been considered invalid if she gave up. Miss Juan was the Most Wise Lady as at the time, and the ritual allowed the Most Wise to aid a candidate in a ceremony.

Miss Juan, on that day, moved in calculated erotic steps to the centre of the circle of fire where the fifth man stood over Louiselle’s body ready to insert his rod. Miss Juan positioned her head against the black and hairy chest of the Nigerian man. The man was from a rich royal Yoruba family. It was a popular rumour among the qadeshes that Yoruba men especially their Princes had the biggest of penises and stayed in sex much longer than any man on earth. Miss Juan picked a fibril of hair on the man’s chest with her teeth; she pulled it slowly till it extirpated. She whispered softly into the man’s ears “pains begat pleasure” and knelt down before him, still fixed her gaze deep into the man’s eyes and she swallowed the 13 inches long dick in her mouth and gently held the head in between her teeth, delightfully hurting the man. “Slap me” she instructed Louiselle. “Why?” Angrily Miss Juan retorted “just slap me, I am not here for your stupid questions. Slap me very hard on the face and butts”. And when Louiselle did, Miss Juan finished the Yoruba man in five minutes in an aggressive doggie style, while Louiselle caressed Miss Juan’s G-spot with her tongue. The heavy black man groaned like a lost ghost behind the butts of Miss Juan. He carefully withdrew his dick from her juicy vagina and sprayed his semen all over the butts of Miss Juan who was passionately transferred the thermal energy of her body to Louiselle in a titillating tongue-to-tongue kiss.

“Si Invenerit Vir Dei Secreta Pubentes Herbae In Vaginam”

“And what is its English translation?” Miss Juan asked Louiselle, climbed the footstall again and sat majestically in the east from whence she presided over all meetings of the cult. On her wooden pedestal was a book which contained sacred writings, a stony miniature of an opened vagina receiving penetration from an erected penis (logo of the ACC) and an ancient gold plated metallic staff which was presented as a gift to Hamamat (the first Most Perfect Chiliad) by an Egyptian King after his apotheosis. It was well known among mystics that most men with solomonic lineage visited the temple of Ishtar to be transformed into gods the better to enable them rule their people with a degree of supernatural superiority.

Louiselle drew back her lips and revealed her teeth in a totally innocent grimace. She had a faint idea about what the Latin words meant in English, but she knew they had something to do with the paragon of men to gods.

“errm! I pray you to forgive my ignorance, Most Perfect Chiliad,”

“Si Invenerit Vir Dei Secreta Pubentes Herbae In Vaginam

Man shall be God if he found the secrets in a juicy vagina” Miss Juan said aloud, her voice sounded harsh like an insult to the ignorance of the qadeshes.

“Yes, I knew it had something to do with apotheosis”

“Will you shut it?” Louiselle reflexively covered her mouth with her palm and felt sheepish. But she was not too much affected emotionally because it was not the first time Miss Juan had been abrasive with her.

Miss Juan explicated further “The vagina possesses the natural ability to create man in the image of God via sex” She paused and swallowed saliva to lubricate his dry throat and continued “It necessarily follows that we, women, are makers of gods. Thus superior to a God by virtue of the vagina we possess. We are complex heavenly entities descended on earth to multiply gods to cover the face of earth like the sands of the shores” There was cute silence in the hall. Miss Juan raised the gold plated staff, the symbol of her authority, in the air and slammed it against the flat surface of her pedestal three sequential times to forcibly attract the attention of the gathering.

“Louiselle has proposed a special candidate for initiation into our sacred cult. The girl carries the name of the Great Mother, Hamamat and strangely, she hails from the same town our Mother derived her birth and infant nature-Bolgatanga in a west African country called Ghana” she addressed the qadeshes and later warned them “It could be the Great Mother reincarnated so I want her ceremonies of invitation and initiation perfectly conducted in spirit. And to achieve this, every one of you must start seeing herself as a superior entity to a god. Tonight is the invitation ceremony.”

The Making Of Orgiastic Cyprian by Oppong Clifford Benjamin

The Making Of Orgiastic Cyprian is an episodic fiction by Oppong Clifford Benjamin which
focuses on educating its readers on the sacredness of sex and how the pleasurable act can be a
divine form of prayer between a creature and his creator. The story centres on a mysterious sect
of young women between the ages of seventeen and thirty called The Ancient Aphrodisiac Cult
(The ACC). The cult is strictly invented out of the creativity of the writer. However, some settings
in the story are real.
We hope you enjoy this episode as much as the episodes to come. The Making Of Orgiastic Cyprian.
cyprian
Episode I.
Remembering how timid she was on the first day she came into the temple of Ishtar for her
initiation, Miss Juan Onifat smiled and held the very tip of the giant penis which welcomed her
and every visitor to the extremely dangerous, yet ineluctably romantic designs of the interior. She
heaved a heavy relief, and it echoed in the somewhat sempiternal gallery of the temple of sex and
she looked down at her shadow which was telecasted on the walls by the sun, the sun was at its
meridian. She couldn’t believe she was the Grand Architect of the Qadeshes and by virtue of the
recent ceremony she was the sacred custodian of the recherché temple and all its traditions. It
had happened too fast, she thought. She was a little above three years in the Ancient Aphrodisiac Cult (The ACC), and just in the morning of that day, she had been installed the Most Perfect Chiliad, an enviable position which took other ladies, between the ages of seventeen and thirty, ten or more years of hard labour in sexual affairs with hundred strange men from all the seven selected corners of the world. “Congratulations, Most Perfect Chiliad, Grand Architect of the Qadeshes, The Sacred Custodian
  • of the temple of Ishtar and all its traditions” a half dressed blond lady went down on her left
    knee and perfectly erected her right leg to form a square with the left, and gave a court bow in
    salutation to Miss Juan. In response to the cordial felicitation, Miss Juan smiled and carefully
    lifted her right hand off the statue of penis and placed it on her well shaved vagina, she in-fixed
    the middle finger into her organ for a short while and removed it, and placed the hand on the left
    shoulder of the lady who upon rising to her full length, took a short pace with her left foot
    towards her superior, bringing the right heel to the hollow of the left to form a square, she then
    lapped the wet middle finger of Miss Juan. The blond lady licked the finger like it was the best
    thing that had ever entered her mouth; a sacred licking with saliva leaking off the lips, very
    passionate.
    The Qadeshes (members of the cult) have a religious belief in amorously passing their tongue
    about the always wet organ of their Most Perfect Chiliad and sucking the sweet scented liquid off
    her middle finger. It was a hallowed mean of communication between them and God. And She
    who did it passionately saw the face of God, or so it was bruited.
    Stories were told of a sexy black qadesh who once visited the Heavens and had an idyllic sexual
    encounter with a celestial body believed by the qadeshes to be God. The rumours had it that the
    black lady, Hamamat, when she was only a girl of twelve years, was visited in her dream on a
    certain mid-night while she slept on a small mat, in a muddy hut at a cute arenaceous village of
    Bolgatanga, Ghana. She saw in her dream a middle finger of a white lady. Hamamat could not
    appreciate the face of her guest but she clearly recounted the sacred element; a 7.44 inches long
    middle finger which had the image of an opened vagina receiving penetration from a perfectly
    erected penis tattooed across the length of the finger, starting from the proximal to the distal
    phalanxes. It was recorded in the chapter 16 of the book Blue Rituals of The Sex Cult by Linda
    Londart Longman, a Most Perfect Chiliad of the order who reigned from 1656 to 1701 that, the
    white lady rudely ordered Hamamat to lick her tattooed middle finger like how a sexually hungry
    woman suck the hell out of a lustful penis, which Hamamat did after what seemed to be a
    struggle in the dream. And when she did, Linda Longman in her book described the process as
    nonesuch, which in modern theological philosophy is synonymous with apotheosis- the process
    of transforming a man into a god. Linda said in the Blue Rituals of the Sex Cult that, Hamamat
    after many hours of massaging the finger with her tongue, the mysterious entity who appeared in
    her dream vanished into nothingness for out of nothingness she had appeared, but Hamamat
    woke up the next day in the ancient city of Cyprus, precisely in the temple of Ishtar with no

The Making Of Orgiastic Cyprian.
Oppong Clifford Benjamin.
cloths to shield her nakedness from the full sight of hundred men who had their hard members
aimed at her sorry self. Such, Longman wrote in her book, was the orphic means by which we
(qadeshes) are all invited to a participation of the ancient mysteries and sacred secrets of sex.
Cyprian Louiselle, may God strengthen thy waist to fuck your way to eternal glory
So Mote It Be” the blond lady whispered into air. It was the sect’s peculiar response to a prayer.
Miss Juan blessed the blond lady, Louiselle. Louiselle made for the south side gate of the temple
and just at the threshold of the exit, Miss Juan called her name aloud, prompting her to keep the
traditional form of exiting; sitting on an erected penis carved out of batholiths rock and
positioned at each of the four exits of the temple.
Ah Huh! Before you leave, please remind me of the name of the African girl you mentioned to
me this morning
Hamamat, Most Perfect Chiliad
Hamamat!” Miss Juan exclaimed out of surprise. She read the Blue Ritual when she was the
Most Wise Lady of the cult. The Blue Ritual was only accessible by the Most Wise Lady. The
duty of the Most Wise Lady in the ACC was to write the proceedings of the Ancient Aphrodisiac
Cult in a chronological records so the history of the cult doesn’t get lost in antiquity like many
sects of the then known world. During her office as Most Wise Lady, Miss Juan seized the
opportunity to read extensively on their ancient art, the mysteries and history of having sex with
strange men in the temple and the one that caught her interest the most was the mysterious
invitation.

The Making Of Orgiastic Cyprian.
Oppong Clifford Benjamin.
Where precisely is she from?” Her eyes were widely opened and staring at Louiselle at the far
end of the gallery.
West Africa, Ghana. In a small sandy city called Bolgatanga.
There was earsplitting silence for quite a while in the space between them.
Are you okay, Most Perfect Chiliad?”
“Get me her picture, I will prepare for her invitation”
To be continued…

JUBILATION OF ONOMATOPOEIAISMS (CHAPTER SEVEN)

The porcupine soldiers had a tough time maintaining peace at the parliament house. Before they reached the parliament, many animals had heard from their homes and had rushed there to defend their own. Over two thousand animals died. Most animal families had casualties except tortoise family. They hid in their protective shells when it got dangerous and stayed that way until the chaos went down. Blood was everywhere around the parliament house. Carnivores bit and chewed their former games to the disgust of all.

The porcupines were able to chase almost all the animals away but the carnivores and fierce omnivores took a while to leave as they ate the dead like the gluttons they were. Eventually, all the animals were sent away and the carcasses left were sent to The Palace.

The first family and their friends had a silent meat party that night. They ate and ate until they couldn’t eat anymore.

Some could not stand the air in the caves of the palace and so came out to its compound to stretch for fresh air, forgetting the state they were in. Meanwhile, the animals whose representatives and families died heard their carcasses were sent to the Palace got up early and headed there hoping to get them for burial. What met their eyes caused them to turn the Palace into a mourning ground. There, lying on the ground were many lions, hyenas, tigers and many carnivores who could hardly breathe, their bloated stomachs pregnant with satisfaction. Bones and debris of animal bodies were seen being pecked by vultures. Although the vultures fled when they saw the first badge of mourners, it didn’t do anything to appease them.

The first family got up but Catcher decided they stayed in their caves until they all left; her reason being that could give them an alibi to the shameful happening. So they stayed there until late mid-day and asked Porcupine Poku to go and tell them the first family went up into some mountains to call on the new gods to give them direction as to how to solve the current situation.

Meanwhile, Poku told them that a commission of enquiry was already up and Cruiser, Fly Flier and Beauty had been served to meet to commission as soon as they could in order to get to the bottom of the matter. He also added that anyone who saw someone in any appropriate behavior can come and file a complaint so the animal will be called and brought to book when found guilty.

Most of the animals calmed down when this was told to them and went to their homes to wait for the first family to come to lay their complaints. Few stayed back with sorrow in wait for the first family; the new head of cows, the new head of giraffes, the new head of sheep, the new head of warthogs and the mother of the head of giraffes; Necky, who perished in the chaos and was obviously lying scattered in some belly of a carnivore.

Corrector the parrot, who left immediately he sensed the first drop of blood, stood on some tree near the Palace, silently repeating the lamentations of the mourners.

Henrietta, the mother of Necky, was the most dramatic. She cried and cried and cried until she collapsed and was sent to the Palace river to be ponded into sanity. Seeing as the few mourners refused to leave, King Gyaas and his entire family, led by Catcher, exited through the palace gate to wash themselves at the Palace River and met the unconscious Henrietta being resuscitated there. Blood and all, the head of cows, who replaced Quintin, Alex, stopped in his track and saw the very blood-bathed first family of the kingdom who felt caught and could not run. The head of goats was also fetching water for Alex, when he looked back, he also saw what was not meant to be seen. Before any of them could say jack, Catcher ordered for them to be killed. Henrietta opened her eyes and closed them again when she saw how her helpers were being scattered by the first family.

Corrector saw all that had happened and flew away thinking of the safety of his life. Henrietta was helped back to the palace in her state by the first family after washing themselves clean. When those in wait saw them, they hailed them as the savior they seemed to be. Before anyone could ask where and how they got Henrietta, they said they came from the palace river and saw her helplessly lying on the shores of the river. Just then, Henrietta opened her eyes, looked critically at King Gyaas and his family and started crying as though her heart has been ripped apart.

END OF CHAPTER SIX. WATCH OUT FOR CHAPTER SEVEN NEXT WEEK

JUBILATION OF ONOMATOPOEIAISMS CHAPTER SIX

 

Necky looked at King Gyaas, puzzled. He could not understand how he thought and could not say no to his request.

It is particularly because I am a father that giving you my young proves to be difficult. How on earth do I gift you my child just to save yours? There is a proverb that says; “What is good for the goose is good for the gander”. How can I with my own hands, send my child to be killed in cold blood? Not that I am being difficult, but just with your own words, please do have pity on my young too. I beg you with the humility of our new gods.

King Gyaas remembered the words of Catcher not to intimidate and further aggravate their game. He smiled as though he understood and left sadly.

King Gyaas went to tell Catcher about his ordeal and lamented how difficult her plans are proving to be.

You cannot stand in the midst of deadly ants and shake them off. What the eyes do not see, irks not. There are several ways to kill a game and you know it. An animal with strength needs no fear of wits. Think about it. No one will hold the hands of his own to gift to death. Know the routes and playgrounds of our games. Know the feeding zones and make them your hunting zone. Most importantly, know your footsteps and make them unhearable. There is nothing that we cannot get if we hunt in silence. Go into the room and see what I have for you.

Gyaas went into the room and brought a dead giraffe out.

How did you get this giraffe? Catcher? You are my sister but I am beginning to be afraid of you. Were you a man, you would have usurped my throne. Why the gods did not give me your brains, I wonder. This is not a small giraffe. A very big one. Thank you.

King Gyaas called all his young, including children of his immediate family, and fed them but before they could finish eating, Striker came in through the rear of the Palace with a huge dead antelope. Apparently, she was taught well by Catcher. His happiness knew no bounds.

The next day, head of Antelopes went to the Palace to lay a formal complaint that one of his pregnant daughters went to graze and never returned. No trace of her blood was seen anywhere. They have combed through where she grazes but there is no trace of her. Just then, Necky arrived and laid a complaint that one of his brothers went to graze and cannot be seen. Catcher came and sympathized with them. Just as Gyaas was about to speak, Catcher spoke up.

We sympathise with your plight. But since when have they not been seen?

Since yesterday.

They all replied.

Then please note that, some of our children are naughty. We all know how they love to explore. I am not saying there is no cause for worry but you all know that Jungle Kingdom is now safe. Give it time. We need at least four days in order to mount a search for them. Because then, we will know they are really missing. So do take heart and believe nothing has happened to them and trust that they will come back quite well.

With this, they all left the palace without a word.

King Gyaas looked at his sister and wondered if he was just the ceremonial king. With fear he decided Catcher should be his right hand with decision making powers.

The second parliament took place as scheduled. All the animals looked different. Those whose furs were less had much more than expected, those with less feathers had too much for flight, those with spotted skins had smooth skins, those with no whiskers had started developing them. Even Servio had to clap in his head that all the animals looked good. Something was actually going great for them. He planned to find out and report to King Gyaas as soon as possible.

Speaker Quintin started with his usual Moos and silence fell over the house as though on cue.

This is the second parliament. I now say we can start our proceedings. So what do we start with? You wanted to set rules to govern this house?

Cruiser raised his hand to start the talk.

I think we should stop playing and set our rules. There is so much going on in Jungle Kingdom and our families trust us to be their saviours.

You mean to be their voices? Corrector the Parrot chipped in.

Yes, to be their voices. If we come here to talk about unnecessary things then we are doing ourselves a great disservice.

Just then, Flier Fly flew past his ears. Cruiser used his trunk to hit him but he was too fast. Some of the animals saw this and protested.

This is grave breach of Jungle Kingdom laws. How can you use your very heavy trunk to hit a tiny anima just because you can?

Bee the Bad protested.

I saw Beauty Butterfly passing through the same route and you let it through. Is it because Flier is not as beautiful Beauty?

Cockroach Squeaker added.

Why do you little fliers always make a big deal out of nothing? If it were to be a hen who hit Flier with his wing, you would have kept quiet. Why do you always cry foul where a clean goal lie?

Bennet the rabbit said

I knew you would say that. Why do animals on all fours think themselves superior to us with wings? When the land shakes in earthquake that is when you will see that we are superior to you so now think of us as inferior now.

Before Flier could finish saying this, all those with wings flew into the air as those on fours mounted a chase. They flew down to hit and went up again. Even Cruiser could not get to them because they went too high. Not even the Moos of Quintin could stop the chaos.

Servio took to his heels after getting a wing blow from Nightingale Swag. He headed straight to the Palace and reported the matter. King Gyaas sent many porcupine soldiers to go and maintain peace and be sure to shoot anyone who will prove difficult. Also, a commission of enquiry was put together to mount an enquiry into the matter and bring the results. Those found to be guilty, according to Gyaas, will be made to pay.

END OF CHAPTER SIX. WATCH OUT FOR CHAPTER SEVEN NEXT WEEK

JUBILATION OF ONOMATOPOEIAISM (CHAPTER FIVE)

 

Before Poku arrived in front of King Gyaas, Catcher told all the first cat family members present

“I think we must find a way of not antagonizing them further to flee. Let’s find a way of making them understand that things will change and get them to settle in comfortably. Then we can appoint the heads of all the species which are important in the kingdom to some positions. This way, they will let their guards down as we, through their heads get what we want.”

Crude was shocked at the thought of Catcher. All the others looked on like they’ve been struck by a positive lightening which has caused them to see clearly.

“You are not called Catcher for anything. You really are the best thinker this kingdom has seen”

King Gyaas commended.

“Now Poku, find a way of announcing to the whole kingdom that we are in for a fresh start. The gods of our land have embraced a new god which forces them to force us to live in harmony as herbivores. Make them understand that they are their own bosses and will not have any interference from us anymore. All they will get is our directions and goodwill.”

Poku fled with some of his men and added Dog Servio to do the work of the kingdom crier.

“Wow o wo! Wow o wo! Let all kingdom heads put their ears to the ground and hear the heartbeat of the king! He is the only king who truly thinks about his subjects. King Gyaas has seen a new god through our many gods! They call for harmony among all Kingdomers! They have warned that we live like equals or the skies will bring the knife of thunder to slash all murderers! King Gyaas loves all and calls for all Kingdomers to feel comfortable enough to settle in. The first cat family will make sure all are safe! Wo wo o wo! Stop hiding and come home! Home is where your colour blends! No foreign leaf can agree with your intestines like our own! Come home oh wo! All heads of differing animals will ascend thrones to fight for their own in a free parliament o wo!!!”

The animals who were hiding in trees, underground, in deep waters began to murmur among themselves.

“Is this true? Is this not a trap? Let’s be careful o! I think they cannot lie on the gods of the land! Who could this new god be? Maybe second chance is all the first cat family needs”

The hiding animals came out of their hiding and settled in.

The first parliament took place five days after calm returned to the kingdom. All heads of various animals represented. They realised they could not do anything because everyone was eager to talk. King Gyaas had decided not to take part of the parliament but will follow everything they say. Cruiser suggested they vote for a head of the parliament who will chair all occasions so as to bring some kind or order. All the animals agreed but did not nod for Cruiser. They nodded for the head of cows, Quintin.

Cruiser realised he was just not likeable. He had thought they did not give him the nod at first because of his size but Quintin was also big enough. He let it go with as he knew the sense of loss wanes with time. They decided to call themselves Kingdom Reps

“Hello all kingdom reps!”

All of them covered their ears. It was the head of Guinea fowls.

“I know I have a pitchy voice, but in the name of equality and Kingdom Rephood, please don’t make it too obvious. It is amazing how we cry for equality but look down on others who are unique than us. Anyway, I am glad to be part of this parliament. The first thing I need us to discuss is the way to keep the trees safe for boarding…”

Just then, Fowl Crystal cut in

“The trees? What about the land? The land is also a place for some of us to board.”

Shut up both of you! Rat Reuben said

“Underground is the most important place to talk about. Animals who live there suffer a lot when the sun sits on its throne and when the rains angrily flood, we suffer more. Aren’t we supposed to talk about how to make the underground better?”

Corrector the Parrot chipped in

“I don’t know about the sky, land and underground but are we not supposed to use formal language? Reuben, this is a noble house. How can you say “aren’t here?”

Almost all the reps nodded. Then Corrector continued.

“I think we should put all the betterment on hold until we get we set rules to govern this noble house”

Almost all the animals forgot about the previous discussions as they debated and debated about the rules fit to govern the house.

“No pitchy voice to be used to an echo level” Warthog West hid to say

“No croaky voice to be used above to an echo level” Guinea Fowl fired”

“No heavy legs must be moved more than four times in the house” Dee the Lizard said

“No unnecessary nodding should be seen in the house” Cruiser fired at Dee

All the time, Servio sat there breathing with his tongue out as though his life depends on it. His ears standing like very obedient soldiers on duty.

“Mooooooo” Quintin silenced

“The sun has travelled beyond its peak. We need to go back to our people. The parliament will now adjourn to the next five days.”

That evening, Necky the Giraffe head had a royal visitor. King Gyaas sat in front of his house.

“Dear Necky, they say when the heavens visit the earth, then there sure is the need. I am very ashamed to sit before you like this. I have a very peculiar problem. My little son is dying of blood thirst. I am not affected by the herbs we are taking but that little royal soul is dying because his system cannot digest the grass. Please, you know how difficult it is for our kind to procreate. Save my young one”

“How?” Necky queried

“Gift me one of your kind. Its mother does not need to know. All you need to do is to get it for me and I will make sure you get access to water for two weeks…

END OF CHAPTER FIVE. WATCH OUT FOR CHAPTER SIX NEXT WEEK

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUBILATION OF ONOMATOPOEIAISMS (CHAPTER FOUR)

Porcupine Poku was the chief of the porcupine soldiers. He was a gallant animal with lots of spears to throw. Skilled in armoury, the entire animal kingdom feared him. Coupled with the fact that he commanded great respect among his own people and could move all the porcupines, no animal dared look him twice in the face let alone try to disrespect him. Cruiser elephant saw that no matter what happened, he had to say something in order to let the ruling king know that the land did not belong to him. He raised his trunk, occasionally stealing glances at Porcupine Poku to the dismay of all the animals. King Gyaas first looked surprised, then looked around and nodded for him to talk.

“King Gyaas, we know you are the king. A king who promised to make us all equal. I believed you when you said you would resort to chewing grass because even a huge animal like me lives on grass. Now you sit on a higher ground, watching our pates and saying we should present one of our kinds to you. Is that not a breach of promise?”

All the animals were touched but afraid for the life of Cruiser. For minutes on end, King Gyaas looked at Cruiser with no readable countenance. Then he suddenly burst out laughing.

“Cruiser, I know what I said but living the talk and talking the living are two different things. The sky is a vast unreachable land. One that no one can reach. Even Eagle was not able to reach the sky to fetch the rains. Now ask this, how is a wingless lion striving to make his land better supposed to reach those lands to fetch the rains which are hiding far beyond the fire sun? If I am to get the strength to think, to get the strength to climb trees, to get the strength to consult the gods of the sun, I need strength. You know the God who created us failed in granting us equality. I love the taste of blood no matter how small you see me to be, you love the taste of leaves although you are big and pigs love the taste of dirt although they have very fair skin. Who are we to blame for these taste buds? Who is to blame for the differences in animals? If the one who created it failed to bring fairness of lives, why do you try to let me lose favour with the ones I am working hard to save? Look at their faces, don’t they look thin to you? If sacrificing one of their kinds to me will eventually help me gain the strength to think and solve the problems of the land, why do you speak as though I am a monster trying to destroy them?

I have the strength to catch any animal and do with it as I please. Why did I call this meeting? It is out of respect, out of love, out of brotherliness, out of duty!!! So my brethren, listen not to the rants of Cruiser, one who covets the fact that I have your mandate and let us do what is right.”

Most of the animals, especially those in the cat family, clapped for King Gyaas. Others were confused as to what is going on. Cruiser did not know what to say. He was surprised to see faces metamorphose from support to hatred. King Gyaas stood there watching with satisfaction on his face. Cruiser left the parade followed by his wife and child.

“Thank you very much Gyaasmaniacs! I know we will go places with time. We will beat this famine and drought that refuses to leave our land! We will shame hunger and shame thirst! We will kill tears and gain riches! Just struggle for a little while, let’s drink in the air to wait for the sweat of the sky. I promise I will put your donations to great use. I will gain more skin to cover up, more fur to adorn this neck, and when the body is fit, I will face the sun squarely. May the gods watch over us! May God Bless us all!!”

King Gyaas left amidst the cheers and merry making.

Formida was a very quiet ant who lived on the respect of all those he lived with. His greatest virtue was his silence. He watched what had happened in Jungle Kingdom and could not believe his eyes and ears. What had happened to the reasoning of the animals? Are they giving in to the ridiculous request by the blood thirsty king? Formida could barely breathe.

“Well, they will wake up when the time comes for them to select their loved ones for the teeth of their king. What do I care? As long as I stay out of the reach of his legs, I am safe. No family member of mine is affected because we do not fall within their taste bud games”

Formida said in his head and headed off.

A week later, King Gyaas sat on his hind legs, and stood on his fore legs surrounded by his family. Many lions were there to show their support but their faces spoke volumes of their expectations. It got to midday and no animal had brought his token. Not even the stinking pigs. So he sent his porcupine warriors to go to their houses and bring their family heads to the palace. When the porcupines went, all the houses were intact but no animal soul could be smelt nearby. The only animals they could see were the birds who flew so far up upon seeing them. So the porcupines went to report this to their king. King Gyaas roared, roared and roared like a beast who has felt the fires of hell as his children and the children of his family members roared with him in hunger.

Where could they have gone? They couldn’t have gone far, Jupi, Gyaas’ wife asked. Catcher, Gyaas’ sister roared louder than Gyaas to stop him in his track.

“I told you to let us hunt secretly for the game. You refused. It was perfect when they thought we were eating grass. They were careless and so many animals could be caught at a go. And no matter how many of them went missing, they never felt like hiding from us. Now look! You decided to make a pact with our game, pact with our food! Who does not fear death? In this world, who will stand to see the death of his dear one or himself? You don’t listen to any advice! You think you are the almighty just because you got their nods to be king? Now we will all suffer. Struggling to gain the love of your food is simply ridiculous! We are carnivores, born carnivores and will die as carnivores. It is not a sin to hunt, God himself made us so but you want to behave like a hypocrite. Only those beyond the boarders do that! Pleading to their game before eating them. Why should I do that? Eating is eating no matter how the food was gotten and telling someone you will eat the person is more cruel than not telling him or her. We will all starve!”

Gyaas looked at her and looked down. He had lost the zeal to argue. He fell on all fours and hid his face.

Crude, his younger brother, roared and glared at his sister.

“King Gyaas get up! No matter what Catcher says, you are the king of Jungle Kingdom. We live to learn from our experiences. What has happened has happened. Now we just need to find a solution and move forward. The fact that their properties are all in their houses shows they are around but in hiding. What we need to do is to find a way of getting them out of their hiding places. Besides, is it easy to cross our boarders? You need someone from the out-lands in order to move from here or you will be crushed even before you reach their boundary. That desert from our boundary to theirs is a place many dare to live but risk dying before their times. I always felt bad because they could come here any time they wanted but made such a fuss when we wanted to go there. Not any more. Their restrictions are our keys to find ways of getting through to those idiots. So get out of the clothes of sadness and let’s find a way to hunt them down. Let’s hunt!”

King Gyaas saw the wisdom in what Crude said, stood up and called out:

“Poku!!!”

END OF CHAPTER FOUR. WATCH OUT FOR CHAPTER FIVE NEXT WEEK

(Image taken from www.broadway.com)

JUBILATION OF ONOMATOPOEIAISMS (CHAPTER THREE)

King Gyaas commanded his soldiers to fire at Watcher. The soldiers obeyed with passion, scattering Watcher like dried leaf grinded into dust. Ntat shivered and barely managed to cage her cry of disgust and disappointment. We must live in harmony indeed! She thought. We are all together as one indeed! Her thoughts made her weep within but she crawled out of the porcupine killer and made her way out of The Palace before Gyaas could calm down. Steam was coming out of his nostrils and mouth as he puffed like one who just fought and conquered multitudes of enemies. His eyes shone in victory and still had lasers of intentions to extinct his enemies. His family looked on without batting an eye. The porcupines who felt bad for scattering Watcher wore uncertain countenances which were cleared after the spears of warning which were clearly sent from the pupils of King Gyaas which was obviously fully dilated.

Ntat did not know what to make of the information and what was seen. She dug a hole and hid in it for some time before making it to her family. When she told her mother about what had happened, her mother told her father and together, they went to the head of ant to lodge a complaint. The head of ant furiously went to see King Gyaas. No one knew what was discussed but before everyone knew what was happening, the head of ants, Archer, owned one hundred anthills filled with foods that could feed thousands of ants for over ten years in river areas. Ntat and her family disappeared from the Jungle kingdom but an interesting thing happened; Archer’s wife, Armaah, and their children also disappeared. Armaah’s description was on the lips of all the animals. Archer searched frantically for his family without success. So rich he had become materialistically, but very poor in relations, so he begun to drink.

Meanwhile all the animals were yet to see the improvement they were promised. Some complained but did not have the bravery to say it to the face of the king. There was a rumour walking the length and breadth of Jungle Kingdom that Watcher was murdered by the king for saying something he was not supposed to say causing his family to flee from Jungle Kingdom. Animals who fell within the game zones of carnivores got missing day after day. The Palace took reports but did nothing about them.

Famine and drought became more serious than they had ever experienced. Some animals were bold enough to march to The Palace to send their grievances but were beaten to a pulp. Later that day, Lion Gyaas scheduled a meeting for the next three days. All animals in the jungle were supposed to make it or face sanctions. The animals did not know what to make of this.

“Is he now ordering us when he promised to be our equals?” Goat Owar asked

The head of domestic cats; Silio, just blinked in confusion but before anyone could say jack dog exclaimed:

“Ei! So you are here bleating foul things about our king? This one, barking alone won’t help, it must be followed by a formal report”

So saying, dog left for The Palace but no one will grant him entry. So Dog Servio went back to his house, took a bath and went back there, saying he wanted to be the humble servant of the king. His family and himself.

King Gyaas was happy, at least he had animals who willingly offered their services. The king granted Servio an audience and was angrily pleased with him.

Silio and Owar were arrested and sent to King Gyaas at midnight. It was then that Bat Bright understood what Watcher said. He had seen them hunt for animals in the night but had never seen them take two different animals of the day from their fence and boarding at night. What was he to make of this? He knew so well that Watcher was murdered because he voiced out what he saw. Was he ready to be arrested and torn apart like Watcher?

The families of Silio and Owar followed them to the Palace but were left in front of the gate. The king who sat on the skin of an elephant had dogs kneeling by his side. Immediately he saw Silio and Owar, he walked menacingly on all fours and slapped them in turns with his paws. Their skins cried with blood as their bodies shook.

“So you Goa  had the impudence to speak ill of me? And you cat, nature made us alike no matter your small frame. We are in the same circles but you decided to eat grass and mix it with any meat you get. That does not make us different. Because dog here says you said nothing, I will contain it. But he did also say he saw your face, and you agreed with what that idiotic goat said. I know no matter what I say, you will not open your mouth to mew. The fact that you are not looking at me with disdain and are shivering is enough. Goat will be used to appease me. And you must leave Jungle Kigdom before sunset, with your immediate family, or face my wrath”

Dog barked in concurrence the whole time, even to the disdain of the porcupine soldiers. Silio said in his head “So this is how stooges look?” and watched dog as much as he could before leaving the palace.

He heard goat scream loudly as he got to the main door and heard the exciting cravings of the little lions as their parents broke into the bones of Owar.

When he stepped out, he told the two families what had transpired, apologized to the family of Owar and asked his immediate family to prepare to set off. Owar’s family bleated so much that the porcupines came out and shot at them. Sileo stood on a rock and looked down one last time as the carcasses of Owar’s family were being dragged into the palace and jumped to lead his family out of Jungle Kingdom.

The next day, all animals in the Jungle Kingdom converged in front of the palace. Porcupines could be seen everywhere. Even hyenas and most of the high classed carnivores were seated on a mounted bamboo platform as King Gyaas took his time to dress. Nightingales and other sweet voiced animals sang melodious tunes in praise of King Gyaas as the birds with stronger feathers fanned the people seated at the high table. Foods could be seen there while the skinny physiques of all animals, including elephants graced the animal crowd. The sun also sat on its highest spot, throwing heat into the animal kingdom. Suddenly, all animals were asked to stand up and welcome their king. Something everyone did even before questioning in their heads. Guy giraffe was shocked that after all the time he took to dress, King Gyaas looked as mean as an angry mad cow but he was careful to keep this to himself as the cows sat next to him.

King Gyaas sat on the most beautiful part of the high table flanked by his peers. The high table was decorated with flowers with scents so pleasant. Most of the animals were confused. What are flowers to a lion? But all they could do was murmur. Then he sat on his hind legs and addressed the standing crowd:

“To begin, I will tell you I will not tolerate it if any of you speak ill of me. To the cats, I say, Cat Silio and his family have been banished from Jungle Kingdom for betraying the king of your land. Goat Owar and his family lost their lives for committing treason. Well, Owl Watcher too. That I am your king does not give you the right to malign me. You all know that it is difficult to come by water nowadays because of the weather. I did all that I could to boost the water levels but it just dawned on me that I am no God. So the palace is in a water crisis. For your king to think and think well, he needs food and water. Due to the grass I have been taking, my furs are growing thin. There is nothing I can do right now but to go back to carnivorism. Herbivorism, no matter how appropriate, is not for my kind. I think words are best said but deeds grant us the opportunity to experience what is workable and what is not. Honesty is better than dishonesty. So please understand me and help me live instead of dying. I do not want you to grumble so to be fair, all animals within my game zone will present one of their kinds to The Palace every one working week. I will try my hardest to dwell on this as I think through ways to get us the fertile land we need.”

The animals grumbled loudly but were shut up following the scary scares of the arrows of the fearsome porcupines.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2016

END OF CHAPTER THREE. WATCH OUT FOR CHAPTER FOUR NEXT WEEK

(Image taken from www.broadway.com)

JUBILATION OF ONOMATOPOEIAISMS (CHAPTER 1)

From today, February 13, 2016, I start a weekly series titled Jubilation of Onomatopoeiaisms. on amoafowaa,com This story will be continued every Saturday until it ends. Please do follow the thrills. You don’t want to miss this

Once upon the time, King Eagle was the king of the Jungle Kingdom. The animals became thirsty as drought brought its royal stool to their lands and became comfortable striking the skins of their land which rebelled by ceasing to grow seeds and plants it was given to keep the cycle of life active. Then it dawned on the entire kingdom that eagle seldom stays in the jungle. Even his family lived in a very tall tree far away. He comes to the jungle to give orders and to take any animal it deemed fit for his family. Then leaves without a care as to whether there is water or the animals are safe. He never adjudicates matters and cares not for the vulnerable in the kingdom. So the animals met in his absence to talk about impeaching him for a more competent one. Then, a penguin had travelled all the way from Madagascar to Jungle Kingdom and educated them on democracy. Penguin however told them a ruler must be very intelligent, eloquent, friendly with a sense of duty in order to rule their kingdom into success.

Goat raised his hind legs to be nominated but none acknowledged him. Many are those who castigated him saying “look at that naughty and stubborn soul on all fours seeking to be our ruler” after chuckling noisily.  Peacock raised her feathers and drew the attention of all to nominate her. Some animals laughed while others angrily blurted out “How dare she? Does she think we are playing a feminine game here? To think she is one of the proudest animals in the jungle. What can she do for us? Does she think we will be satisfied just by looking at her feathers?” Then an elephant; Osonde, raised his hand, all the animals looked at him like a haunting vampire. Some shouted in their heads “Do we wish to be stepped upon?” But none was brave enough to say it out  loud. Seeing the looks on the faces of the animals, he quietly but sadly lowered his hand. Many animals expressed their desire to step in the shoes of Eagle but were not supported. There were meetings upon meetings to ascertain the head that best fits the crown.

Three animals nominated Dove Dearie but the carnivores were not in support of the decision. They said they would be victimised if the pure Dove became the king of the Jungle Kingdom. Then two people selected Tiger Osebom which nearly caused commotion at the meeting. Herbivores complained bitterly that they would never feel protected having such king.

All the while, Lion Gyaas looked on and hatched a plan to be the winning candidate. While the meeting was ongoing, he stole bits and pieces from many animals. Different feathers from different birds, different skins of many animals, even pigs, struggled to cut many shells from many animals including one tortoise. Lion Gyaas decorated himself with all his stolen goods and looked like bits and pieces of all animals put together. On their last meeting for nomination, he stood in front of them, his skin totally lost beneath his apparel, and spoke thus:

“The Jungle Kingdom deserves better! I say the jungle kingdom deserves better!” 

The kingdom became as quiet as a treeless cemetery. All ears standing at attention to listen to the fresh voice filled with hope.

“We need to see each other as ourselves. Dogs are no different from the Nightingales although the former walk on all fours and the latter fly. Horses are no different from Lions although they differ in personalities; the former loving servitude, the latter loving freedom in wildness. The lizard is no different from the snake. In effect, we are all equal. We need to think alike, love each other in order to improve this kingdom. For all we know, the blood of different animals who were not allowed to finish their lifespan could be the cause of our woes”

All the animals clapped as some whistled. Some chirped noisily in agreement, some barked deeply from their throats, some hooted like royal drums, some hissed. It was a jubilation of onomatopoeiaisms.

Lion Gyaas continued:

“I stand before you as your brother, your father, your cousins, your family, your husband, your comrade, your friend, your defender, your protector and your ever submissive servant. I promise there will be no discrimination if you give me your nod to climb our royal stool. It is good that every soul here has a neck. A nod of a head for me is peace and growth. Penguin said “it gets lonely at the top” is a famous saying where he came from. I assure you that cannot work here as there is none to sit on the ground. Every one of us will be at the top”

More applause from the kingdom. If smiles and laughter could tear mouths, all mouths in the kingdom would have been shredded like weak rags as lion continued to woo.

“Just give me the nod dear Pigs, give me your nod dear Porcupines, give me your nod dear Sheep, give me your nod dear Dogs, give me your nod dear Fowls, give me your nod dear Ants, give me your nod, dear Swans and do tell sweet Fishes in the seas to help with their nods. I cannot mention all your names but I have them all written on my heart. I will not only take care of those on land and in the air, but work to boost the water levels of seas and rivers and make them comfortable. A nod for me will be an eternal freedom and protection. A nod from me will be a beauteous harmony in living, a nod from me will be an astounding lasting of breathes, a nod for me is your will which will culminate into your reward of living like the royals you are. “None Eats None” is my motto. Farming and adjusting our palates to plants and weeds is what I aim for. You all know how difficult it is for someone like me to live like that but I will live through it because of the love I have for you. Look at me, don’t you see all of you in this little me?”

More applause from the animals who were overwhelmed by the words they so desired and were receiving from Lion Gyaas. Just when Lion Gyaas was about to crown his words to dismiss the meeting until the Nodding Day, Eagle came in all his glory and strength to ask what was happening. Hardly had he touched the ground than thousands of animals pounced on him to kill him in cold blood. Every animal, except sheep, stepped on his carcass. As some spit on him, others defecated on him, some booted him until a dragon burned him with his lighted fire and burned him to ashes. More jubilation and applause followed.

“On this note, I have nothing to say. You see how our coming together has given us our first victory? We are now free from Eagle. As far as we are concerned, his family is nowhere near and can’t even trace their roots. So let’s consult our tree pillows, stone pillows, land pillows, water pillows, leaves pillows and take a wise decision on the Nodding Day slated for next week. Until then, may the gods of our ancestors bless us, the ghosts of all who died unfairly shape our thoughts. Thank you all.” Lion Gyaas concluded.

The animals dispersed. Little animals walking with shoulders raised, eyeing their predators with eyes filled with the message “We are all almost equal, Lion is our dream come true, our protector, our God, erase all thoughts of cravings of us, we won’t be your foods no more, pick not on us”. Some of the carnivores started thinking about the intensity of the implication that they must turn herbivores. The disdain and daring in the eyes of their “dishes” made their stomachs grumble. Yes, the shouting had made them hungry but the words of Lion Gyaas made it impossible to hunt in broad daylight in front of all eyes.

END OF CHAPTER ONE. CHAPTER TWO WILL BE PUBLISHED NEXT WEEK (Image taken from www.broadway.com)

UNSATISFYING GOATS

Kyei Maame, please stop bragging
Stop bragging about the great goat you keep tamed
I know what it does
And I even know what Osofo Maame’s goat does too
No matter the fur of goodness it preaches

II
As soon as it clears your bowl
It goes sniffing
Licking any bowl it sees
No matter how filthy
As for Osofo Maame’s goat
It spies before sniffing bowls in dark places
Shunning those in visibility
So stop bragging

III
If I need a goat
I can have a whole breed
And may have a few which may be sanely dedicated
I don’t need the sneaky ugly ones you brag of
So direct your bragging
Into a secretive hole
One you can seal with stone
When your goats are caught like thieves
Stealing from other bowls
I need not hear these
For I can’t stand your hiding eyeballs
When the scandal breaks
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2015

TALES OF FAILED MORTUARY MEN

southport-mortury_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atia looked at Babatunde who seem drunk  and can’t believe his ears.

“So a corpse you kept sat down when the funeral workers touched her, and because of this you think you have seen it all? Baba, you really must be drunk. That you live a miserable life does not mean you have seen worse than us.”

Koto sat straight and looked at his peers and says:

“Guys cool down, what have you Atia seen that I have not seen?”

Atia sits straight and says “You really know how to push peoples buttons. Koto you think we do not know that you were sleeping with a fresh dead girl when she opened her eyes and the coward that you are, you took to your heels never going there again?”

Koto drinks all his hard liquor at a go and pulls long at his cigarette trying desperately to hide his face in shame. All who are gathered shout in unison “So it is true?”

They resolve that Tunde tells his version of the story. He tells it thus:

“I was a child of fourteen when my father died. He was a mortuary man at Kran Hospital. He came home one day and said someone had slapped him. According to him, they brought the corpse which was a royal corpse for him to take care of. He flung it back and forth after three days in order to prepare to put it in the fridge for preservation. But before he realised what was happening the corpse got up and slapped him shouting ‘How dare you treat me with disrespect?’ He ran home straight to tell me and died afterwards. I decided there and then to become a mortuary man too. But I swore to get a third eye in order to combat any dead spirit who would dare challenge me. And I’ve had plenty of challenges. Just last night, I saw one of the corpses dress up after getting up, go out for about three hours and come back to lie dead again. Of course I said nothing.  I respect them so whenever I am going there, I knock and so they respect me in return. I slapped one who opened his eyes during a post-mortem and he returned back to his death.”

“And you are making noise that it is a big deal?” Atia asked disappointed. Because of his utterances, the others ask him to tell them his version of mortuary horrors and he goes on thus:

“One day, I went to work and just opened the door to meet a party at the mortuary. There was liquor in abundance, cigarettes too and music and they were dancing and partying like never before. I was lost in thought for a while but when I came back to my senses, I made to run after shouting in fear, immediately, the music stopped and they all turned to look at me. That is all I remember. I woke up the next day on a hospital bed. The day mortuary man saw me in my collapsed state in front of the gate. I remembered what caused that and never went to work again after I was discharged from the hospital.”

Kwashiga shivers at the thought and says ” Now that is something scary. I guess I have been lucky, one corpse only spat on me probably to show its disgust for my touching it. African corpses must be handled with care I guess. Now lets change the subject and think straight.”

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014 with inspiration from The superior female teachers of TAMASCO.

 

THE PLAYED PLAYER; WHEN THE TABLES TURN

Askimo sits on the wall dejected, what in God’s name just happened? Did Selina just sleep with him and sack him out of her house? He of all people? God’s gift to women like him? Considering the many women who will die to have him in their beds forever, he thinks back. All the women he had slept with, were grateful, some said he was huge, others just loved his manliness. Could it be that he is getting smaller? No, if anything, he should be bigger. Did he do anything to displease Selina? He sniffs his armpit, there is no foul smell. What could it be? I must ask what happened or I will not be able to get any sleep.

Could it be that Selina is a man eater? Talking about that, who is a man eater? Some way somehow, this lady has made him doubt himself for the first time. He has made his decision, he will not go there again. He will wait for her to come to her senses and beg him for his forgiveness, then he will deal drastically with her by playing hard to get for a long time. It is men who use and dump women and not the other way round.

At home, sleep eludes him, he counts the contours of the ceiling the whole night and looks like a ghost in the morning. His landlady cannot get why he looks horrible when he slept early. Still no sign of Selina’s call.

He thinks back to how he met her.

He was caught between two women at the hotel Selina works at. She separated the ladies who were busily fighting as he took to his heels. Unfortunately for him, he had left his phone and had to go by later to pick it up. It was then that he realised how attractive Selina was. He hit on her and she calmly allowed it. He kept in constant touch through calling and messaging and sometimes, sent her interesting meals and flowers. He took her out once, she did not allow him to enter her room, the second time, she initiated the sex and rode him like a donkey but as soon as it was over, his cuddling advances were overturned as his clothes were given to him and the door was opened for his passing.

Now that he thinks about it, could it be that she wants to avenge the girls who fought? Or could it be that she is a married woman? She doesn’t wear any ring, no, there must be something to it. Could it be that she intentionally lured him to give him some sexually transmitted disease? Could she be a wicked mermaid? What at all could it be for him to feel used and trashy like this?

Akua cuts into his thoughts but he is clearly not interested. He keeps her around because she has money but for some reason, her presence irritates him today. He dismisses her and goes inside to sleep more.

Koboo feels strange. Askimo has never been absent from work let alone skip a clubbing, it has been three weeks. He goes to his house to find him in such a bad state. His fever is very high, it gets him thinking about ebola a bit, silly him, ebola has not reached Ghana yet. He sends him to the hospital and realises he is under grave stress and has traces of malaria in his blood stream. Many girls visit him but he just wishes to see Selina. He finally confesses to his friend that he thinks he is in love with a man eater and narrates his ordeal.

Koboo tells him Selina is a lost one. Some women call themselves modern women and will not stand to be used. It seems she is the type that aims to take hearts of men from their enclaves and squash them under his feet to teach men some lessons. “What am I to do?” Askimo asks.

“Nothing, but I hope you don’t want to die because of a woman, she may not even be pretty. Just get well soon, you’ll get better women to bash”

“The problem is that I don’t want any woman but her” Askimo squeeks

Koboo is left with nothing to do but to ask for the directions to Selina’s house to plead with her to visit his friend. Selina just puffs after hearing what he has to say and closes her door. He calls her on phone and she says:

  “How many times has your friend broken hearts? What he is feeling is nothing compared to what happen to women he dumps everyday. Tell him to nurse his wounds and stop behaving like a boy who has lost his new toy, and don’t you dare call my line again. He likes playing, now the tables are turned and he has been played. If I see him anywhere around me, I’ll get a restraining order” Then she cuts the line.

Koboo is shocked at what he is hearing. What at all is this? Who is this girl? She is the most horrible punisher of men God has created. What is his friend to do? The table has turned, the heartbreaker now has the most shattered heart and knows not how to mend it.

Seeing a strong and happy man turn into a chicken scares the hell out of him. God will surely punish this Selina girl.

It has been eight years and Askimo still cannot get over the heartbreak. He is truly repentant. He never knew how serious and painful broken heart was, he would never have hurt any of the girls he had badly toyed with and would probably be with the love of his life by now. It is unfortunate how time never retracts its steps.

    Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014

 A LADY WITH A PEN BY AMOAFOWAA SEFA CECILIA

  Kwansema sits in front of her father’s house, thinking about her life. Her brothers are all in school studying for their future while she sits idly waiting for the sun to go down to prepare the evening meal. It is strange how she feels wronged. She wants to be a president one day. She has always been honest about that. Her father only laughs when she mentions it saying:

   “You probably meant the wife of the president, oh Araba, prepare your daughter well for the throne of the first lady” then he will laugh it off with his usual sarcastic laughter sometimes with happy tears flowing down his face.

The only thing the man has done for her pertaining to education is giving her the basic education which cost nothing. After her junior high education, he insisted “the man is the head of the wife” so there was no need to take her to the secondary school although she had the best results among the four children who completed that year and was the youngest. Her father had maintained those were the words of the Bible, who is he to dispute that? Isn’t Araba a Christian? Did she want to disrespect him to a point of disobeying the word of God? Even without the codification in the Bible, who is interested in throwing money into another man’s bank account? Kwansema will surely get married and send her riches to another man’s family, then who loses? Auntie Araba kept quiet and sympathetically looked at her. That look on her mother’s face said a few pregnant sentences which keep breeding many heart breaking conclusions in her head:

   “Sorry Kwansema, I tried, but your father did not write the Bible so there is nothing we can do. Just be obedient and help in the house chores, so you can be a good wife in the near future.”

Something in her sounded an alarm; it is going to be a warlike hurdle to breach, her quest for education.

It’s been two years but she still believes she will achieve her goals. She reads the books the boys leave behind before going to school, one of her cousins is gracious enough to explain things she finds difficult. Somehow, a pestering voice lingers, asking her what she needs all the knowledge for if she has no certificate to show for it in the end.

Yes, the reality of qualifications and certificates!

  “Is everything all right? I’ve been calling you for the past minute why? Are you on another planet?”

This is Kwadwo, her best friend. Her father has never understood their friendship;

“Fire and gun powder can never be friends.”  He’ll always say, but their friendship has grown from strength to strength. Mr. Bentil on a second thought decided to let them be and rather scrutinize them under his spotless lenses. Her father has done many funny things in the past. When she was ten years old, Kwadwo who was eleven then had come to call her to go for the Ogua Festival, little did they know that Mr. Bentil was following with a double barrel gun. When they got tired, they bought a coconut each and went to sit under a secluded tree to drink. While there, they spoke about school, funny characters in class, before they both could laugh off a very funny joke, Mr. Bentil fell flat on his face between them. He was on the tree. As to whether he was there before they went there or climbed it after they went to sit there, till date she cannot tell. She has never forgotten that. The man broke an arm, could not lift his head for a few days so one would think he had learnt his lesson. He staged a few other comic reliefs which must be left for later.

Kwadwo is saying no need to feel too sad about the school thing. He knows any time she sits like this then she is thinking about her schooling. He has news that will really make her happy. There is an NGO in town called Female Education and Rights (FER), they help girls who want to go to school. He is just coming from school; they announced it there so he decided to come take her there before going home. She should just take her results and freshen up.

The FER office is cozy. Everyone there tries so hard to be friendly while looking for ways to disqualify girls with good background who lie for the sake of scholarship. Kwansema tells them her father is not poor, he just has his strong beliefs which he strongly lives by and nothing can change those. One of it is not wasting money on a girl’s education. She is his only girl so he is probably looking forward to a day his Bible will give him permission to drink schnapps; her engagement day.

The patron of FER, Mrs Dadson, laughs so hard she could barely manage to stand but Kwanseman and Kwadwo do not know what is amusing her. Could it be that the woman thinks she is telling lies?

  “Mrs. Dadson, what she said is not a joke, I know the man personally and I’ve known him all my life, he really is a hard nut to crack.” Kwadwo says trying to convince the woman.

The laughter dies off her face, “what? You mean you are not trying to be funny? But the publicity of educating the girl is ongoing; doesn’t he watch television or listen to news?” Mrs. Dadson manages to ask.

“We do not have television in our house, not even a radio, my father says those are immoral tools” Kwansema says sadly.

At this point, Mrs. Dadson asks the profession of this man.

“A pastor and a cocoa farmer” Kwadwo and Kwansema say in unison.

“What?” All the women in the office exclaim. Mrs. Dadson tells them to wait for some time so she can go to her house to ascertain things for herself but they warn her to bring along a man or some men as the man can be temperamental. She laughs it off and goes to complete her tasks. Mrs. Dadson finishes in about 2 hours. It is a long wait and both have staged the meeting a hundred different ways in their minds, not one has gone well. A deep silence engulfs them as each sits with personal thoughts and fear for the future of the next hour or two.

It is 5pm and Mr. Bentil sits in his rocking chair with his big Bible on his laps. He starts preaching on obedience immediately he sees Kwansema.

“Children, obey your parents in the lord for this is right, honour your father and mother, for this is the only commandment with a promise.” He fails to acknowledge Mrs. Dadson. Kwadwo stands as far as he can so he can run like a thunderbolt in case he turns Jesus with a whip in His father’s house. Somehow, the man never fails to amuse and scare him. He seems to take almost everything written in the Bible at face value.

Good evening Mr. Bentle, I am Mrs. Dadson of FER, Female Education and Rights, I came to speak to you about your daughter Kwansema.

“Whaaaat? You mean this little ingrate carried our house matter on a pan, hawked for miles to sell it at your office?”

By now, everybody in the house numbering 48 (extended family members forming the majority) are lined up on the compound to witness the court proceeding that is threatening to take place.

“No Sir. She just said she wanted to continue her education-“

“What? Her education? And that is your business how? Madam, how old are you?”

”I am 45 sir” Mrs. Dadson says now fully digesting the warning of the children.”

“Do you have children?”

“Yes, I have two”

“Two? Only two? A hen with two chicks, what happens to her when coccidiosis rages through the land?” You have nothing better doing that is why you are buying stories which you cannot cook in your pot” Mr. Bentil spits.

“I beg your pardon?” Mrs Dadson asks appalled.

I mean you are a busy body, anyway I can see you are married You are educated no doubt and have a job. So what do you use your money for?”

Mrs. Dadson sees where the conversation is heading to and intelligently combats it.

“Of course I use it to take care of my children, my mother, my father and myself. If you educate your daughter, she will also take care of you some day, if your wife happens to be working, some of the burden you feel today wouldn’t have been there, even if you are taking care of a child to better someone else’s home, giving out a good gift is better than giving out trash. If trash is what you can send off to another house then it means that your loin is filled with trash” Mrs. Dadson breathes the last word in exasperation, never has she thought any one could irritate her this much. The harsh words he throws about, the mockery in his voice, everything about this man is so irritating.

Mr. Bentil gets up and goes into his bedroom. Kwansema tells the woman to run, everyone is running but Mrs. Dadson stands her ground not knowing what is going on. A minute later, a double barrel gun points at her to leave the house or risk her head being blown into pieces. She raises her hands, moves two steps backward, and turns with a speed of lightening. Her car has been abandoned. By now, Kwadwo is long gone. Everybody breaks into laughter but Kwasema.

Lost in her thoughts, she sits on her legs with her head bowed as her father rains insults on her, he goes as far as casting the demons in her out, demons of disrespect and jealousy. Even her mother tells her she is at fault. Before Mr. Bentil can finish praying, he feels his hands being handcuffed. Every body’s eyes are closed so no one saw the police come in.

“What is happening?” Mr. Bentil asks, thinking a disrespectful someone is playing a joke on him. He opens his eyes to see thirty policemen in his house and his hands cuffed to his back.

“You are under arrest Mr. Bentil, for causing panic and threatening to murder”

His wife; Araba collapses to the ground, his male children cry and heap abuses on the only girl of the house.

Mr. Bentil is locked for the night. He is made to sign an MOU stating; if any harm should befall Mrs. Dadson, he’ll be held responsible. His double barrel is confiscated. Immediately he is released, he takes to his heels not stopping anywhere until he reaches his house.

The first thing Mr. Bentil does is to throw Kwansema out of his house. Even her mother fails to plead on her behalf. He cannot live with someone who can send him to jail any time she wants.

Kwansema goes to Kwadwo’s house. He has been feeling guilty the whole time. He talks to his parents who refuse to take the girl in knowing her father’s nature. He goes with her to Mrs. Dadson’s office again.

Mrs. Dadson thinks this through, even if she forces him to take back the girl, he will maltreat her so she files a suit that the man says he is no longer interested in his own child, she is not suing him for child neglect, she only wants them to get him to sign adoption papers and waive his rights as a father. She is ready to adopt the girl.

 Everyone in the Kwamansa village hears of the disrespectful girl who sends her father to jail and again sends him to court. The next time she will be sending him to his grave. The man win many sympathetic  congregation in his otherwise empty church where he preaches about Satan coming in the form of a daughter to his home, how he has been able to cast her out and how God keeps on protecting him from the valley of the shadow of death.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Dadson relocates to London to join her husband. She takes her family of which Kwansema is part with her.

It’s been twelve years since the demonic girl left the village of Kwamansa. Every household has a television as the myth of its immorality has been broken by its comprehensive news bulletin. Aunt Araba sits watching as a young woman of about 32 is being interviewed. Her smile sends her calling her husband, her name; Kwansema Dadson.

She was the CEO of Dadson and Associates but is now the Deputy Finance Minister.

“Is that not my daughter? Mr. Bentil asks.”

“She is the one” Araba says happily.

Mr. Bentil dresses in his traditional wear, his wife in her Kaba and slit. Life has not been fair to them; he has been demoted as a pastor after he was caught in a compromising situation with one of the choir members. His explanation, the lady tried to seduce him but failed though he was caught with his supporter down. His cocoa farm has been destroyed by pests and his children have disappointed him. His first son drowned in a pool when he went to the university. The second turned into a drunkard when he completed secondary school and the third failed his secondary school exams. His fourth happens to be Kwansema. He had gone looking for the girl after a prophet told him she was his comfort in old age. But she was nowhere to be found. Now he must go and see her. He is sorry for what happened and needs her back as his child. Blood is thicker than water after all.

On their way to Accra, the drunk driver speeds into an articulator truck killing everyone on board. The accident is reported and the bodies are shown on national television for identification. Kwansema sits by the television and easily identifies both parents. She pretends not to have seen them for fear of being an ingrate to her lovely family and goes to her room. Although she hates them, she cannot stop her tears from falling.

 

The next weekend, she travels to her home town and looks for Kwadwo, he is now a pharmacist in Ada. He has come for the funeral of Kwasema’s parents. He is overjoyed seeing her. He is not yet married and is hoping for a relationship but Kwansema is engaged to be married. She goes with him though as an escort wearing dark glasses, her head and face almost covered in a headgear. She hears the gossip of how the people died, they were going to apologize to their daughter, the one they disowned, something about she being on television and working at the ministries.

Kwansema leaves the funeral in tears. Kwadwo asks her to reconcile with her family members but she refuses, takes his number and drives back to Accra. “They never wanted a lady with a pen; they only wanted a lady with a broom and a bucket. Sleeping dogs must be left to lie after all.” She thinks to herself.    Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

BORN OF THE STREET

Abena thinks of a way to escape this mess called home. She looks on her right and on her left and sees her friends sleeping soundly. What is it they love about this place that makes them sleep without thoughts? This is the street. Girls die everyday without any one bothering to find out how. Sandra was killed after going to work in the night. Her corpse was seen in the papers, no one tried to get it from the police for proper burial. How will she end up? Just last week, she was raped by the street mafia, who told her not to get into his bad books. She has been saving herself for her future husband, all that dissipated into thin air when Jamil set his eyes on her.

What had hurt her most was the manner in which he had her; in the full glare of others. She had cried the whole night with her friends advising her to let it go as she has protection her whole stay on the street. She is seventeen, her mother, she was told left her in the kaya yoo (porters) house in Kumasi and never returned for her. She was given to Mma Leila who runs a brothel. The woman gave her her Junior High School education. When she passed, she told her a woman must use what she has to get what she wants so she shouldn’t expect anything from her from then. All she could do to help her was to usher her into the brothel business.

Abena knew then that her stay with Mma Leila had come to an end. She had seen girls being beaten by men they enter that brothel with, she had seen some being killed and disposed of by Mma Leila. She has seen girls smoking marijuana to a point of madness. She has seen some using cocaine, sleeping through overdose and never waking up. She has seen it all. She has even seen girls gang up on men who fail to pay after whatever, sometimes it had gone overboard and bodies of such men were sent to the forest which always has graves. She has seen girls who tried to leave after getting into business killed or poisoned. She, Abena, vowed never to be one of those. She must be someone who will live proudly. So she bolted from Kumasi to Accra. On reaching here, she found out it was not easy to live by one’s self in Accra, the capital city. She had gotten a job as a chop bar server. She was sacked for insulting a man who touched her breast. She also got a job as a drinking bar attendant, she was sacked by the owner who stole into the girl’s quarters and tried to rape her but for the timely intervention of one of the girls who chanced upon them. The man had told everyone she had tried to seduce him after stealing some money from him. That ended her job there. She asked herself over and over again what joy men find in sex. Was it a curse to come into the world as a girl?

By now, she knew some Kaya girls. They ushered her into the kaya business. Here, what you gain is yours. You only have to pay dues to Mma Kasim and sort the boys out occasionally, and you’re safe. You also have to get a boyfriend, then you’ll not have any problem. He will protect you from boys.

“The thing is that I don’t need any boy” she had naively said. They laughed at her and left the matter for later. Lariba knew experience will be her best teacher. And yes, this is experience. Many boys tried but she refused. Lariba had a powerful boyfriend, the right hand man of the mafia; Hassan, so she wields power in the street. She managed to keep all those boys far from her. As fate will have it, Jamil, the mafia himself had set his eyes on her. Lariba had no power over this man, what this man wants, he gets, he has many girls but none had the audacity to be jealous in his presence, not unless you want to be taught a lesson.

In his absence, the girls bicker and fight but never let it get to his ears. Abena had flatly refused him, he sent his guys to get her but Lariba, on a tip off by Hassan had gone to plead on her behalf and had promised him his sex that night. She gave her something to drink and that ended it. When he came, she had tried to get him off, but she had found out to her own dismay that she wanted his touches. It was a mixed feeling, she hated him, wanted him off her, but she wanted him to scratch some itch she knew not existed. The others looked on, not batting an eye. What disgrace, what shame! Are we humans at all? She thinks to herself. The monster had come by the following day with some money. She was told she had become his favourite because she is pure. Whatever that means, she knows not. I must find a way to escape this mess.

She gets up to walk around and sees the many men sleeping, the many women sleeping, the many children crying for attention and the many others crying they are cold and walk through. She knows not what she is doing, where she is going to, or where she will end. She keeps on walking. Until she hears a voice, are you running away from me? That is Jamil’s voice. What is happening? Is her every deed being reported to this man? He takes a walk with her, buys her tea, bread and fried eggs by the roadside. Lariba had told her she is a lucky girl. All the girls he sleeps with get nothing from him. Here, he tells her the laws of the street.

She is not to say anything when she sees people stealing from others or she will get into trouble with thieves. She is not to insult any boy as that can cause her gang rape. She is to sleep at her place and not to walk around in the dark. Jamil is still saying she can get away with everything because of him but should be careful to maintain her respect.

Abena laughs over the matter, what respect can one maintain on the streets of Accra? He holds her hands and her impulse forces her to pull it back.

“I really like you Abena, just think about it. Now it is late so let’s go back to my place then you can have some rest.”

“No, no, no, take me to my spot. Lariba will worry if she gets up and does not see me”

Fortunately, he says nothing and leads her back. So yes, she cannot run away during the night. She must find a way.

Just when the mosquitoes start having pity on her in her quest to sleep, Lariba wakes her up, something about the storekeepers wanting to open their stores. She gets up, goes to visit the white house for 50pesewas, and baths for 50pesewas. There is nothing anyone can do on the streets of Accra for free. Even urinating is 20p. it’s a horrible place where money is concerned. She grabs her pan and hits the road.

Her first customer for today happens to be a very pleasant woman. She enquires as to what a beautiful Asante girl like her is doing porting. Porting is supposed to be for our sisters and brothers from the north. They are stronger. A southern girl like you should not join in. Abena thinks of telling her, on a second thought, leaves it be. She takes her 2 cedis and thanks her. She wonders though what Lariba will say to the woman’s opinion on porting and laughs. The second person heaps so many heavy things on her head, takes her all around Tudu and gives her one cedi for her trouble. She complains and the old Ga woman heaps abuses upon abuses on her verbally. “onny3 aye s))mi, ony3 aye gbemi, do you think money grows on trees? Greedy girl!” She feels shy of the many eyes this woman is attracting to the scene and leaves before it is too late.

The third is a man like a boy, about thirty years old, fairly handsome and speaks little. After his things are packed in his car, he asks how much he owes. Abena says 2 cedis and the man gives her 50 cedis and says keep the change. What? She turns to go but he gives him his number to call him later. Abena thanks him and leaves. Her fourth is a woman who is only interested in reaching her destination on time, pats with 5 cedis, sits in a trotro without saying anything.  Her fifth customer is a girl who is more or less her age, rude and bossy. Abena watches as she commands sellers, insults other buyers and shouts on her to follow. Somehow they get talking and she realizes that beneath the attitude is a very kind girl. She is going to school and needs someone to watch over her father. Her father happens to be a famous actor. He has never married but brings many women to the house. He has promised never to bring women to the house anymore because it disturbs her. She asks her to come with her to her house so she can cook and watch over him as she goes to school. She will pay her handsomely.

Abena is hesitant but goes any way to have a look. She realises the man in question is Ofosu Brobbey, 35 years old, dark and very attractive. She has been a fan of his since she was little. If Samantha is 17 years old then this man gave birth when he was 22. This is the hottest gossip ever. Does everyone know your father has a child?

“Yes, everyone knows. Haven’t you seen me in newspapers and on television before?” she is clueless, that’s it then but she is sure she watches television more than many people, strange.

“How about giving you one thousand cedis a month?”

What? Was the surprise answer

“Okay, let’s make it a thousand five hundred and that is as far as I can go.”

Not wanting to throw her pride into the gutter, she says:

“That is fine by me, when do I start?”

“Will call you, I can see a phone with you, on Monday. I will talk to my father about it then you can start. Now let me send you to Accra.”

On reaching Accra, Samantha pats with 200 cedis. Abena feels as though she is on cloud nine. She has almost 260 Ghana cedis in a day. She thinks of the man who gave her 50 cedis and calls to thank him. He requests to take her out. She readily accepts.

The man turns out to be a gentleman. He pulls her seat for her and pulls the tag off her dress. He obviously knows she got it to impress him but says nothing.

After eating, which he ordered, he takes her to his car and tells her there is one more place to go to. On reaching a barrier she asks to urinate. When she gets out of the car, she sees the policemen going to the car. She watches from the bush as they argue with Dan. They forcefully open the trunk of his car and bring out a human head. They arrest him and she runs into the bush.

“What is happening? It is not that she is watching a movie. Did a head just pop out of the trunk of that man’s car? Oh, no, no, I might be getting hysterical, was that man going to use me for money rituals? Where was he taking me to? What made him choose me? And I thought he might like me. So he was feeding me fat for his kill”

She left her hand bag with her phone in it in the human-parts car. She runs into the forest, just when she thinks she can go no further, she sees a road and hears the sound of a car. She rushes to the road side and stops the car. The car passes by without a second glance from the driver. She knows it is dangerous to pick up strangers at odd hours but she considers this attitude too much. What is so scary about her that a man will fear? Then again, all the armed robbers who lure innocent citizens with innocent women have overdone themselves. Before her mind conjures thoughts of being abused by armed robbers she hears another car approaching. She stands in the middle of the road to stop it. The man driving gets out and slaps her. She cries out but tells him she needs the help. He feels sorry for the abuse and picks her up.

“So what is an innocent girl like you doing on the Kasoa highway at this time?”

“Kasoa Highway” is all she can say. I am going to Accra.

The man drops her at UTC at 4am. She rushes to her spot and meets Jamil sitting there with Lariba angrily shouting.

A slap greets her and another slap asks her where she went to. She tells her ordeal but all she gets from Jamil is more physical assault.
“Whore! Whore! I thought you were different. So you wanted to go sleep around with fancy men and leave me here?” And more beatings followed. Lariba stands with the other girls, some happy, some amused, some a bit sympathetic and others trying not to bat an eye for fear of an evidence in the gossip slipping by.

After he calms, Abena has both eyes hiding deep behind her swollen cheeks and eyebrow. She looks like a battered boxer. Lariba tends to her wounds. Under no circumstance must she take this to the hospital. Lariba hires a kiosk for the day for her. It costs ten cedis. She goes to work; comes back, gets hot water to clean the wound and cleans it with some spirit. She gives her some painkillers to ease her pain. All Lariba is doing is to make her better, but Abena feels worse.

She feels broken, humiliated and brutalized.

“What more bad things does she have hiding in her future waiting to bath her in shame?” she asks Lariba as if she knows the answer. Lariba advises her to keep away from other men as Jamil is utterly possessive and jealous when he likes someone. The fact is he has had so many of them in the past, they give birth and he loses interest. So if she likes, she can get pregnant. Abena laughs, a laugh which hysterically turns into tears which Lariba tries to stop with no success.

With her phone gone, she needs to get to Samantha’s house before Monday but can’t go there with all her bruises. It is Thursday, she hopes by Sunday she will be well enough to go there. On Saturday evening, Jamil comes to abuse her sexually again. He looks obese, his breathe stinks and his hands are more than metals when they are on her skin. She just hates him so much but has no way of doing away with him. She clings to the sheet she lies on for dear life the whole time he is on top of her. The determination at this stage forces her to go to work. On reaching the store she normally works for in the morning, she sees Samantha standing there. She smiles when she sees her but the smile fades after seeing her bruises. She takes her to her car and insists that she tells her what happened. She skips the sexual abuse and tells her bits of it. She was beaten by a thug while she was asleep. Samantha throws away her pan and takes her home.

Her room is like that of a princess. White sheet on a huge comfortable mattress, she has her own bathroom. She feels this is surreal, she asks Samantha,

“What if your father doesn’t like me? Maybe we should wait until he sees me before I get comfy”

Samantha laughs and tells her everything is all right. Her father has seen her picture and has ‘okayed’ it. She was shown around the house. The kitchen is to die for. Cooking has always been her passion. She was always helping at the Kitchen of Mma Leila’s hotel. She wanted to be a Home Economics student when she thought she could go to the secondary school. Seeing an expensive kitchen forces her to show off with one of her favourite dishes. Samantha eats until she can eat no more. She never knew that Banku and Okra stew could taste this good when prepared at home.

“My instincts never fail me. I was right about you, now tell me all about you” And this starts a vibrant friendship between employer and employee.

“My father is on location. He will be back on Monday to take me to school.”

The two enjoy themselves until Abena goes to bed. She finds out she cannot sleep as she had hoped. She thinks of Lariba, she had been through some verbal torture when she left the last time, what will be happening to her now? Will she be alright? She looks at the watch hanging on the wall, it says 1am. She forces her eyes shut. She needs to wake up early, clean the house to keep her job. Amadu is the gate man for the Brobbeys. He looks well fed and satisfied. He tells her, when Samantha goes out, that she can be a bitch but what subdues her is to see people sad or crying. Her father barely has time to stay in the house let alone bother anyone. He is the sweetest man he has ever seen. She just has to do her job and she’ll have no problem with any of them.

Samantha tries to persuade Abena to go shopping with her but it does not work. She fears she might be spotted by the awful Jamil or some of his spies.  Samantha takes her measurement and buys many things for her. Abena is appalled at the quantity of the clothes she brings so asks how much they cost.

“Nothing, actually, I went to see one of my father’s friends. She owns a boutique; these are some of her rejects. She might be paid by my father. These two, I bought somewhere for special occasions.”

Abena thanks her and serves her. Somehow, every food she prepares, Samantha finds delicious.

As she prepares breakfast for the lady who is going to the university, she sits on the table to wait for the oats to be ready; she feels a shadow cast on her, looks up and there stands the actor in all his glory. She stands straight, greets, apologises and bows her head in shyness.

Mr. Brobbey laughs and asks her to be herself. He stretches his hands and she takes it with her head bowed. He continues laughing until the table turns; he passes air and this time, Abena laughs while he hides his face. He later joins in the laughter and says, “I am human after all, you must be Abena, nice meeting you finally, I am Ofosu Brobbey”

Like I don’t know, who will not know that? That person must be living on this earth as a frog. She thinks “Nice meeting you too Mr. Brobbey” she says so she doesn’t look like a crazed fan.

He helps her set the table, something that makes her feel so odd. She sits and waits for Samantha to come down for breakfast after all her things have been parked into the car. Some people are really lucky, she is taking things that she has never seen before to school. After breakfast, she is asked to go and change. She is coming with them to Kumasi.

It rains throughout the journey. They reach Kumasi at 12pm.

They take Samantha to her hostel; West End Hostel at Ayeduase. She has another girl in the hostel with her. Two in a room Abena is told. They bid her farewell at 3pm. Father and daughter shed few tears and Samantha asks Abena to take very good care of her father after giving her an expensive phone as a gift.

“Press one to call me and two to call Daddy.” Abena receives a hug from Samantha. Something she is new to.

On their way, Mr. Brobbey stops at Linda Dor for them to eat and buys her some fruit juice. They reach home at 7:45pm. Abena asks if she should prepare something for dinner. Mr. Brobbey says he’ll rather drink. He asks her to join him. The drinking goes overboard and she forgets how she got to her room in the middle of the night, she goes back to sleep.

Abena wakes up not knowing for certain whether it happened or she is hallucinating. After seeing the man, she realizes that it is something that might have happened; sex with Mr. Brobbey. She tries to stay away from him as much as she can but the man will not agree. He talks to her every chance he gets, calls her when she escapes to her room, soon, she forgets of the ordeal.

Three months later, she realizes that she is gaining weight, having series of illnesses but she pays no attention. She trips and falls and loses consciousness. Mr. Brobbey sends her to the hospital only to be told she is three months pregnant.

He brings her home worried. This is going to be a scandal, Mr. Brobbey thinks.

Whose baby is this? Is it for Jamil or Mr. Brobbey? I do not know for a fact that he slept with me. Jamil on the other hand certainly did many times.

Mr. Brobbey goes straight to his room as Abena does same. She thinks through this and realises she cannot stay here. She must leave before Samantha gets back. But where will she go to? Jamil will kill her but her pride will not allow her to stay in this house. If she packs her bag, they will certainly know, so she wakes up the next day, prepares breakfast and tells Amadu she is going to the market. She picks her 4500 Ghana Cedis; the accumulation of her salary, which she keeps under her bed and leaves for cape coast.

She gets to Elimina and asks around for a cheap room. She gets a wooden structure for three hundred cedis a year and starts selling rubber bowls. She takes rubber bowls from Accra and takes roasted fishes to Accra for sale. In her ninth month, she delivers a set of twins, a boy and a girl. It seems her eyes are deceiving her, the boy looks so much like Mr. Brobbey and the girl is her carbon copy. The old women who live around help her tend to her children until they are three months old. This is probably one thing Ghanaians can be noted for; their hospitality, all old women see young people as their children and vice versa. She is so grateful for their help.

Meanwhile, Samantha looks for Abena without success. She feels the poor girl might have encountered some problems. Amadu says she was alright, she just fainted the previous day, was sent to the hospital and discharged the same day, but her father can’t seem to look straight into her eyes any time Abena’s issue comes up. What she doesn’t know is that Mr. Brobbey has hired private detectives to look for the girl for months. Some have gone to Kumasi, Tamale, Wa, Bolgatanga, he knows she will never go to the central region because the girl knows no one from that area. But the detectives assure him that if the girl is in Ghana, they will find her.

Abena gets a nanny for her children so she can work to support them. She brings her fishes to Accra and sends back her rubber bowls not knowing the eyes that follow her. She even accommodates Mr. Lamptey who claims he is a tourist wanting to camp there for a few days.

After a hard day hawking, Abena baths and gets her children ready for bed. She raises her eyes only to see Mr. Brobbey standing in front of her. Now her eyes are deceiving her. She closes her eyes and opens them only to find him standing there.

“Were you that scared? Did you not trust me? Was I that monstrous? I was a bit shocked, but did you think I’ll run from my responsibilities?”

Abena sits shivering. She is ordered to pack her things and come with him to Accra. Abena says no. Mr. Brobbey tells her of the reality on the ground. If the media gets wind of this, they are going to fry him. His career will go down the drain. He doesn’t know about what he feels for her and considering her age, he doesn’t know about marriage now but time will tell their fate. Abena is worried about what Samantha will say but he tells her Samantha already knows. The lady knew before she even told her that something had happened. It is here that she learns that the genius was actually 21 years old. She is my elder brother’s daughter, he died when she was young and I have taken care of her since. Her mother travelled abroad after leaving her with my brother, the woman never returned. No one knows what has happened to her. She only looks young.

When Samantha sees Abena, she jumps and hugs her nearly to the ground, hurling insults at her playfully. “Why couldn’t you tell me about this? Are you comfortable being the victim of circumstances?” were among the many questions.

“Daddy must marry you whether he likes it or not”

Abena cannot sleep. She dreams of Jamil always. Sometimes, he finds her and beats her up, sometimes he comes to the house to claim paternity of her children. She becomes so lean that everyone asks what her problem is. Mr. Brobbey takes her to the hospital but the doctors say she is healthy. Abena finally breaks down and tells Mr. Brobbey everything.

The man looks at her in shock. How can such a young girl go through so much? He thinks this is even more sympathetic than most of the sympathetic movies he stars in.

He goes for the paternity test and relieves the girl of her fears. The children are his. He arranges for her to be taught at home to write the Nov/Dec exams.

Lately, he does not know what has come over him, even when he is on location, he yearns to see Abena and his children. He cannot say that he is in love but he certainly feels something more for her. May be it is the case of close trees eventually joining roots.

 

EPILOGUE:

Two years later, Abena passes her exams with distinction. Mr. Brobbey sends her to the United States of America to offer Nutrition. At the airport, he forcefully puts his promissory ring on her finger and she can’t help laughing and hugging her family before boarding the plane. She thinks of the change she wants to cause on the street and prays that God keeps Lariba and the other girls safe until she is in the position to get them out of there. It’ll be well when it ends well.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

 

VILLAGE BLISS, A STORY WITHIN A STORY BY AMOAFOWAA SEFA CECILIA

I stubbornly hold onto my MP3 as the ear piece blast noise that I find pleasurable, not because of its smoothness, but because of the fact that it drowns the noise that is coming from my parents. I went to visit my friend in skimpy clothes, yes, came late, yes, that does not give them the right to treat me as an outcast.  I don’t know how we came to be like this. I was really close to them, especially to my father who now looks at me like an insect. Well, before I have time to close my eyes as I comfortably lie in the sofa, the earpiece is yanked from my ears. My father stands in front of me with hateful words coming out of his mouth:

“You’re going to the village. Stay with your aunt, go to the farm, battle with mosquitoes and other insects, when you finally learn sense, you will appreciate the life you have here, go and pack your things!”

I never thought it has gotten to this stage. “But papa, I am not that bad for you to send me to that uncouth place, those villagers live like animals” I cry.

“Well, you have developed horns, so you are now a bull, prepare to dine with those animals, Odo, I even forgot you packed her bag, bring it and bring that animal with you” My father angrily says. They really are serious. Before I can say a word, I find myself in the back seat as my father drives with a cloudy face and my mother cries.

I am an only child, was pampered when I was young. I have always been a clever student. I just completed my secondary school. Somehow, since I came home, all that I have been doing go against the norms of my household. My clothes, eating habits, friends, household work, church preference, everything I do annoy my parents. I am shivering thinking of those bush people. I have never been to the home town of either parent. But from what I’ve gathered from them, my mother’s home town is better than my father’s. So it seems I’m going to the worst.

We reach Nkawkaw and my father buys “nkyekyerewa” (a combination of boiled maize and groundnut), he doesn’t bother to give me some. My mother takes one and passes it to me, but I stubbornly refuse. Well, on reaching Abetifi Kwahu, I realize it is not as bad as they described. There are many trees here, and by my studies, I know the greens are good for the production of oxygen. I see very beautiful houses and my face lights, only to be sent to a mud self- contained half broken house. Why? The house is almost in ruins. I quickly inspect and there is no light. I look out for the taps and there is no pipe borne water. A voice in my mind screams: What is this?

I decide to get on my knees and ask for forgiveness but my father is not ready to listen. I also have my pride. In the first place, I do not know why they are doing this to me. I shut up as my aunt quarrels with my father on the state of the family house and looks on as he and his wife drive off.

My aunt serves me food in some black aluminium silver bowl; my first impulse is to reject it. The growl of my stomach reminds me, I cannot afford to reject this one. I take the food and it tastes like the best soup I have ever had. I laugh and my aunt asks why? I ask her for more and she serves. Little does she know I’m laughing at my mother for her sub- standard food taste though she has everything to aid her in cooking. Looking at the clay stove, the firewood, and the old cooking pots brings some irony which is too funny than Bill Cosby’s sitcoms.

My aunt tells me to be careful or the food will pass through my nose. I know what she means so keep quiet and finish my meal. My room is a very cosy place, small but has everything, everything but electricity and electrical gadgets. I ask my aunt how she listens to radio and watches television and she brings me some huge radio which uses batteries. I have a good sleep. I did not even feel one bite of mosquito.

The next day, my aunt wakes me up at 4 am for the stream. On our way, she tells me all about her children in the city and how they are suffering. She tells me how one is abroad and struggling to help those in Accra to also go there. I ask her why she lives the way she does and the response, I know, will make me think for a long time:

“Life without traffic, without noise, without labelling, a world you know you belong, that is the life I have here. I have lived in the city before, but never had a day’s rest. The heat was simply unbearable, the noise always threatened to make me deaf and every one was looking for whom to dupe, be it the seller or the buyer. Not an honest soul there. Maa Afia, here nature feeds me. The farm produces the best “kontomire” and coco-yam, not to talk of yams and maize. Never think living in the village is bad. I never lack, they send me what they can which I never get to finish before they send another. I’ll show you how cool it is. ”

I try to make conversation but end up failing throughout the journey to the stream.  The water comes from some clean stones, she fetches some with her calabash for me to drink and it is the tastiest water I have ever drunk. I ask myself now, why did my parents make me believe the village is a monstrous place? We go fetching four times. The stream is about 45 minutes’ walk from our house. I have always heard from my father that my aunt is very aggressive, but now that I live with her, she seems like the coolest person ever.  Breakfast is porridge and tea bread. I love the “pepre, hwintia and other flavours in the porridge. Though I miss using my laptop, iPod and watching television, I feel this is the safest place I have ever been.

My aunt dresses me for the farm, and I look ridiculous. Every part of my body is covered by dirty clothes. When I complain, she lovingly says she doesn’t want my beautiful skin to have scars. I become nervous.

“Aunt, what if we are devoured by lions?”

Her laughter eases my fears, “Lions? What do you learn in schools nowadays? Lions are not found in these parts. In fact, apart from some few snakes, antelopes and some birds, it is difficult to come by aggressive animals in our forest. All the lands around have owners who farm. So by now many are in their farms. Even when there is danger, you just need to scream and many people will come to your rescue.”

We reach the top of a mountain and she asks me to turn and look, standing here, I see the whole village, the beautiful houses and the not so beautiful ones, telling tales of all hands are not equal. The sight is so breathtakingly beautiful that I can stand here for days without moving. She tells me to let us go as time is far spent.

The chirping of the birds, the green shrubs and the trees which tower above make the road to the farm beautiful and scary at the same time. Although aunt tried allying my fears, I still have a little lurking that a snake may try acting wild and chop off my legs. We see people going to farm in our direction, and others coming. Everyone we meet greets and mentions my name as if they have known me all their lives.

“Aunt, how did they know my name? Did you tell the chief to announce it this morning with the village radio?”

My aunt laughs and I see her shedding tears. Now I want to know what amuses her. She tells me I look like my father so immediately they see me, they know who I am. Then she nicely tells me the way I talk is funny. How funny? My mother will cry out that I am being disrespectful without telling me how exactly, but this woman finds it funny. Then I ask her what she means by funny. She tells me a story rather:

“Once there was a girl whose parents died when she was young. She had no one to teach her manners, so she spoke as she thought fit. She never thought of being rude but everything she said was rude. Because of this, many people decided to shun her company. The river goddess of the village became so sad that the orphan was being treated that way. So she decided to visit her. Knowing her beauty, she knew many will know she is the goddess if she visited her during the day time. She did not want to scar her by visiting her in the night as her brightness will give show her identity. For she shone bright in darkness.

She waited for the perfect opportunity. Tuesdays were days the Anomakodee people rested. No one was to go to the farm. Sweetie didn’t know and the people wanted her dead, so no one told her, she went to the farm every Tuesday. The river goddess started accompanying her to farm, teaching her how to speak to the elderly, to her peers and how to be polite in the awkward of situations. She taught her instead of rudely saying, “what do you want?”  She must say, “Please how may I help you?” Instead of saying “I did not do it intentionally”, she must say “Please I am at fault, forgive me” Instead of asking “Who did this to my house” She must ask whoever she sees around politely, “Please did you see anyone around here?” When something happens to someone she must first say “Sorry” and try to see if the person is hurt, no matter how funny it is”

By now, we are at the farm, I am uprooting some leaves as she sorts out the maize for planting. I am too engrossed in the story that I do not appreciate her pause, but I manage to say “Please aunt, then what happened?”

She laughs delightfully and comments on how intelligent and wise I am. Yes, I do not want to be like the girl who didn’t know how to talk and so had no friends. I have learnt my lesson even before she finishes.

“Sweetie learnt well, day by day, she behaved well after visiting the farm on Tuesdays. The people of Anomakodee started seeing her like a goddess, because no one goes to the farm on Tuesdays and comes back without an ailment. She started having many friends who asked her how she became that refined. Upon telling them, they got to know she was being tutored by the great river goddess. A hunter once saw them talking and came to tell the chief of the village. He died immediately afterwards. The prince of the village saw her and fell in love with her. Her way of talking, her way of dressing…”

At this point, I have to ask how she dressed:

“Like an “aketeesia” meaning one who covers herself in wait for her true groom. The prince married her and she became the wisest queen to ever grace the throne of Anomakodee.”

This woman is the most refined woman I have ever met. She is not an animal at all. If humans were to be animals, then those in the cities will top the chat. Who could ever think that this woman had so much wisdom in her? With one story, she has convinced me to speak properly and dress properly. Thoughts of calling her an animal gnaw at my heart. I was wrong to tag her in that category, No one must be tagged that way, if I will become a queen wherever I find myself in the future, I certainly must think well of people. If this woman is this good, then why does my father have only bad things to say about her? Before I could control myself, the question jumps from my throat into her ears:

“Aunt, why do you always quarrel with my father?”

She smiles and tells me;

“He is my brother; he comes directly after me, so surely we will fight. He loves annoying me, and I love annoying him, but make no mistake, we love each other as much as we love our families.”

In the evening, I help her prepare ‘fufu’ and palm nut soup, she only used natural spices to prepare it but it tasted superb. My pleas for her to make me pound does not work as she stirs with one hand and pounds with another. She only asks me to keep an eye on the soup.

After eating, we hear sounds coming from other houses, we go to the street and see many people gathering for the farm, one farmer has not returned from farm since yesterday. The men go into the forest only to come with the man alive and healthy. He has built a hut in the farm and enjoys staying there sometimes. He does not know why his wife makes mountains out of mole hills.

Then it strikes me, the fact that we are each other’s keeper in the village. Who has that time for who in the city? Even when you are knocked down by a car, the best you will hear is “sorry”. Here, many will go as far as feeding you even when they barely have enough. These thoughts root me in the village and I promise to give myself this peace.

 

EPILOGUE:

Many educated youths met at the village square to sing and dance, this communal games warmed my heart. It was not that they had no television in their houses, it is just that they loved human interactions more. They are the most enlightened beings to ever grace my world. In the areas of sports, politics, current affairs etc. I find myself awed by their thoughts. Villagism is true wisdom untainted, I tell you.

I stayed with my aunt until my results were released. I passed all my subjects and my parents came with their happy faces to take me to Accra. I told them I would love to live in the village with my aunt. All their pleas did not work. My father quarrelled with my aunt for stealing me from them, this time; I knew they were faking so I paid no attention to them. I was admitted into The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology where I am offering medicine. I visit my parents occasionally but stay permanently with my aunt. My father finally renovated the family house.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

PULL AND LET ME PULL, A SHORT STORY BY AMOAFOWAA SEFA CECILIA

Image   Image

Mma Adjara stands in the middle of the compound wondering what is going to happen. Is she to support Wadudu or Watara in their bid for kingship? She was the first wife of the late king, their father, and loves them both. Fate had dealt her a nasty blow so much so that she gave birth to only “animals”. She painfully thinks about the horrible name society has given to her girls even before they were born. No matter how hard she tried, she gave her husband girls. The elders of the land put pressure on her husband to take another wife as custom demanded and she was left with no option but to agree. The first born of Fatahiya, the second wife, was twin boys who never made it to their second year because of measles. The witchcraft card was drawn and she fitted perfectly on its table. Her husband had been gracious to rebuff the allegations citing the words of the herbalist who took care of the boys. Tried as Fatahiya did, she could not conceive after three years so Naa- Soringahi had to take a third wife out of the many beautiful girls who were being offered to the king as gifts. Fatahiya begrudged her for what seemed like eternity thinking she was somehow connected with her inability to conceive. She tolerated her.

The third wife Salma bore a boy and a girl, she lost the girl but Alhassan, the boy survived. Two months later, Fatahiya also conceived a male child; Watara. No one knew of her pregnancy because she went to her mother’s home town Zuhiri when she realized she was pregnant. Everyone in Hasuni thought she left because she was jealous of the new wife, even her husband thought so. When members of her family called on the king to say Fatahiya had delivered, everyone was shocked. There were rumours that she might have stolen the baby or she might have committed adultery to deliver that baby but Mma Adjara had extinguished the fire in that rumour flame.

Five years after these children were born, a ten year old boy was brought to the palace and no one was told he was the son of Naa-Soringahi. Wadudu looked like a clone of his father, the king. His presence shook Mma Adjara and the very fabric of the Hasuni kingdom. As to how this came about, the old man who brought the boy said Zelia, his mother was dead. He said “Zelia” looking directly in the eyes of Mma Adjara as though she was supposed to know her. When she searched his face without a clue, he said:

“Zelia your former maid”

“Huh?” was all Mma Adjara could say. She remembered the girl. She was a respectful girl who was brought to the palace when she was around fifteen years old. She was a bright young girl who adored her children and took very good care of the princesses. When her first princess was four years old, the girl had gotten up one day to say she would like to leave the palace. Mma Adjara had depended so much on her and trusted her completely. She tried all she could to convince her but the girl was defiant, she wanted to go to her ailing father, she could not live in the palace any longer. At first, she thought the girl was hiding something, but after seeing her father, she allowed her, her father was old and limping on one leg. She could never had thought that her husband had had carnal knowledge of the young girl.

She took a look at the king in his throne for clues but his head was bowed. The elders decided to make Wadudu Mma Adjara’s third child and first son. As to the explanation, the throne had no explanation to give anyone. Those palace maids who were seen wagging their tongues disappeared without a trace. Within months, the Hasuni kingdom was quiet on this matter though it was more like an open secret.

Each day with Wadudu, Mma Adjara felt blessed. He was the most well nurtured boy she had ever met. He was a respectful, adorable, wise and hard-working young man to ever live. Fatahiya looked for ways to get him out of the palace but all her traps backfired. The last set-up that made her give up was when she said Wadudu proudly blurted out the forbidden saying of the Hasuni Kingdom which must never be mentioned, to her hearing. According to the traditions of Hasuni Kingdom, saying that “Lahiri will poison Kumzaazi” is like saying a prince will poison another prince in order to be king. This is a forbidden saying because it happened two centuries ago in the Hasuni kingdom.

The chief called the boy and asked him about it, he said;

“Naa, I know it is a curse to say this kind of thing. My grandfather told me this particular statement, when made, the body of the utterer was stripped of all clothes and thrown into the evil forest of Asisam. The evil forest of Asisam, my grandfather told me, holds all the witches that Baba Umotu sacks from the villages under Hasuni Kingdom. It is where many fierce animals hunt for human flesh and it is where Apiopiopio hunts for human blood for his deity. I am very sure I did not utter that statement. I hardly see Mma Fatahiya in the house and I was with Mma Adjara the whole day yesterday”

Mma Adjara confirmed that he was with her and Fatahiya nearly lost her head but for the timely intervention of her family who planned for someone to take the blame saying the victim’s voice sounded like Wadudu’s.

Naa loved Wadudu not because he was his photocopy, but because he felt sorry for forcing himself on his mother. He felt he had wronged the girl so much he started having a soft spot for Zelia, but it was too late. He could not bring the matter up because he felt getting married to her would be unfair to his wife. This made him bury his feelings deep within his heart before she left his kingdom. He did not know he had planted a seed in her very new farm.

Now the king is dead. Before he died, he confided in his wife that he would rather have Wadudu become his successor but the elders would use the laws of the land to make it impossible. He pleaded with his intelligent queen to think of a way to make it possible. He told the elders before passing on that he will tell his first wife how his successor will be chosen, they grumbled, but agreed. The wishes of the dying must not be challenged, everyone knew this adage well. Alhassan and Watara, everyone knew were spoilt brats. They never did their father proud and their mothers fought for nothing.

One of the customary laws of Hasuni holds that “an issue between a royal and a servant cannot be king.” Though Wadudu had been portrayed as the son of the first wife, everyone knew of his background.

Now that Naa is dead and many heads want the throne in their families, Mma Adjara is supposed to choose the next king for approval and her rivals are all putting pressure on her to select their sons.

Under the laws of the land, Alhassan is the right person to be king because he is the first royal son of Naa but Salma had no strong backing from the elders. Most of the elders were relatives of Fatahiya. Mma Adjara has an opinion in this matter but if she chooses Wadudu, she would be turned down flatly. She asked them to give her three weeks to tell them what her husband had said and to help choose the next king.

Two weeks later, Fatahiya and her son called Alhassan to come and have some pito with them. Alhassan died that evening and Salma was beside herself with grief. Mma Adjara could not think straight. She confronted Fatahiya after a palace guard told her what happened. She denied and appealed to Mma Adjara not to be paranoid into making decisions by listening to fake gossip. She shed crocodile tears showing her grief for the loss of Alhassan. The next day, the guard who told Mma Adjara of the pito drink disappeared. Mma Adjara stands under the baobab tree thinking and soliloquizing on her next move.

She devices a good plan to get the best king for the kingdom. She calls for the elders of the land and tells them her husband had told her to first give all his sons one puzzle to solve. The families of his sons must stay out of solving the puzzle or Apiopiopio must strike them down. They are to solve the puzzle and meet her on the next moon with the result. The one who solves the puzzle has a greater chance of becoming the next king. She went further to say there are three phases of the test, finding the meaning of the puzzle is the first. So the puzzle was given to them on the skin of their family totem; a lion.

“Strength soar when brooms work, we drink many families of water at a go.”

Watara is the first to speak.
“Why must this half-baked prince be in the competition?”

His uncle tells him to keep quiet as that is the last wish of his dead father. But he tells his uncle that must have been because his father wanted Wadudu to be king. He angrily told his uncle that his father knew  Wadudu was brilliant that is why he brought learning into the picture. He is rushed into the room by his mother. She tells him to think hard and solve the puzzle as the god of Apiopiopio will never spare anyone who intervenes. Watara asks his mother if Wadudu cannot go the same way Alhassan went. Fatahiya thinks for a while, and tells him to let her sleep on the matter.

Mma Adjara and the elders patiently wait for the next moon.

When Wadudu was exonerated from the web of lies by Fatahiya, Mma Adjara knew the boy’s life was in danger. She gave him a homing pigeon for a pet. She told him to keep that bird with him at all times. The bird became his best friend and confidant. She also gave him two wild dogs and two cats to keep as pets. Wadudu loved Mma Adjara so much that he kept her gifts so well. Seeing the puzzle on the lion skin, he chuckles and says in his head, my father was a very intelligent man. He went into his room and immediately solves it in his head waiting for the day of submission.

Fatahiya sends a guard to send a nicely shaped gourd of pito to Wadudu. Her instruction was to tell him that his grandfather sent it to him. Wadudu sees his mother and she tells him of the pito, but she tells him to pour some of his pito for one cock to drink. Wadudu does as instructed and the cock dies instantly. Mma Adjara instructs her guards to get the guard who brought the pito but he was nowhere to be found. She tells Wadudu to be extra careful. When he is going to the farm, he must make sure he goes with his pets and guards; she also has one last request for him.

The evening is bright with the moon smiling down on the earth and the stars playing in the sky. Fireflies on this night have lost their bright shine to the sky beings and many guards whose eyelids have been removed to keep them from sleeping stand at vantage points keeping watch over Wadudu’s hut. Tomorrow is the day of the submission of the test and the whole kingdom anticipates the selection of their king. Before any of the guards gets to know what is happening, about four of the guards are seen lying on the ground, murdered. The rest shout for help but no one hears this because they all drank from the big drum of water that sits in front of the huts. Fatahiya made sure to put the sleeping medicine in. The guards needed one thing done, to murder Wadudu.

Nkeemasi is the guard of the forest, he witnesses what is going on until he sees the angry faces of the murderers when they realize what they have killed to kill is a straw decoy. They try picking up one dead guard for questioning but it is no use. They start cleaning the house and conveying the dead guards to God knows where. He watches from where he hides. These people are to be feared. Because they did not get him, they are wiping all evidence of an attack on Prince Wadudu. Mma Adjara was right when she requested that we hide Wadudu. The gods must do something, he thinks. He hides and watches until all of them leave and dawn gives way to the morning rays.

Nkeemasi tells Mma Adjara everything that happened in the night. The guards search for Wadudu in the whole land and other villages. Traps were made for him on the many paths to the market square where the test is to take place. Time now for the test and Watara is the only prince who shows up. Some of the elders are impatient, others are pleasantly happy. The happy elders put pressure on Mma Adjara to start the presentation and disqualify Wadudu for disrespecting the elders of the land and herself. Mma Adjara heeds to their demand but before they can rejoice, a beautiful maiden seated in the audience comes forward and sits with Watara. All the elders shout, abomination!

Wadudu takes off the female apparel and takes his fugu from one of his sisters, the last born of Fatahiya and wears it with his royal shoes. The whole kingdom has never seen anything like this. Some shout in adoration, others shout in disappointment. Watara is called to give his presentation and he comes to say:

“Strength soar when brooms work, we drink many families of water at a go. This means that we must use our strength to fly as we hold brooms to sweep the sky. The water we drink, we must give to our families. Thank you”

Many of the elders place their hands on their heads, never have they seen a foolish prince as this one, all their tutelage have gone into one ear and gotten out of the other. Wadudu stands in front of the elders and audience:

“Strength soar when brooms work, we drink many families of water at a go. (He produces two calabashes, one with water, and brooms tied together. (He lifts the broom, removes just one and easily breaks it and takes the whole tied broom and says) “Strength soar when brooms work mean with one broom there is no strength, with many together, it becomes difficult to break. This simply means when we are together, we can never be defeated, just one of us is no hurdle for even a sole enemy.”

He now puts the empty calabash down and lifts the one with water and pours it one drop after the other in the calabash on the ground and says;) When rain falls, it falls one drop after the other with many dropping at the same time. Those which fall at the same time are in one family, with every second rain fall, we have new families of water. Most of these families go into our rivers to form the water that quenches our thirst. Without the strength of their families, we will not have enough to drink to keep us alive. This goes to buttress the fact that unity is strength.”

The applause is simply thunderous. All hands clap, even ones from the enemies. Mma Adjara calls on the head elder to say something.

“What can I say now? All I will say is what Wadudu here has said. It couldn’t have been delivered any better. So Watara has failed miserably and Wadudu has passed. Baba Fuseina says.

The clap and happiness from the audience is simply unimaginable. Watara gets up to leave and Mma Adjara speaks for him to sit.

“It is not over yet Watara. The second test is this;” she hands over another skin to both of them

Watara reads his “The body must be free, the soul must be holy to hold souls under a kingdom, convince your audience in the next moon”

What is the meaning of this? Some of the elders tell him it is for him to find out and for them to listen. He leaves the market ground angry with his mother trailing him.

Fatahiya calls her young daughter:

“Hasana, why were you helping that half-baked prince when you have a full prince for a brother?”

“Wↄi Mma, aren’t they all my brothers? Please I didn’t do anything bad oh, don’t make me a bad girl.” Hasana retorts.

“Don’t be silly Hasana, now tell me how you were able to conceal him or I will call Apiopiopio to deal with you.”

“Mma, I just met him on the way and he asked me to give him my wrapper, I had another for my friend Koona and gave it to him to dress that is all.”

“From today, you better tell me whenever he asks you for something, and be sure to bring Koona for me to see her. How can you keep a friend that I don’t know? Her being from another kingdom is the more reason I must know her, do you hear me?”

“Yes Mma, I will ask her to come and stay with me for a while so you will see her soon.” is all Hasana has to say and she says it laughing within her so badly.

There is a frantic search for Wadudu. First, one of his cats die and his dogs bark so loudly, it is as if the world is falling on their heads. He climbs into his straw ceiling and watches as the guards comb the whole room looking for him this hot afternoon. He knows by now all his guards have been killed. Soomia, his homing pigeon flies to Mma Adjara and restlessly flaps its wings, Mma sends guards to Wadudu’s house and four men are caught. Mma Adjara hides them under her underground quarters which no one knows of, no one, not even Wadudu.

Fatahiya becomes very restless, she has waited the whole night for the head elder to tell him something but he had failed to turn up. She covers herself like an old woman and goes to his house only to be told the man doesn’t want to see her. She goes back to her quarters worried. She thinks she saw a doppelganger of Wadudu warning her to be careful or risk dying together with her whole family. She is so afraid that she goes into the hut of Hasana to sleep. Here, she sees Koona sleeping besides her. Mma, Koona came today so I was thinking of bringing her to see you tomorrow. “To what do I owe this visit?”

“I feel very bad, I think I am getting sick so I thought of sleeping here with you today, but with your friend asleep, I don’t think it will be possible”

Hasana laughed and told her to share a bed with her in her bedroom as Koona loved sleeping by herself. Fatahiya was glad. The dawn of the next morning, she meets Koona and sees her under the fickle rays of the lantern and expresses her happiness at meeting her. Koona thanks her and leaves for the bathroom. The search for Wadudu continues until the day of the second test without any knowledge of the guards of his whereabouts.

Mma Adjara sits in the female throne and asks those vying for the throne to present their work. She warns that none must lie in the presence of the elders or Apiopiopio will strike the person down. Wadudu is called first:

““The body must be free, the soul must be holy to hold souls under a kingdom, convince your audience in the next moon. This means one must be without the guilt of taking another’s soul unfairly to be able to rule a kingdom. Naa wanted us to swear in front of the elders of the kingdom and Apiopiopio the great that we have taken no life unfairly and I Wadudu Soringahi swears that never have I even taken a life let alone take a life of another unfairly. If someone has died because of me, then it definitely means I could do nothing to save the person or I had no idea the person will end up that way. I ask for the forgiveness of all such people and promise to live right by them.” There was a thunderous applause as usual as he sits down.

Watara cannot get up, he looks in the face of his mother who passes a charm to him to wear on his wrist and go. He swears that he has never killed anyone unfairly but before his next sentence, he is hit by thunder and he dies instantly.

What could be happening? Fatahiya starts taking off her nice female fugu and white top she strips herself naked as people start running away from her. Hasana Pleads with her to stop and the elders hold Hasana from getting any closer. Apiopiopio has gotten her brain; there is no way she can be saved. Let’s leave her to go. She will die by the Apiopiopio shrine and her blood will be used for whatever Apiopiopio needs.

Hasana cries aloud and Wadudu can do nothing but sympathise with her.

“I think helping you is my mistake, I took you into my house and made you pose as a lady and now my brother and mother are dead. I know they were up to no good but they were my family”

“And I am also your family”

Wadudu says sadly.

“I know, but why does it hurt so much brother?”

The first son of the King of Homoni Kingdom who is sitting in the audience gets up and takes her into his arms.

“I will like to be your family if you’ll have me. I am the heir apparent to the throne of Homoni Kingdom and I’ll make you the crown princess and the queen someday. Your golden heart deserves to rule. My father was given the task of taking care of Wadudu by his grandfather who died some years back. That is why he was forbidden from going back to his mother’s hometown, Thank you for your help.

It is a very cold evening  but Mma Adjara sends for the head elder, Baba Fuseini. He comes and frowns after hearing that Wadudu must be made king. He tells Mma Adjara that the kingship must go to the family of the late king’s brother. Mma Adjara tells him:
“I have evidence of the people you sent to kill Wadudu. It is either you agree and convince your people or face the consequences.”

The elder’s face turns so pale and he starts panicking. Mma Adjara asks him to leave and think about it or face the consequences.

Baba Fuseini cannot sleep this night. He sends for the elders and tells them to consider Wadudu as the next king. The elders disagree until he tells them what the queen had told him. They ask whether they can look for the hidden guards. Baba Fuseini impatiently says he would have finished them already if he could find them. They all agree to support Wadudu and make him King. Baba Ntanu asks if Wadudu can be killed because for a half-baked royal to be king is something he cannot comprehend. Baba Fuseini tells him that boy is being protected by Apiopiopio. He gets angry with the fact that some of them do not use their brains to think. If this boy can be killed, he would have been killed already. Let’s just be happy that Hasana will be the queen of a great kingdom some day and let go of this one to save our heads.

Epilogue:

Wadudu was made king of the Hasuni Kingdom after he married the most intelligent girl in the kingdom. He ruled Hasuni for eighty years with peace and unity as his hallmark. When he died, the name of the kingdom was changed from Hasuni to Naa Wadudu Kingdom because of the love the people had for him. His first son who was equally peaceful succeeded him. THE END.

By Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

HOME TRAVELS 1

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As I limp on one leg into the VIP bus, I bump into a colleague who was travelling to Kumasi. Though I was the last passenger, I was given the number one seat and this colleague had the number two seat. As I sat awkwardly beside him, I took my phone and began to browse. I had nothing to say to him though he was in a good mood, he also had nothing to say to me. So I pretended to sleep on the bus. When we reached Kintampo, he asked that I went with him to look for something to eat. Feeling determined that I will waste no money on food or anything on this trip, I declined although he insisted. I knew he would pay for my expenses, but I thought that will make it more awkward. He left finally. As I was about to stretch a little in the car, the mate calls:

  “Fine sister, it seems you are not going anywhere. Can you please watch this car for us? I mean look from head to toe before anyone enters.”

Seeing that I looked bewilded, he added:

  “I am asking this because there are many thieves here.”

I pull my hand bag close to me and he laughs and leaves. I tried looking the hair to toe of passengers who entered the car, but tried as I did, no words came out even if I wanted to ask them if they were passengers or not. This was because; I did not know all the passengers. The car also had two exits and so those I laid no eyes on could still enter through the front. I realized the assignment given me by my master the mate could not be carried out. So I stretched my legs and closed my eyes.

A woman who sat by me suddenly decided to let her mouth loose, telling me about her many travelling escapades and stressed her intention of getting down in Techiman to pass the night because of tiredness though she paid an Accra fare. To this I had nothing to say, I just smiled and closed my eyes.

Ten minutes later, my seat mate came with roasted goat meat and a big paper juice. What I wanted to avoid happened. I did not know what to say. I asked him why he bought me something when I specifically told him I wanted nothing. But I saw that the young man was only trying to be polite and so I needed not be hard on him. I thanked him and he told me to continue stretching my legs as he was going to sit behind me until the seat owners arrived. This I did. When we finally took off, he chewed his meat and drank his juice. Though I wanted to drink some, I decided against it because I lacked the appetite.

We were not lucky, the border was closed by the time we reached Kintampo. So we were made to wait for over two hours before it was opened. When we reached Kumasi, My colleague alighted and bid me farewell on my journey. I was a bit anxious. This was a journey I could not fail to attend. My mother who took care of me, helped me straighten up in life was getting engaged in her late thirties. I knew it meant the world to her, being married. So I just had to be there to lend my support.

So even being knocked down by a motor bike could not be an excuse to stay back. I was grateful for being alone in the bus though I hated the air-conditioned bus. The scent of the many people and the closure of all windows and doors made the air in the vehicle nauseous. Being a petit lady, I was able to curl up in the two seats and slept.

When I woke up, we were almost in Accra. Many were grumbling about the bad road, others were cursing at the government for embezzling and not taking his work seriously, others just wanted to urinate. I joined the men who wanted to urinate and entered the bush. Some looked on shocked. I looked back sympathetically saying in my head, I know we will never meet again. So I will not have my bowels burst because of you. When we reached Accra, I got down at the Ofankor Barrier and went to my mother’s house. I was warmly received but everyone realized that I was limping. They were worried because they knew I was not a good patient. I hate taking any form of medication.

I told them it was not serious, which they knew were lies because I wouldn’t be limping if that were true. I helped in packaging the snacks until the people started to arrive, I then changed my clothes but one woman who was helping us suddenly said she wanted to leave because she had no clothes to wear. I decided to give her my little sister’s clothes she brought to me since I could not wear it anyway, so she would give it back later and lend her support. The ceremony was beautiful, many people thronged to the place but many servers were found. They took the parcels and gave more than four to some individuals while others had none. One woman collected and asked for her husband and brothers’ parcels though they did not attend. I looked on not knowing what will be the right thing to say.

My mother came around fuming as to where the many parcels were that many people were complaining having nothing. Her friend just told her what was happening and I just nodded. I do not know what happened later but many people were angry and many others left. My uncles were glad to see me and I was also glad to see them. When everything ended, we were glad. It was such a beautiful ceremony. But I could not stand the pain I was feeling in my right leg. So I was molested to take some painkillers and found myself waking up in the evening. I asked for my little sister’s clothes but the woman had gone with it. Many people called her to bring it and she promised to bring it the next day.

At about 6:30 pm, the lights went off, so I had to drift back to sleep again only to wake up at 4:000am to see the lights back on. I woke up and took my bath and made some calls to get some people to come for their monies with me. We tidied up the house and I told them I had to go back to tamale before Monday because I did not ask for permission. One of my mother’s friends who lived at Kumasi asked that I go with her because she had a free ride to Kumasi. Still, the woman failed to pick her calls and will not return my sister’s clothe, so I forgot about her. At 2:30pm, we bid the household goodbye after I asked my grandmother to bless me, which she gladly did.

I was impressed our ride was filled with lecturers heading back to their campuses after some conference in Accra. I sat and immediately, I was fascinated at the faces I was seeing. Those of lecturers’ I knew who knew me not. A particular one was a loud mouthed lecturer who everyone feared, a woman who was called Dr. Azuma. She looked fabulous and not a day older than forty. I remembered her because she always made noise in the exams hall and she gave fill ins as her exams. A very dear fried offered her course so I knew her very well.

I grumbled my thoughts on her aggressive attitude and engaged in a conversation with one of the lecturers. I mentioned that they should take their time in assessing students as thoughts of students counted more than chewing and pouring. To this, the man laughed and said yes, but in some cases, chewing and pouring mattered. As we embarked on the journey, he had a call and spoke at length about some students who think lecturers do not mark their scripts.

I told him bluntly that yes, most lecturers do not mark their scripts. I told them that I knew a lecturer who gave me the same marks I had from first to last year no matter what I wrote. He and others got on the defensive but I stood my grounds and the lecturer ended up saying he would never wish for a student like me; a student who tested lecturers to see if they mark their scripts or not. To this, they all laughed.

From where I sat, I could hear Dr. Azuma’s shrilled voice telling her colleagues of an incident where a student stole her purse and she threatened talking to her gods for the culprit to die. According to her, the students were so afraid that they brought their parents to come and plead on their behalf as the students found ways of bringing back her purse. She was so amused that tertiary students could believe in such gibberish, that even I had to laugh. I reckoned this was pure psychology at play. The conversation geared towards policemen arresting vehicles and the lecturers get defensive as to how horrifying it is that people like “Lil Win”; a local comedian, are widely known when most lecturers are not known. To this many of them agreed and laughed. One lecturer mentioned that some policemen stop vehicles under false pretenses just to get some tip of some sort. So he hung a suit in his car and arranged many books at the back of his car for the policemen to know that he knows books so must not be bothered. I was amused. Lecturers who want to be known certainly must do something extraordinary. If you are an engineering lecturer who has never put together a child’s “abungele” lorry, how do you become famous?

The conversation moved on to the economy and they said that the “dumsↄ” has turned into “dumdum”. Most of them laughed when one said that the president thought he could handle this position when he had no clue as to how it could be managed. When we were close to Kumasi, someone called one of them and said that there was lights out in Kumasi. Everyone called to verified and the catch question “How is your Mahama status?” was formed. Meaning do you have light in your area or not? The lecturer who sat close to me asked what I did for a living. I told him I was a teacher and told him the number of classes I handled. He was impressed but said he would look for my question papers every term since I criticized his people so much. I laughed and got down in Kumasi to continue my journey up north.

When I got down, a long journey driver offered me a lift to the OA station for a bus to wherever. There were no buses climbing northward, so I took a taxi to the Aboabo station. It was drizzling so badly. The driver played around getting a wife out of his passenger and I laughed at his bad attempt at realizing his goal. Immediately I got down at Aboabo, a nice gentlemen held my hands and led me to the front seat of a Benz bus. I did not know what to do or say. I asked him where he thought I was going to and he said he knew I was going to Tamale and needed someone who could talk to him on the way so he would not sleep. He reckoned I was just the person. He begged that I travelled with him. Looking at the bus and the six hour drive, I thought, what could happen? And let it go.

Some girls who looked like “Kaya yei” sat on the seat behind me. There were a few women in the car and a few other men. They made so much noise I could not breathe. The driver made many calls while driving that I did not know what to tell him. On his eight call, I tried engaging in the conversation he so wanted and asked him about his experiences with policemen. He said they were as corrupt as ever, taking two cedis every time. I then asked him about the corrupt drivers and said:

“Most drivers will not do the right thing. They drink and drive, they over speed, they do wrong overtakings, they receive calls when they are driving thereby ending up in killing many people. What are the corrupt police to do?”

He immediately put away his phones and concentrated on the driving apologizing in the process. I decided to sleep because I was not in the mood to engage in needless talks. So I closed my eyes and sat there, hearing everything going on around me and seeing with my brain. The driver chewed chewing stick so noisily, he put that somewhere and took to chewing gum noisily and still I pretended to sleep. We ended up stuck at the border. For two hours our vehicle stood still. People who sold mangoes with children strapped on their backs shouted loudly for passengers to buy their mangoes. Many other hawkers were seen parading around our car shouting loudly in advertisim. The boarder was opened around 3am and we had a quiet journey until we reached Tamale, slowing down only when animals decided to organize their beauty pageant while crossing the busy road. We reached at around 6am and the driver who was glad that I had opened my eyes asked if I would be able to sleep during the day since I slept throughout the journey. I just smiled and got down, grateful to have arrived in one piece, boarded a taxi and came straight to my house.

  Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2/06/2014.

LOVE OF MY LIFE

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My father was the very best friend of the chief of our village and so wielded so much power. Our household was one of the most important in the village and many people would die to marry someone from my home. But no one wanted to marry me. They thought I was either too short or too ugly. I did everything I could to be beautiful enough to attract suitors to no avail. My only consolation was that I was good academically.

I had two sisters and three brothers. I was the fourth of six children from the same parents although my father had three wives. My first crush was a farmer; slim and tall who loved holding his gun in his left hand and his machete in his right hand while clothed in dirty long sleeved shirt and trousers. He was a very dark man, strong with a sparkly white neatly arranged set of teeth. But ours was not to be as he picked one of my elder sisters as his bride. I was devastated, I cried and feigned sickness for over three months. I did not take part in their marriage ceremony and developed an unfair hatred for my brother in law who knew nothing of my feelings for him. He always tried to be nice to me but I shunned his company. I was happy when Brother Abdulai’s mother requested he migrated with his new bride to her village to oversee her farms because she was growing old. Maybe the words “out of sight, out of mind” may have some truth to it, because with time, I found myself having no thoughts of Brother Abdulai, neither did I have that dreadful heartache whenever my sister Larki’s name was mentioned.

The chief, Sagbonwura Naa Kampaya was a very kind man. He was always nice to me. So nice that I found myself drifting to the land of daydreams whenever his thoughts crossed my mind. Once, I was walking around my father’s house in just a piece of cloth. I turned around coyly and met Naa’s intense gaze. He just looked at me and smiled and beckoned me into his arms. He embraced me and asked, why have I not seen this beautiful you? You are so pretty, so much so that I will have to marry you and treat you better than all my wives. I thought that was the most romantic scene ever and wanted that to happen in reality. But too bad, it was all in my fantasy. It was a funny feeling, because the chief was older than my father. He was about sixty five years old while I was twenty four. When I could no longer bear it, I told Naa about it but he candidly but kindly told me not to have those fantasies about him. He told me that he was so flattered but loved me too much to waste my life that way. He assured me that I would get a husband who will love me and care for me in the near future and advised that I desist from thinking of marrying someone whose life is almost over. I felt broken hearted once more but it was not as painful as the first one. The way Naa said it made me hopeful.

I know you may think I was not that old, but for a woman to be 24 years without any prospective suitor during that time in Sagbon meant the woman was too cantankerous or ugly. And I would have preferred to be the former than the latter. By the time I turned 25 years, I had completed training college with the help of a government scholarship and the encouragement of my father. My mother died when I was 15 but my father’s wives replaced her. My father had over twenty children who were either interested in farming or fishing. Only one of my elder brothers and myself were interested in education. My sisters never took any interest in education. My father encouraged me despite the fact that most men thought educating a girl was preposterous. This was because he thought I at least needed to be able to take care of myself in the future if it so happens that I end up with no husband. Not that he told me in plain words, he was talking to one of his kinsmen but my eavesdropping made my ears the sad hearer of his view.

I was posted to Nsawie Basic School for my national service. I went there expecting my fate to change where marriage was concerned. And yes, I got a fine man who said he was interested in me. I sent money home often but I still had money because I was not extravagant. This man only visited when he wanted money. Sometimes he would come there three times and then ask for money on the fourth day. I gave him everything he wanted because I knew I had nothing where beauty was concerned. He promised to marry me but that was not to be as he finally wedded a very beautiful woman from Nsawie. That day, I felt like killing myself. I was so sad that I could drink poison without a thought. Then I met a dedicated Islamic woman who exuded peace.

Mma Meimunatu was that woman whose smile could calm every storm in every life. She assured me that everything will be okay and that I will find a good Muslim who will marry and cherish me. Mma advised me to think of myself as beautiful and to have the confidence because I was beautiful. She even said that being tall is not a good feature in women and that very tall men loved very short women. I nearly believed her but for the mirror in my room that told me to look at reality.

 

My very eldest brother died when I was 27 years old, the next one died the following year and my father followed that same year. I was devastated. My eldest sister; Harina, came from her husband’s village and so did Larki. Our only brother who had married a Nigerian to the detriment of my family also came. The funeral was a sad one. No one died in Sagbon without a superstition hovering around him or her. I heard that, the spirit that made me short was killing the good men in my family. How could such an intelligent lady be that short and ugly. I also heard that, the women in the family were witches and were killing them one after the other so that we could become the men of the house. An old lady, Mma Amina, who was over hundred years old was also purported to have been killing the young ones in order to stay alive.

My sisters and I were not happy so we consulted an oracle who told us that one of our father’s brothers was killing the men who may be a hindrance in his quest to be the sole heir of our grandfather’s properties which included two compound houses and many plantations of cocoa. My only brother who migrated to Accra with his wife failed to return home after that for fear of being driven to his early grave. I transferred to Sagbon Secondary School as a Catering teacher. The grown students made fun of me with some calling me “kakapuipui” and others just making fun of me, but I endured.

One sunny day, a man who was 15 years my senior met me and proposed instantly. I did not know what to say. I had given up on marriage a long time ago. At first, I thought he was making fun of me, then I realized he was serious when he asked me to send him to my family for the marriage rites. Before I realized what was happening, I was married to this gentleman. He had a wife and four children who despised me. I stayed in their family house for three years while constructing my own and bore all the maltreatment they could mete out. Unfortunately for me, I was told that I would not be able to give birth because of my height. My husband was not disturbed, I reckoned it was because he already had children. I was very sad because I was being called all sorts of names: Childless Shorty, Ugly Doo and many others. I resolved to move into my house and my husband decided to move in with me.

But problems started as my sisters started fighting because of their children. I was not interested in their problems so called our only brother to help resolve the issue. He did not mind me and his tone gave signals of not wanting to be disturbed. I sent a delegation to his house hoping he would heed to the call of his roots, but his Nigerian wife sacked them. Those who went claimed he had been bewitched by his wife. They even brought a message from his wife that I should never send the food items I send occasionally to her house again because she believed I had evil intentions towards her husband. It dawned on me, the possibility of my brother’s Nigerian wife thinking his Ghanaian Husband’s sisters were witches.

I resolved never to bother him again and to be the man of my family. I had money and prestige, I even had a husband so my voice was heard. But there is a saying that “the cock may dance with flair in the midst of hawks but they will never see it as anything other than food” my luck changed when many men came to my house one afternoon wielding machetes and sticks. I climbed into one of my small pans and came out when all was calm to see my poor husband in his pool of blood. I came out shouting only to be caught, shaved and brought to this witch camp. My sisters looked on, shaking their heads in awe and hooting at me, I heard nothing, I only saw their faces and decided to close my ears. There was nothing to live for. My husband was dead and my sisters did not need me, they thought the worst of me. My husband was not young, he may have married me for the security of his old age, but he loved me, loved me enough to have stood up and died rather than telling the people where I was.

And so brethren, there is the story of my life. The story about my life and the love of my life.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014.

Picture by Andre Stephano.

THE COURT OF THE VILLAGE BY AMOAFOWAA SEFA CECILIA

 

Sahada breathes, blinks and thinks for a moment about the act her eyes witnessed here in Kasimui seconds ago, did she just see a child banged to the wall, beheaded and brought back to life by the man? And look, another man is cutting himself with a knife but there is no sign of a cut or blood. She must ask;

Excuse me Sir, please which festival is this?

The man looks her from head to toe and asks in his local language Kasimna if she is from these parts. She replies in the affirmative in her broken Kasimna. Then she follows the man’s eye from her chest downwards. She is wearing a sleeveless top, a chain, a push up brazier that is helping her breast stand erect, tight jeans which leaves no room for air, and a long weave on tied in a chignon to accentuate her beauty. She turns her eyes from herself to the other women and ladies around and realizes what is causing the man this horror. All the women are wearing ‘agbada’ that cover every part of the bodies except their faces and their fingers. They are also wearing headgears which hide whatever hair there are on their heads. The young girls are also dressed in like manner but some have a little bit of legs showing. She instinctively cleans her mouth with her handkerchief and her red lipstick stains the white handkerchief. Suddenly feeling like a chick in the midst of hawks as more eyes turn upon her in judgment, she manages to announce;

‘Mma Amina Muniru is my grandmother and my father is Baba Wataru, I am looking for …’

Before she could utter another word, a queer short and wrinkly looking old woman comes forward and looks her in the eyes, turns her around and exclaims;

‘Wↄi! It is really his daughter’

she goes on to wail mentioning the name of her father in every wailing sentence. Three women come forward with their cover cloths to cover what she now sees as her nakedness, but one gets to her first. The stench from the cloth and the stern looks from the men force a short apologetic smile onto her face. She regrets having forced her father to allow her make the trip alone. She is led into a huge compound of mud houses where she is given a calabash with muddy water which she declines to the horror of the elders.

She is forced to change into one of her grandmother’s clothes which smelt like the earth at its best. Mma Amina asks her what she is doing in the village. She tells her about her deal with her father to stay in the village for a year after which she will be sent abroad for further studies. She divulges this with difficulty as her grip on her mother tongue had been taken over by the English language. Mma Amina welcomes her with a number of rules after going through her luggage. The rice, oil and canned fishes are for special celebrations like Salah, her taste in clothes is a sin, because their customs do not promote women who provoke men to sin and the Quran forbids jumpy breasts in revealing clothes. She nods her head but immediately regrets, because of the shocking looks on the faces of the women gathered. One of them tells her it is gross disrespect to nod when an elder speaks to you, you must respond with words.

She mutters her sorry and immediately misses her home in Accra. She remembers her mother’s hometown in Akyem Akrokere. Although the telecommunications network there is poor, there is freedom of speech and expression, there is freedom in choosing clothes to wear, there is freedom in almost everything. The only problem there is that many of the villagers loved to gossip and never ceased to tell people to their faces that they are children of white people because they speak adulterated Akan and act like westerners. Never had Sahada thought anyone could live this antiquated life in these modern times. She wonders how she is going to be able to live here for a whole year. She is brought out of her day nightmare with a question as to whether she will go with them to the festival grounds or rest in the room. She chooses the former when she remembers the beheading and resuscitation of the little boy and the many scary wonders. Hey meat, better to be among the cats than be in hiding she whispers to herself.

During the merry making, she is able to pick up a bit of information about the “challenge me festival” which happens to be a festival where the best spiritualists and the best herbalists are crowned with respect. Those who lost their hands and part of their bodies when they tried to exhibit their prowess are still being tended to by the powerful ones. Those who died in the challenge are given a not so good burial. The reality that there is no electricity in this village hit her like a punch from a demon. She shrivels with fear anytime she hears a sound from any the trees or the bushes that sit around them like gigantic lions who are guarding edible animals, there is always the possibility of the guards turning into the danger.

Sahada lies on the mat in between two young women who may be her age mates but look older. She finds it difficult to breathe as the stench from their armpits hold hands with the hot air in the room and together fight her nose, tears well up in her eyes as she thinks of her empty air conditioned room and very soft bed in Accra. Everything is going against her, the mosquitoes, the sounds of the night, the rats that sniff them for God knows what etc.

Just when sleep is most sweet, Sahada hears her name being called, she gets up to realize the other girls are holding buckets; obviously ready to go to the stream to fetch water. She has never carried a bucket of water before, not even in her mother’s hometown. She is handed a bucket, without being told, she follows them like an obedient dog, saying nothing throughout the long walk. Immediately the bucket of water touches her head pad, she feels a sharp pain in her neck and down goes the bucket and its content. They fetch another and place it on her head, mid-way to the house, she trips and falls and the water and dirty metal bucket roll down into the bush.

She goes for her bucket but refuses to get back to the stream alone to fetch another bucket, knowing she cannot even carry the bucket by herself. When they get home, one of her aunts upon hearing the stream drama yells out:

‘Wataru really has given that Christian wife of his the chance to spoil his children, just look at a grown woman not being able to carry a bucket of water? Who do you suppose must fetch water for you to bath?’

This reprimand brings tears to her eyes and her mood falls to 100% sadness. She knows now; she hates her father’s village, she hates their house, their rooms, even most of the people in the village. As the day passes, she withdraws into herself. She is tired of the food, which is always tuo zaafi in the evening and Hausa porridge in the morning. She has no friend; she hates the very scorch weather, the muddy drinking water, and hard work on the farms. Each day she counts the days left for her to go to Accra in preparation for her studies abroad. She is now eighteen years and she is living like a very primitive old woman, thanks to her father. She now realizes why her mother was not in support when her father suggested this. Her curiosity has made her bite more than she can chew, now her mouth hurts.

The lack of technology she reckons is not without advantages. The people meet in the evenings according to their gender to tell stories, sing and dance together. The trees have become her very tight companions on days without farm activities. She decides to refrain from engaging in any conversations with anyone unless she needs to. This resolution materialized when she was made to understand that females can never express themselves when males are talking, even if those males happen to be young boys.

There is one thing Sahada tries so much to understand with no success, the fact that old men get to choose the beautiful young girls whose parents force them to agree to their proposals. They are in the worst case scenario. Throughout her stay in this village, she had known everyone in the house, or so she thought, until a girl named Rahamatu is forced out flanked by three watch women after a night of heavy preparations of food and drinks (pito). It is obvious that the women fear the weeping girl would run away. Sahada is told Rahamatu’s groom happens to be a sixty seven year old man with three wives who promised the head of their family a vast piece of land and some cattle if he gave the hand of Rahamatu to him in marriage. The family head, Alhaji Mutala Wataru agreed with a speed of lightening. And so Rahamatu who defied him by running to her mother’s village in Piisim was brought back and locked in a separate room for months until her marriage party today. Sahada puts herself into the shoes of Rahamatu and weeps with her. Almost all the women in the house shouts on both of them, saying Rahamatu is being melodramatic and pretentious when she should be celebrating for haven found herself a rich man. They shouted on Sahada to mind her own business and advised that she prays for a man as wealthy as Alhaji Tanko. Sahada forbids it in her head and enters the room she shares with the women with the excuse that she is nursing a headache. She thinks about this throughout the evening and can make no excuses for the elders, for what she sees as grave greed.

She finds friendship with a high school dropout Zuma who claimed bad spirits ended his education. According to him, one of his father’s sisters charmed his brain and made him daft. Sahada tries to understand the possibility of that happening but she gives up, knowing that Kasimui is not a place to try understanding anything.

Sahada sits under one of the trees writing poetry when she sees a child playing football. This child suddenly jumps, holds his leg and falls. She gets up and goes to see what the problem is and sees an animal that looks like a rat run into the bush, obviously after biting him. She calls out for help, within minutes almost all the people in the village surround the boy. The first man who touches him shouts that the boy is dead. They ask Sahada what happened to him and she narrates what she saw. The boy’s father and mother wail openly. Everyone sympathizes with them but the man refuses to be consoled because as it turns out, the boy was his only male child. He calls for the head spiritualist in the village, whose service is expensive, to come and tell him what exactly happened to his boy. Baba Munkaila, Sahada deduces from the conversation circulating around is a very sad man. Almost all his male children die before the age of two. The only one that has survived until now happens to be Abu, the one who just passed on. He is known as one who never shows his emotions but can be very persistent.

Baba Bubububu; the fearful spiritualist, upon jumping around, shouting in undecipherable words says Munkaila’s eldest wife happens to be the witch who turned into that animal that bit Abu. The woman who was standing there crying her eyes out suddenly develops two other heads and horns and lion like canines in the eyes of all the people gathered, Sahada reckons. Every eye feasts on her with disdain. The mother of Abu; Asana throws herself at Mma Feruza and asks her to kill her too. Munkaila stands mouth agape not knowing what to say and the men around holds Mma feruza, ties her like a bunch of firewood, carries her and follows Baba Bubububu.

Baba Bubububu said no one is to shift the corpse until he talks to Mma Feruza’s witch queen. So they cover Abu and leave the scene, Sahada’s legs refuse to carry her from the supposed corpse of the boy. She goes closer after sometime and thinks she saw the boy move. She remembers her father saying palm oil, and some leaves he showed her, mixed together brings out poison from people. She runs to the house and gets the palm oil potion ready. She pours it into the mouth of Abu and holds his nose together with his lips in hopes her eyes did not deceive her. After what seems like years in four minutes, the boy wakes and vomits some greenish slimy substance, then sits up asking for his father. Sahada realizes the boy is so weak so sends him to her house. After a while, it dawns on her that Mma Feruza may be suffering on account of Abu’s perceived demise.

She gives the boy some food and drags him to Baba Bubububu’s shrine. Sahada carries Abu on her back because he is still weak. What greets Sahada’s mind sends her sprouting onto the ground with Abu. Mma Feruza has been tied to a pole, obviously beaten to a pulp and looks like she is panting for breathe. Sahada screams that the child is alive; everybody turns to look at the boy who runs towards Mma Feruza. The boy cries out loud for them to free Mma Feruza. Baba Bubububu looks on obviously looking caught but recovers enough to say his intensified whippings forced the woman to wake the dead boy. Sahada shouts that the boy had only collapsed because of the poison and narrated what she did to revive him. But Baba Bubububu shuts her up with the a loud shrilled voice. He goes on to say Sahada has committed a taboo and so needs to be his wife so as to be able to pacify the gods for her disrespect.

Sahada takes to her heels straight into her house. She picks the electrifier her mother gave her and electrocutes anyone who comes close to her. With that, she runs into the bush never stopping until she meets a portable road. She kneels by the roadside but cars will not stop to help her.  She collapses by the side of the road.

Sahada wakes up receiving greetings from a white ceiling. For a moment, she cries thinking she is still in her dream. But in the end, she is tapped and asked if she is alright. She responds in the affirmative and asks how she came to be here. A woman tells her, she saw her by the roadside almost lifeless, so she brought her here. She asks if there is a way to contact her family. Sahada gives her her mother’s mobile phone number.

Mrs. Wataru couldn’t believe her eyes and her ears. She scolded her husband for allowing their daughter to go through such an ordeal. Mr. Wataru apologises saying he merely wanted her to get the feel of the village life so she will know about her root. They thank the woman who introduces herself as Abigail Tetteh, and thanks her. They take their daughter home. When they reach home, they are greeted by no other than Alhassan their security man who informs them that Mma Amina and two elders are waiting for them in the hall. Mrs. Wataru sends her daughter through the back door to her room. Asked about their mission to the house, they narrate that Baba Bubububu says if Sahada does not come to the village to be his wife, all the family members will die. She stresses that all other options has been rejected by the chief priest.

Mr. Wataru asks them to look for his daughter for him as he has no intention of believing in a spiritualist who does not know his left from right. He asks his mother and the elders to get back to the village and look for his daughter before he ascends on them with policemen. The three people leave for the village.

Three months later, Mr. Wataru sends his daughter abroad for further studies and travels to the village to see his folks. He tells them that he needs to take his daughter back to Accra with him so they must produce the girl no matter what. The elders lead him with attired policemen to the shrine of Baba Bubububu who, upon interrogation of his household, took to his heel immediately he was told Mr. Wataru had come to the village. He assembles his elders and tells them to try as much as possible to think carefully about certain things before taking action or consulting the said oracles. He tells them it is time to revise some of their beliefs as some are too antiquated for modern usage. She asks after Mma Feruza and is told she passed away after that ordeal. She stresses that traditions and beliefs that take innocent lives must never be encouraged and leaves the Kasimui village swearing in his head never to allow any of his children step foot in that village again.

He says in his head that it is better to keep them in limbo than to make the whereabouts of his daughter known, because that will rekindle their superstition and ruin the life of his innocent child.

THE END.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Agbada: An African cloth sewn and worn to cover every part of the body.

Wↄi: A local exclamation of amazement or shock.

Pito: A local drink made of millet in the Northern part of Ghana.

DECISION OF THE HEART

 

Back in august 2015, on a very sunny Sunday stood a family that is reuniting after four years of separation. The Apau family was a happy family. The love the mother and father exhibited was inculcated into their only seed, Angel. Her intelligence had earned her a place in the University of Ghana, Legon and her forceful parents and helpful aunt had made it possible for her to attend her dream school. The loving parents travelled from their village to accompany her to campus for the first time and they could not hide their happiness upon seeing her.

“You have grown into a very beautiful young lady Angel, my daughter. Just four years in the city here has changed you completely. I pray you’ll continue to be respectful to your aunt so you can be able to complete your ‘unibokity’ in the city. Men are to be feared, you know I am one of them so if I tell you to fear my gender you must pay heed. I am not saying you should not date, all I am saying is that make sure you are sure before getting into anything.”

Ei Daddy, it is not ‘unibokity’ it is university. Angel said.

Hmm, you know some of us were not lucky as you people are today. The farthest we could go was form four.

Say that again. Mrs. Apau lamented.

Ok daddy, I’ve heard all that you’ve said and I will do my possible best to abstain from all the bad things and be respectful.

Mr. and Mrs. Apau then bid their daughter goodbye at the lorry station as the vehicle zoomed past them. In the same university was a handsome fair coloured boy called Henry. His mother was a Ghanaian from Obomeng Kwahu and his father was an Englishman. He was handsome, gentle, god-fearing and kind, because of this, almost all the girls on campus were dying for him.

The first time he saw Angel, his heart skipped a beat but he decided to study her for some time. A month and two days later, he was going to the Balm library and bumped into her.

   Oops, sorry gentleman I…

Don’t you worry, it was my fault Henry muted,

I wasn’t looking straight, I am sorry.

They got a little carried away until Henry broke the silence

Please, may I know your name miss?

My name is Angel. Angel managed to say in her breathlessness.

There is no doubt about it, you look just like an angel,

He said with perspiration.

I am Henry Richards, A medical student and you? I am also in the communication department.

 They became friends and soon became lovers.

The love between them was so strong that they got to know each other’s family. Angel’s aunt was pleased but not convinced after meeting him but soon got to know him and liked him as a true gentleman and Henry’s parents were enthused to meet Angel. They were marveled by her beauty, politeness and respectfulness not to talk about her pure African complexion, very dark and beautiful.

They advised both of them and went overseas where they lived as they only came to visit their son. A year and a half later, Henry completed his university education and had to leave for Britain for his masters. On that faithful day, both Angel and Henry were sad to be separated from each other, they cried and ended up sleeping together. A terrible thought escaped Henry’s mind when he was on board the plane, what if Angel gets pregnant? He was annoyed with himself for letting himself get carried away after waiting for so long. He shrugged at the thought after remembering the promise they made to each other. He knew that he had her cell phone number and could get in touch with her any time.

Six months after Henry’s departure, Angel felt lonely as she had no friend apart from Henry. Though he usually called, she lived and suffered a terrible loneliness that threw her off her guard. A very persistent man named Sly never ceased giving her presents and she encouraged it. Before she realized what was happening, she was in a relationship with him. She started ignoring Henry’s calls because Sly pampered her in every way. Sly bought a new cell phone for her and she did not bother to inform henry about it. She also chose not to reply Henry’s letters. This worried him very much that he rung his dearest friend who was in Kumasi to check on her to see if she was alright. Lo and behold, when he arrived in Accra, he got to know the whole truth. He personally advised her and she accepted. So Mark left leaving contacts to watch over her but they also confirmed within a number of days that she was still doing what she was before.

Mark had no choice but to inform his friend about the worrisome news but he also regretted because his father phoned him later and told him that Henry had been in coma ever since. Eight days after getting well, he attempted suicide. But for the intervention of his father’s housemaid, he would have joined his ancestors. All advice fell on deaf ears so his father suggested that he flew down to witness things for himself. Three days later, he landed in Ghana and without resting, conducted a long search but couldn’t find her. Her aunt complained bitterly about her attitude since Henry travelled much to the detriment of Henry. He waited at her aunt’s and almost dozed off.

At about 1:00 am, a flashy VMW came to drop her and he came back from his reverie. He quickly got up and met her at the main gate. Immediately Angel saw him, she feigned headache for though he had become a little lean, he looked gorgeous in his parker and t-shirt. She told Henry that she needed some sleep but Henry insisted on talking to her so much so that she had no choice but to oblige. Henry took her to his apartment. On the way, he said nothing but could feel the tension between them. On arrival, he brought the discussion.

So do I sense the danger of us separating?

What makes you think that? I know it is because of what your friend told you. Angel said.

Are you saying that all that Mark told me were false? Henry asked.

Tell me Angel and I will believe you because of the love we share. He spoke with such emotions that all her defenses got broken. She was short of words.

I am not saying they are not true but bu… you.. see

Angel, what do I see? I see that I left the shores of Ghana with each of us promising ourselves to be faithful but not long after, you go around flirting with God knows who.

The anger and hurt with which he spoke scared Angel.

“Ok, I will tell you everything”

She was almost on the verge of tears.

When you left, I felt so lonely that I needed a companion, you know, someone to care for me. You also knew very well that my aunt couldn’t provide me with everything I needed. Angel said, not even convinced of the impact of the words she has uttered.

Angel, are you saying that you didn’t receive all the monies I sent? What are you saying? Even if it wasn’t enough, you could have told me other than living this promiscuous life. You know my parents are well off.  You could have asked me even if I was broke, I could have found a part time job to make up for whatever you needed. You know I will do anything, just anything to see you happy. Is it because of the love I shower on you that you treat me this way? What did I do wrong? Where did I go wrong?

Angel begun shedding tears and apologizing, it broke Henry’s heart to see her cry that his comfort ended them in the arms of lovemaking. She woke to find Henry looking at her, she told him that she loved him and that she was ashamed of herself and promised never to do such a thing again. Henry was convinced when the words were spoken for she felt her remorse. He got engaged to her and this time went as far as going with her to the village to meet her real parents. On arrival, he went back to Britain and found himself a part time job swearing to himself to make her happy as she didn’t want her to ask for anything from her parents.

He showered gifts upon gifts on her and made sure she lacked nothing. Unknowingly to Angel, Sly was an armed robber, he went on one of his operations and got killed in the process. This news hid Angel like a blow because she was secretly seeing him. She vowed to be faithful to Henry; after all, he was her true love. This promise became history as Angel met Max who claimed to be a lecturer in at the Central University. Her aunt talked to her but she wouldn’t listen. This time, she received Henry’s calls and replied his letters as though everything was alright. Six months later, when Henry’s mother came to visit, she heard all the bad things about Angel and being a good mother sensed danger because of the deadly diseases in modern times. She decided to inform his son but remembered what happened the last time Mark delivered one such message. She called Angel and advised her like the daughter she never had.

Even though she thanked her like a good girl, she continued her bad ways. Mrs. Richard had no option but to tell her son because she was all she had and did not want him to end up with a harlot. What even scared her was the rumour circulating that Angel had HIV/AIDS. Henry cried and thought about Angel and couldn’t accept the mere thought of living without her. This time, he couldn’t think of murdering himself because of the many guards his dad hired to keep watch over him. He became so lean, he was fortunate that he had completed his masters before receiving this deadly news. He reluctantly stopped calling her and tried his best not to have anything to do with her again and this nearly cost him his life, for Angel was his first love.

He thought of how a girl who didn’t appreciate her one bit could make her suffer when many girls adored him when some girls would die to have him to themselves. He contemplated on the issue but had no answer. Meanwhile, Max was all over Angel everywhere they went, not knowing that he was a killer for a very powerful herbalist, he was a real murderer.  He pretended he loved Angel and spent so much on her. Thoughts of Henry erased completely from her mind. One day, he asked Angel to accompany him to a place he termed a surprise for her. When they arrived at their so called destination, he took her out of the car blindfolded. He took her to the herbalist. Immediately they reached the room, he removed the blindfold. There was the herbalist in his full scary regalia, face half painted and eyes wide opened with mouth twitched in satisfaction upon seeing a new person who would increase his potency. When she saw the predicament she was in, she made an attempt to scream but her mouth was sealed with dirty rags, the boys there gang raped her until she became unconscious. They then left her to regain her consciousness.

When she did, she was taken to a room and maltreated for a whole month without proper food. She was always tied together with the other victims and beaten when she refused to eat foods that were always drugged. Their thirst was never quenched they were only entitled to a full glass of water every day. Blood was drawn from her veins any time there was need for human blood. They had to attend nature’s call on themselves until the human cleaner, who was wicked than any of the people there, came to wipe them clean with a metal like sponge. One day, Max entered her room and asked her to say her last prayers. She couldn’t help shedding tears, this time, real tears of shame, pain and sorrow. She cried and asked why he was doing that. She asked him what terrible thing she did to merit the treatment being meted out to her. She was a total mess. Max decided to choose some other person to the slaughter house and left her with her tears.

After two weeks of aunt Ama’s search for Angel without success, she became very worried because though she had become more of a harlot recently, she always called and said where she was and whether or not she would be coming. Aunt Ama’s strange feelings forced her to report to the police and the media with promises of a huge ransom for those who came with any lead as to where she could be. Both electronic and print media advertised to plead with anyone who had information to report for a handsome reward. Her aunt in her desperation called to inform Henry who was reluctant to come down. But his father convinced him to help the poor woman look for her missing niece.

To him, her aunt was so good and honest to Mr. Richards that he used all his tactics to convince his son to help her in the search of her niece. Henry did as he was told and brought along his friend Mark who had become a very good detective. He investigated the background of Max on campus, with persuasion and the help of brown paper (bribe) he found all there was to know about him. Even the so called hard core criminals feared Max. Meanwhile, Angel was about to be killed when a storm broke and destroyed part of the building so they left her and went to see to the repairs of the building. They had by then beaten her to an extend that she had a bruised face and was almost paralyzed. She then thought of her dear Henry who could not hurt a fly, she thought of how she loved him, how funny he was, how caring he was. She bit into her lower lips, sobbed and prayed that God forgives her her sins. She always prayed for protection for Henry.

Oh! How she wished she could turn the hands of time, she would have remained faithful and loyal to Henry alone no matter what anybody had to offer, but that was too late. How could she allow herself to be lured into this mess? Immediately Henry and Mark got to know of the suspected place Angel was rumoured to be, they went there with armed policemen. Luckily, Mark had a microscope that allowed him to see through every building. He saw about four people who were tied with rope but couldn’t tell if Angel was part or not. The policemen surrounded the house and some went into the house but it wasn’t that easy because the security of the herbalist was very tight. In their struggle to rescue those who were at the verge of death, six policemen died and thirty three of security men of the herbalist’s died. At last, the police were able to arrest the accomplices of the herbalist but the herbalist himself vanished. Max was killed in the struggle. When the four people were untied, Henry and Mark couldn’t tell which one was Angel and almost gave up hope of finding her among them until Angel begun to cry. Henry couldn’t believe his eyes, he thought it was some cripple before him, but for her neatly arranged teeth, he wouldn’t have recognized her. Henry screamed and passed out. Henry together with the four others was sent to the hospital.

When Henry recovered, he saw to it that Angel was alright but spoke to her casually without eye contact. He encouraged no conversation between them. Any time Angel saw Henry, she tried to beg for forgiveness but he just lifts his hands for silence. When she was in her convalescence stage, he left for Britain without informing her.

When she heard of his departure, she almost fainted but knew that she was responsible for her own loss. She cursed the day she met Max, now deceased and prayed again and again that God forgives her. After her ordeal, Angel became a born again Christian and was very active with her church activities. She also took her education seriously.

Two years later, she became a presenter at one of the famous radio stations in Ghana without a boyfriend. She confessed that she was afraid of men when she was interviewed by a colleague. She said she trusted only one man, that man too might be married with kids. She told her colleague that, he was such an angel but she carelessly threw him away so she will live with the consequences.

There was a secret her aunt had not revealed to her yet because she was asked not to. One fine Saturday, Angel rung her parents Mr. and Mrs. Apau and asked them to spend some time with her because she was on casual leave. When they came, they tried to talk her into marriage as she was twenty eight years of age and their only daughter, but she discouraged that conversation.  It was during one of such misunderstandings that they heard a knock on the door and in came aunt Ama, Mr. and Mrs. Richards and the one person that she had really ever loved; Henry. She immediately shouted his name as tears welled up in her eyes. She went on her knees and begged him for forgiveness amidst tears.

Henry immediately took her into his arms and assured her that all was well. Her parents stood amazed at the sight of this wonderful dream and wished it wouldn’t vanish into thin air. They were brought to life when Angel broke the silence,

Ei auntie Ama, it seems you knew all this and kept it to yourself.

Aunt Ama chuckled and told her how she was asked to monitor her every move to see if she was a completely changed person. She also told her about how sometimes Henry comes down and follows her to church without her knowledge. Henry’s mother declared how shocked she was to see the one time gold digger change into such a born again Christian. Mr. Apau asked Henry if he still loved Angel after all the he had to go through because of her. He replied:

“It was the decision of the heart, I mean, my heart and that of Angel to love each other and there was nothing that neither we nor anyone could do about it. Isn’t it Angel?”

All the people in the hall except Angel chorused

“Exactly” and Angel cried hot tears. Two weeks later, an engagement took place followed by a grand wedding. During their honeymoon in New York, Angel asked her husband a favour to allow her to come back to Ghana to fulfill a promise before heading back to settle in their marital home in Britain.

Her permission was granted and she summoned all the University of Ghana students for an important lecture. She lectured them to stay faithful and loyal to their partners and never give in to those who entice them with gifts, and used her own experience as an example and added that she did not know what would happen to anyone who followed in her footsteps. She stressed on the fact that that herbalist is nowhere to be found no matter how much they search for him. Meaning any one could fall victim any time. She also made sure that the lecture was broadcasted on all the television stations in the country. After the lecture, she was sure that her message would get to all the youth of Ghana.

After the lectures, Henry hugged her as she said thanks through her happy tears of gratefulness once more to her generous and caring husband. The reply was sealed with a kiss.

AMOAFOWAA SEFA CECILIA © 2014.

AN EXCERPT FROM ONE OF MY YET TO BE PUBLISHED NOVELS “CRUISING THROUGH THE GATES OF HELL”

As young as I was, I knew everything would change when we reached Accra. I knew not what to expect when the vehicle was speeding through the muddy road from the village called Israel, where I stayed for some months with my mother and the man I knew then as my father. So I stayed quiet throughout the journey to Accra. Even my ‘father’s’ mother was alarmed. She repeatedly asked me why I was quiet, with no words to express how I felt, I kept quiet. She bought some roasted yams and gave me some. I was very thankful, for I was very hungry; I ate as hurriedly as a child of five could. Then we reached Accra, Lapaz to be precise.

Everything seemed new to me. The structure of the house was not the same as our family house in Obo Kwahu where I had spent most of my life with my maternal grandmother. (In Obo, our house was built with blocks. It was a nice self contained house with pink tiles in the living room.) . Neither was it like the one in Israel, which was built of mud. This house was built with wood; it had a very spacious compound and a very tall block fenced wall with two big trees situated in the middle of the compound. I looked around and saw a small wooden structure situated near the fenced wall that was opposite the two wooden buildings, then looked right to see another small wooden structure, for that, I immediately knew it was a bathroom because someone was coming out of it with an empty bucket and had only a piece of cloth tied around her chest down. Suddenly, I missed my maternal grandmother and my mother and ‘father’. Without having to rest, my grandmother who asked me to call her Nana introduced me to the people we met at home. They were about seven. One was ‘turning fufu’ while a fat tall man who had only four teeth was pounding it. There were about three people eating and one lady seeing to the soup and stews. The one who had just finished bathing stopped in front of me and observed me keenly. I later learnt that Nana was a chop bar operator. Then I was asked to pound some palm nuts which I did obediently.  After that, I was given some ‘banku’ to eat. I ate hungrily. Before long, I felt like easing myself. But I was so shy to ask where the latrine was. I felt that easing one’s self was a sin and it was also shameful to tell people whom you barely knew that you felt like doing it. So I kept quiet and was bidden to wash the dishes. The plates were many and they kept bringing more. Before I knew what was happening I had defecated on myself.

I never liked Nana much, but my fear and dislike for her increased that very day. She gave me the beatings of my life. Amidst shouts that I was too old to be doing that and asking me repeatedly if I didn’t see the small wooden structure close to the wall just opposite the rooms. After I had calmed a bit, I was given water and soap and was asked to take a bath and wash my clothes. Most of the people assembled pitied me. For aside the fact that I was merely five, I looked younger than my age. I actually am naturally skinny and of average height so I guess I was a sympathetic sight. I did as I was told amidst tears and wishing to go back to the village or to my maternal grandmother. After I had washed down and washed my clothes, I went back to finish washing the dishes. After the food got finished and the customers were gone, which seemed like a long time, I was shown to a room, since there was no mat for me, Nana gave me some big rubber to lay on the bare floor and sleep. Later, she brought me some cover cloth which I was very thankful for because it was very cold and I could feel the cold from the rubber I was lying on which was plastered on the bare cemented floor. I was thankful that at least I had a place to hide my shameful face and also, I had a bit of time of undisturbed peace throughout the night.

As I lay there, I saw through the dark Nana going to sleep on the bed. After some time, I saw a tall and healthy man going to lie by her side. I kept quiet and wished that I was not noticed. I prayed silently for I was taught to be very prayerful as that could save me when I’m going through hard times. The night seemed short, for just when sleep was most sweet, I heard my name being shouted together with ‘lazy girl’ as its qualifier. Before I could open my eyes, water was being poured on me. I got up as quickly as I could for it was cold. I didn’t know the time but I saw that it was still dark. I was told I had to follow some neighbours to fetch water as water was scarce in the area. I was given a small bucket and I followed the grownups to fetch water for the house. The place was a bit far, and there was a standing pipe where people cued for the water. I realized later that I was to fetch water not only for the house, but for the chop bar too.

When it was about 9am, when I felt like my legs would break, I was called to brush my teeth and take my bath. After that I was called by Nana to meet her husband who they all called ‘Oluu’; short form of old man. He was handsome and seemed strict to me. But when he took my hands, I felt he was friendly and that I liked him better than Nana. Then Nana asked me to go and continue fetching water until the barrel was full, then I could come for my food. But Oluu confirmed my thought that he was friendly and good by asking Nana to give me some food first. I ate and after resting for sometime continued with fetching the water. By now, I was very used to the continuous growth of the population in the house. I knew that Nana had two sons staying with her and some close relatives of hers, a man and some women. That was a Saturday.

On Sunday, I didn’t go to church because I had no presentable clothes, as Nana called it, to wear. But I thought otherwise, for I had some clothes which my maternal grandmother bought, and they were beautiful. I fetched water for the house. Some using some to bath while others used some to wash their clothes, it was obviously not enough as the bucket I was using was small, so some of the grownups who couldn’t wait joined me to fetch the water. The chop bar was to operate in the afternoon since it was a Sunday. Although I was sad that I couldn’t go to church, I was relieved that after all, I had time alone to stay at home after the barrel becomes full without anyone shouting at me or threatening to beat me. But I was wrong, apparently, church closed before I could fill the barrel to the brim.

Then I heard:

          “Hey Tawia! Why haven’t you finished filling the barrel?

Were you crawling or what?

 Lazy girl!

 I’ll not tolerate that timid character you inherited from your mother.

Stupid girl!”

 I was made to do more chores after finishing with filling the barrel. I then learnt that I was all alone in my own world.

On Monday, it was worse, Oluu was not there to feel my hunger so I was told to finish filling the barrel and come for food. But as I fetched the water, it was being used, so I never got anywhere. I actually felt that I had been sold to work. And so I worked tirelessly and cried when I could because that was my only consolation. I had no friend, I knew no one and I was consistently insulted and told I was ugly. I was beaten when I did what I’d not been told, or when I was seen to be doing things in a very slow manner.

With time, I became used to seeing children going to school while I worked. I got a friend whom I was told was my cousin, my ‘father’s’ half brother’s daughter. Her name was Eno. Her father was abroad and they lived close to where I used to fetch the water. She fed me every morning so the weak feeling of hunger every morning vanished from my life. I cared less whether I’ll fetch water all day or not. I looked skinnier by the day, and my clothes kept tearing apart. With time, I had no panties to wear. I was now six years old. Oluu had mercy on me and volunteered to teach me at home, he was a teacher. I was very thankful for this because I liked schooling very much. I grew fond of him and was thankful anytime he called me to come to the room for the classes. This was because all the house chores seized for me.

Eno started giving me money because their school was changed for them. So I used some to buy food and saved some. One day, on my way from an errand, I heard a commotion and so I run quickly to see what was happening. Lo and behold, the polythene containing my clothes was outside and Nana was holding a cane. She seeing me and aiming at me was spontaneous. Before I could ascertain what was happening, most of the inhabitants of the house started calling me a thief. Nobody asked me to explain, so I received the canes with aches within my heart and body. By now, I was still not used to the spanking. My body was always full of sores for my skin is naturally very soft. Oluu was not there so when he came, my charge was put before him. He called me:

“Tawia, kneel down.” Oluu said, and I obeyed.

“Tell me why you stole your grandmother’s money. Tell me everything.

I did not steal any money Oluu. Eno gave it to me. She gives me money to buy food most mornings and so I saved some” I said timidly

“She is lying. I saw ten cedis in her bag. Where in God’s name will she get such an amount of money from? This girl is really poisonous. Look at her ugly face, ‘osasaafo, ose nie ose’ ”

Nana said. But Oluu did not mind her and sent for Eno.

Nana as usual was shouting on top of her voice insisting that I was lying. Eno also confirmed that it was true. Nana, accused Eno of being a bad girl by siding with me. She also threatened to tell her mother, which she did. So Eno’s help ceased too. I felt lonelier than before.

Sleeping with Nana also became a bit horrible for me.  I was accused of being a witch just because I yawned loudly one night. Nana in the morning called for all who could come to watch me and told all assembled of how she supposedly caught me red handed trying to fly to my witch camp. According to her, I was calling her name since she was my target for the night but God, opened her ears and she heard it and caught me red handed. All efforts made by Oluu to say that I was merely yawning fell on deaf ears. People hooted and cursed at me as few watched sympathetically whiles Nana continuously slapped me with her hands. When Oluu couldn’t help it any longer;

“Leave the poor girl alone. You’ll kill her. What is this attitude for?”

Then he tore me from her grip but Nana had not finished with me and added Oluu.

“Eh, so Tawia, you have ended up bewitching my husband as well, haven’t you? And you foolish man, you don’t know when you’re spoiling a witch.”

 Oluu on his part did not know how to bandy words with Nana, so he kept quiet and sent me to the room and asked me to calm down, which I gradually did.

On one occasion, I heard Oluu trying to advise Nana to feed me properly as I looked horrible by the day, but Nana only got offended and insulted him very well. Then Oluu insisted that I be allowed to go to church. So he took me to church every Sunday. With time, all the Sunday school teachers became my friends. They continually commended Nana, who was a women’s fellowship leader for having an intelligent girl like me for a grandchild. I took church activities very seriously; sometimes my Sunday school teachers would come and ask for permission for me to join in activities like bible quizzes, singing and drama, which Nana reluctantly permitted. I grew prayerful by the day, hoping that my situation would change in the near future. With time, people asked me to pray for them for one sickness or another and they confessed afterwards that they were healed. Nana became very alarmed with this and forbade me from praying for anyone or to ever participate in any church activity. Oluu tried to change her mind but she was adamant. She gave some more excuses as to why I could not attend church even on Sundays which included; I had no decent clothes to go to church with, thereby embarrassing her with my appearance and there’s nobody at home who will prepare the things for the chop bar. In the end, I stopped attending church once again. But I continued to pray though I had but only a New Testament bible. With time, the chop bar business collapsed.

I was very grateful to the lord because the “too much fetching of water” stopped. So for some time, although I did all the chores in the house, sweeping, fetching water, cleaning, doing the dishes, and running errands for the house, I had some time to rest.

Nana got ashamed one day when I took off my clothes to bath and a church friend of hers saw my one and only panty. It was torn in front and looked very faint due to too much washing. I heard the woman commenting on it and asking Nana to take very good care of me as I looked like an uncared for child. After the woman left, I received another bout of lashes for disgracing her. But the next day, she came home with a panty seller when she went to collect money from her debtors. She asked the woman to give me two of the panties on credit as those owing her refused to pay her that day. This panty seller came there week after week but Nana will run to the room and tell us to tell her that she is not in. one day we all heard the bell of the panty seller, Nana hurriedly ran to the room and warned us to tell her she wasn’t around;

“Children, where is your grandmother? The panty seller asked.

She is gone to the market” I said

“She’s gone to meet someone” Isaac; the son of Nana’s friend said

“No she’s gone to fetch water” I said

“No, she’s going to buy me some food” Isaac said.

 In the end, the panty seller deduced that Nana was in the room and told her that:

“You can keep the money you cunning old woman.

 I know what you do to those who owe you.

I know of course that you’re in that room.

It is money but it is not that much.

So you can keep it.

 Only God will judge you.”

  I felt very bad. For I knew what Nana made me do was a sin against God. But I dared not utter a word. She never came to the house again.

 

Meanwhile, Nana had a new business. Buying and selling fresh fish. She brought one of her grandsons to stay with us, his name was Yaw. I was thankful for the company but soon, I saw that he could do anything he wanted without any reproach. And I was always responsible for all his misdeeds. I remember having to receive one of those beatings because he decided to play with a knife and got wounded. Nana blamed me for it and I never understood why, knowing that Yaw was stronger and older than I was and if I happened to get on his nerves, he could beat me to a pulp.

There was not much to do but I couldn’t go to our neighbour’s house to watch television. I tried that on two occasions and got seriously thrashed. So I kept to my part of the house without venturing out unless I was sent. Yaw on his part tried everything in his power sometimes to frame me up, so Nana could beat me and he succeeded mostly.

The fresh fish business also collapsed and Nana resorted to making Yaw and I sell ‘krobonko’. This is a green fruit, longer and bigger than a cucumber with sharp lines around it. This fruit is of no use to many. When it dries, people use it as a sponge. In its raw state, some use it in place of garden eggs. Nana will sack me to sell the rest even if it is dark before coming home when I happen to come home with some of the ‘krobonko’. But Yaw could sell one and go to the park to play football, then spend the money and come home to tell Nana that the money got lost and people did not buy it. She’ll simply say that Yaw was a bad boy and ask him to go and eat. With time, people started buying my ‘krobonko’ for sympathy. They wondered why I hawked even in the evenings when most children were sleeping. But I usually said nothing, fearing that Nana had spies around who could report to her and put me into trouble.

Then one day, my maternal grandmother, whom I called Nana Adwoa came to Accra to visit me. She wept when she saw me. But I pretended as though I did not recognize her, partly because I felt she was part of my woes. Had she not connived with my parents to sell me to Nana? Then I heard her quarreling with Nana. I was sent on an errand immediately. When I came back, she was gone. That day, sleep eluded me, I cried silently in my sleep and before I knew what was happening, I had urinated on myself. My cloth was used to tie my head and children in other houses were called to hoot at me. I felt very embarrassed but I knew I was wrong to do that so I cried quietly and washed my clothes and cover cloth after that ordeal.
 I received the greatest shock of my life when Nana asked me to go and have my bath as Oluu was sending me to school. All my tears turned into joy.

On my first day at school, I felt lost. The school; a Presbyterian school, was a very big school. The primary school was farther apart from the Junior Secondary School. I was taken to class one. But I saw to my disappointment that I knew virtually everything that the teacher was teaching. Oluu was the class two teacher so my class teacher told Oluu about this. He still insisted that I remained in class one. By this time, I was about eight years old. When I reached class two, most people in the school knew me because I was very intelligent. Oluu kept teaching me at home, even some of the class five pupils could not compete with me. At home, it was the same old story. I did many house chores and the little time I had, I was taught by Oluu.

Now, Nana was selling baf loaf. One day, on my way to school, I went to look for counters at a bar which was situated by the road side. Then I saw a fifty cedi note on the floor. I gave it to the bar tender who said it must be for one of the people who came to the bar the previous night and asked me to keep it. I gave it to Oluu, who said he would use it to feed me. He did feed me for months. But I later learnt that he used that money to buy a kente cloth and fed me with his own money. I cared less. I wouldn’t have said anything even if he had asked me to give it to him without promising anything. I liked him very much.

On my way from school one day, I saw that we had company. Then Nana told me that my parents are back from the village. I received this news with indifference. Then I saw my mother pounding ‘fufu’. I greeted her and went to change my clothes (which was house attire). I heard later that she and my ‘father’ were to settle in Accra for greener pastures. So my mother will sell some of the baf loaf while my ‘father’ looks for some work. By now, my mother had one more child in addition to the one I knew in the village. That one had grown almost like me.  I knew that I was the third born and that I had two sisters before me though I didn’t know them.   My mother looked like an angel. She was very fair, had a long jelly hair and a pointed nose. She was fairly tall and looked like a very quiet lady. I tried to marry her with the mother I knew in the village. That one was quiet and fair as this one, but I never thought she was as beautiful as this one.

Her staying with us made no difference. She could not defend me even when someone was molesting me. Actually, she herself was molested many times that I sometimes felt sorry for her. Nana was always on her case, it’s either her cooking was bad or some chores had not been done or she was a fool. But my ‘father’ was a bit stronger; he was always defending my mother to no avail. My baby brother was very fat. So people started calling my mother ‘obolo maame’ meaning the mother of a big child. Every morning, my mother would wash her sieve and fill it with the loaves Nana will give her, and then she will strap Kwabena on her back and go for hawking. I learnt then that everybody had his or her own problem. I had mine and my parents had theirs. So there was no need expecting someone to protect me.

One day, Nana Adwoa came for a visit and brought me three dresses. I was the happiest girl alive. It was a long time since I had worn beautiful clothes. I tried each one of them to see if they fitted. They fitted perfectly. Then my mother went to put them in her bag which was in Nana’s room, for we all slept on a mat in that same room. The next day, she gave me one to wear to church. The next Sunday, my mother searched and searched for the other two dresses but could not find them. Then she came to tell Nana, who insulted her that she was slow and foolish and so she would not find them. Nana herself got up and went in search of the missing dresses but could not find them. Eventually, we came to the conclusion that the dresses were either not put in her bag and someone had mistakenly taken it somewhere or some thief came for them. I did not cry. I wasn’t even surprised because I had gotten used to the fact that my story was always different from the others. So I made do with the one for church services. That dress was a straight dress, white with red flowers with buttons from top to bottom in front.

 The pressure in that house had become too much for my parents so they decided to find their own place. It was a year after my dress incidence. Then we heard that some of Nana’s relatives were coming to visit her from the village. One fine Saturday, as my parents were getting ready to go tidy up their new place and I washing one saucepan, I heard people shouting ‘here they come, here they are’. Then we saw a woman coming with two girls. Those two girls each had one of my dresses on. Those who saw my dresses when Nana Adwoa brought them were awe struck.

My mother being who she was; quiet and humble, looked at me sympathetically, without a word. I always felt that she did not like me. I couldn’t put my fingers on what kept us apart, but I felt my mother always felt distant from me. But she seemed genuinely sorry for my plight. I looked on for a while and continued with my chore. By now, I’d become used to swallowing every bit of maltreatment and making it generate into bitterness within. And my nearness to God sagged with each hurt.

                                          AMOAFOWAA SEFA CECILIA