Every morning, I stand on the pungent-smelling refuse dump and look at where the rich people stay. I see the magnificent gate that leads into their extremely expensive estate and see flashy cars go in and out. Once a while, when I’m lucky, the gate opens for long and I see their giant and dreamy homes and well-pruned grass. I like to stare at where the rich people stay and ask myself silly questions like, “Is it really human beings like me that live there? Do they really live there everyday? As in, they actually wake up in such luxurious homes every single day like it’s normal?”
“Fowaa! Fowaa! What are you standing there for again? Won’t you hurry up and sell what’s left of the coconut toffees before you go to school?”
My name is Fowaa. I live with my grandma, Nana, and five chickens. The woman who sells kenkey near our house said that the nurses at Korle-Bu killed my mother. She said that they left her in labour to watch the final episode of the then popular Mexican telenovela, ‘A Woman of Copper’. She even said that my mother was lucky.
“Can you imagine that they left scissors in Maa Fosty’s stomach? Scissors o scissors. The poor woman died after suffering for weeks. Kai! These public hospitals will kill us but we won’t die.”
As for my Nana, she doesn’t mention my mother, ever. The kenkey seller also said that it’s because my mother never told anyone, including Nana, who was responsible for her pregnancy. So nobody knows who my father is. I’m not sure he even knows that he has a daughter somewhere. That’s why Koku, the class bully, calls me a bastard.
I help my grandma make coconut toffees every night. We make over a hundred before we go to bed. Grating the coconuts can be painful especially when you scrape your knuckles on the grater. Nana just tosses me a rag to wipe off the blood and then we continue. When she scrapes her knuckles, I pass the rag on to her and it goes on and on. “Make sure your blood doesn’t enter the coconut o. Nobody wants to eat bloody toffees.” She reminds me every night.
I think most of the time, we sleep around 2am. I can’t really tell because we don’t have a clock yet. But Nana says she’ll buy a clock this Christmas. Only Bra Kwame has a clock in this our compound house. The thought of getting our own clock makes me so happy. She has been trying to save for it for sooo long but her numerous debts always get in the way.
This year she’ll have enough to buy the clock and my school shoe for the next year. Let me tell you, Kumasi has some of the best shoes. Maadwoa always visits from Kumasi so Grandma lets her buy me a pair when coming. I can wear one Kumasi shoe for a whole year. The problem is that sometimes around November it feels like I’m walking barefooted but aside that the shoes are very okay.
I want to be a waitress. I like their uniforms. The kenkey seller says that I should learn hard in school if I want to be a waitress. From what she tells me, I’m not beautiful enough to be a waitress but she still believes in me.
“Oh it’s a pity you didn’t take after your grandmother. You look so much like your mother. Waa see your nose. But don’t worry, okay? Girls these days have something called makeups. It will make you look beautiful eh, you will be surprised. Waitress dier you have to have fine face o.”
She also said that I should learn how to speak nice English. She even taught me some English sentences to say since she went to school till class 6. ”Hello sir, want something to drink, sir?” is very important. She said that I should twist my tongue small when saying it so that I can sound like the white people. I always rehearse that line.
I want to use my waitress money to buy grandma, Nana, a house where the rich people stay. Then I will buy my best friend, the kenkey seller, a big store in the Accra mall.
©Nana Adoma Asare Adei
I know that I’ve already posted today but I just wrote this a few minutes ago and couldn’t wait till tomorrow to post it. Negligence in public hospitals is very serious. I also tried to show how poverty comes along with a lot of ignorance.
Thanks for reading!