Thursday, February 17, 2011

The hope to carry on (1)

It seemed like the whole room was silent. More like the whole world went mute. All I could hear was my tears fall. I closed my eyes and opened it several times, hoping and praying that is was a dream. The unfortunate truth was glaring. I heard the front door creek and wiped my tears immediately. My little brother rushed in and dropped his bag on the bed. “Good afternoon.” He greeted. I responded and walked out of the room. I had to cry some more but not in front of him. There was a big mango try right behind the landlord’s room. I sat there and wept my eyes sore. Was there something wrong with us? Had we been cursed? Why did my uncle have to die now?

My uncle’s wife who never loved us anyway didn’t hesitate to look for another home for us. She said we were cursed and would not allow us to kill her too. When she packed our bags later that evening I wondered where she wanted us to go? It seemed like my family agreed with her because everyone had an excuse. At the funeral it seemed she was more interested in sending us away than burying her belated husband. Even at the funeral, our sad faces didn’t change the minds of anyone. 

I dropped out of school to get a job because my uncle’s wife gave us just 2 weeks to look for a place to stay. As much as I loved school and landed A’s in almost every subject, getting a place to stay in two weeks and paying for the rest of my little brother’s fees was much more important to me at the time. I went from place to place, person to person in search of practically any job. I didn’t have a senior high school certificate but at least I was willing to learn. After applying for a 1000 jobs, a friend told me about another friend of hers, a recruiter who could help me. I quickly went to see him. “So you want a job right? Your qualification is really bad.” Mr. Wilson complained when I got there. “I know that Sir, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes. I’m a very fast learner too.” I added. He looked at me again and smiled. “I like your determination. I’ll see what I can do.” He said with a smile.

In a few days I was working as a waitress at a restaurant not too far from my house. My uncle’s wife was very relieved when she heard this and kept reminding me about our departure date. She was so cold, I wondered how my uncle put up with her. I was to make GHC 100 a month. I know it wasn’t much for a 9am to 9pm job but it was all I could get. I promised my brother a water gun by the end of the month. He was so excited because he hadn’t had a new toy since our uncle died. He was only 6, he deserved to play.

At work one day, Mr. Wilson came to the restaurant. He said he was coming to see if everything was ok with me. I smiled and nodded. “Your employer made a complaint.” He said. I looked at him confused, then he went on. “She said you don’t have a phone so communicating with you is hard.” I was relieved, that was scary. “Yes Sir, I can’t afford a phone but when I get paid I will get one.” I replied. He looked at me and shook his head. “We decided to give you one now, so when you get your salary we will deduct 30% every month.” He said and handed a very simple phone over to me. I smiled broadly. “Thank you Sir, that is very kind of you.” I said. “The phone costs 27 Cedis with the chip so we would deduct 9 Cedis each month. It’s better than buying it at once.” He explained. This was brilliant. I couldn’t believe I had a phone!

My uncle’s wife agreed to let us stay till my first pay. Of course there was a condition. We had to pay her 20 Cedis for the extra two weeks. According to her she was risking her life just allowing us to stay. Seriously, if I was a witch as she kept saying it would have been her I would have killed and not my parents or uncle. Pay day arrived and I was ready to see the cash of my labour. After work on the last day of the month I went straight to Mr. Wilson, my recruiter. He was the one to pay me. I got to his office right on time.

 “Ah, Fafa you have come for your money right?” He asked beaming with smiled. I nodded eagerly, remembering the water gun, my two week rent and the rent for a single room I was going to hire. “Why don’t we go for a drink and chat a little before I give you your money.” He offered. “Sir, I have to rush home. I promised my auntie I’d cook supper today.” I replied. He didn’t seem to believe me, or so I thought. “Oh come on, it won’t take long. Alright then let me just show you my house.” He offered again. I was beginning to see the picture from the look on his face. “Sir please I can’t. I’m sorry.” I said in the politest of ways. “Look here, it seems like you don’t want your money eh? After all I’ve done for you. This is what you are telling me eh?” He said harshly. This was the worse situation I had ever been in. I got down on my knees. “Sir please. I need the money but I can’t do that, please understand me.” I pleaded in tears. “Fine!” He said and threw 40 Cedis at me. “I have deducted the full amount for the phone because I don’t trust you anymore and the rest is my percentage. Foolish girl, next time you will be more serious.” He said and rushed out of the office. 

What would you have done? 
To be continued...