The runaway returns
Darra sat beside a koko seller under a large mango tree at the lorry station for breakfast. The weary travelers had finally reached their destination, Tamale, at dawn, several hours after setting off. With very little baggage, she had come off and found them with some ease. A leading place in the queue waiting to be served by the koko seller felt good, too.
Darra sipped porridge dished out hot into a calabash – the ubiquitous vessel in which liquid food or beverage is traditionally served in the north – and, almost immediately, thought about where she would head next. The nagging concern wasn’t over, but the scrimmage of disembarking travelers distracted her. She saw the fellow who had been so kind to her approach the growing line of hungry customers seeking their fill.
She had to thank him.
The young man, though not looking keenly, wondered where the girl he had helped could so shortly have gone. Darra had no interest narrating her ordeal, but she finished up quickly and approached him anyway.
“Have you eaten?” he enquired with apparent concern.
“Moments ago, yes,” Darra clipped a reply. “Thank you very much for. . .”
She didn’t quite finish expressing her gratitude when he cut in.
“That’s okay,” the gentleman said, looking away.
“I’m Kwame,” he introduced himself. “Kwame Ansah.”
“Darra,” she replied, as though on cue.
Kwame was visiting his family in Tamale on vacation after his father, a teacher, was transferred from Kumasi. There was little he could do to help; Darra certainly wouldn’t welcome moving in with another family. What of her own, though?
Well, that prospect only raised more questions.
How would she be received in Tuya?
And wouldn’t her return at this time prove too premature, or rather needless?
After lingering and pondering some more, she proceeded on her way to her hometown — braving possible rejection — with the last few coins affording her a ride on a small, rickety van passing through Tuya. Darra alighted and stealthily needled her way through the outskirts and into the village. Nothing much had changed, except it was drier than when she left. She traced out the very path that once saw her out as an escapee – this time, though, from the disappointing hustles of urban life. The village succumbed to the darkening twilight, with trees and shrubs casting long, dusky umbras across the dusty trail.
Wait — was that the sound of someone approaching?
Darra almost made for the harmattan-stricken thickets, but realized that would rather unwittingly announce her presence to whoever was coming. Crickets were already busy rubbing out high-pitched, nuptial chirps. Darra carried on carefully, arriving from behind at her home: there the old huts stood, unchanged.
Should she dash to the kitchen and hope to see her receptive mom first?
Oh, but what if the next few steps led her to reasonably cold Baba – or, a little too warmly, to her siblings?
Would there even be an embrace?
And from who?
When the Sun Pointed South is a weekly series — exclusive to Daily Mail GH every weekend — that tells the entirely fictional and incredibly inspiring story of a young girl who escaped the rigors of life in Ghana’s North, braved odds down South, and emerged radiant. Get the previous episode here if you missed it.
Mathy Adortsu — Daily Mail GH