Gracious Pack Leader
The cold morning tranquil rumbled with a hard knock on the door. Birds tweeted peacefully up in the trees. Day had fast broken well past six, and Darra had overslept.
Sleepy-eyed, she sprang off her mat and made it for the door. A worrier, she carefully wove and rehearsed the best excuse for an unusually late wake. Barely had the frail door — fastened only by a stone — yanked open when Darra was confronted with the frightening glare of her would-be inquisitor and mother, Ma Gezele.
She looked upset alright, but her immediate concern was Ali, the young son who shared a room with Darra and wasn’t well. Eager to appease an upset parent, anyway, Darra swiftly finished her chores. In truth, though, she was always like this — in trouble or not.
Darra conscientiously carried out all assigned to her, at school and at home, partly because — like all of us — she resented getting scolded before others. It was the very reason for which she sometimes came across as rather rude. Not unlike most teens, Darra’s emotions often rode the roller coaster; being feminine made it no easier and, naturally, none understood that more than her mother. Hormone-charged teens, yeah?
With peers, Darra was louder than ever. Her true colours – shades all over – dazzled among few chosen friends, with seeming calmness effectively masking the fact that she led her own pack. You could consider her something of a foodie, always happy to engage the palate with anything that pleased it — an endless list topped easily, of course, by tuo zaafi.
For looks and form, she turned the head of many a male — yours, too, dear reader? — and boys in her school always vied for opportunities to speak with, or just be around, her. Yet even as they had their little debates when she walked by, Darra often shied away.
Her focus was trained not on boys, but on the future and the lofty prospects it held. She hoped — and strove, as was evident on her school reports – to be a doctor, like many Ghanaian kids her age. Hers, though, was hope inspired by reality, drawn from a resident female doctor working some miles away at the modest hospital which served the area.
Many young girls admired Dr. Aisha Agoh and aspired to be like her, but only few really appeared to have the brains to realize that objective. Darra had been to the hospital a few times and had observed firsthand how her mentor worked selflessly and tirelessly to help the ailing. Call at the facility anyday, anytime — even in the dead of a Harmattan-stung cold night — and you’ll never get turned away. Not by Dr. Agoh, the local heroine.
In her own little world and in many little ways, Darra was a heroine herself, even without a white coat. Once, risking it all, she took a plunge into the swollen village river to save a friend who had misplaced a step while fetching water and nearly drowned. Defying all odds of a treacherous ford, Darra dragged her out to safety on the bank, with some help from bystanders.
That — and other less dramatic acts of kindness — had Darra in the good graces of her neighbors, old and young. Still, she did look forward to grabbing that white coat someday. With all that she had going for her, only life could deny her. Would it, though?
When The Sun Pointed South is a weekly series — exclusive to Daily Mail GH every Saturday — 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 smiling. Get the previous episode here if you missed it.
Mathy Adortsu — Daily Mail GH