A sac of worries
The sun was particularly hot that afternoon, and tummies started grumbling to be filled. The chat was long and, well, quite boring – at least to Darra, whose mind often wandered off.
“Can I find food around?” Darra cut in with a grin as Razak spoke. “I’m starving!”
“Um…sure, there’s this waakye vendor around the corner,” her male companion responded.
He carried Darra’s bag as they walked off to get the food. Soon, though, the blazing sun set, and lodging became Darra’s new worry. Razak offered to take her home — to his family — but Darra declined, unwilling to meet one familiar face too many.
“The streets aren’t safe, Darra,” he quipped. “Besides, you don’t have many options with respect to accommodation here in the city.”
Darra was determined never to rest until she felt really safe. Razak had a point, she acknowledged. So off they went to a friend of his, Amina Gafar, who owned a small shack in the slum. The two – Razak and Amina – were friends who shared some dirty little secret Darra was oblivious to; she’d know soon enough, though. After a brief chit-chat, Amina agreed to host Darra for that night – and maybe for the next few days. Amina, sensing just how nervous her young guest was, tried to ease the mood with some conversation.
Well, as it turned out, Amina was a prostitute, and she took Darra for one of the many girls who travelled in for a life in the trade. She brazenly told her new ‘recruit’ a lot about the vice. A customer came in to do business and, not long thereafter, Amina emerged all sweaty and with a little sum she waved rather temptingly. Darra, though, had better things to worry about and promptly rejected Amina’s offer. Such talk just made her even more uneasy, didn’t it?
Meanwhile, in the village, people were anything but at ease. Baba Yussif had woken up to bitter news that Darra was missing. Ma Gezele, who knew she’d bear blame for being careless, feigned distress. Ma Aisha was informed about Darra’s disappearance, the ceremony carried on regardless, and the village elders arranged to meet the Yussifs afterwards with the goal of launching a search party to find the missing girl.
Darra was comfortably out of that party’s reach, however, but she had to more to do to ensure her own comfort where she now was. Amina could only be so hospitable to her – it had already been weeks since she arrived – and, going forward, Darra had to earn her keep.
Options for livelihood were limited, and prostitution – a definite no-no – aside, the next viable prospect was being a porter. It was sheer drudgery, but at least it was decent hustle, and Darra slogged on with it. Her worries pursued her well into her dreams – a world in which she’d often see luminaries aligning as though leading somewhere.
She wasn’t sure quite where, but Darra was determined to find out. Those dreams that pursued her?
Oh, she’d pursue them, too – wherever they led.
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