EPISODE 6: When The Sun Pointed South

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A Girl in the Slum

Life as a porter was not easy for Darra, but at least it paid off. Over the next few days, her money pouch filled up slowly to increasingly make her trip southward a possibility.

Just when money seemed less of a problem, another genuine concern came up. Darra gave much thought to how she could disappear from the city as tracelessly as she had from her hometown — essentially covering all her tracks — without the risk of Razak and/or Amina betraying her whereabouts.

Would they, though?

“Well, not if I leave no trail,” Darra thought.

So on she forged, buying a few second-hand clothes in preparation for the next phase of her journey life. Darra had always suspected that Amina, her host, rummaged through her belongings when she was away, so she rarely kept the little money she had made out of sight — secure in the pouch dangling from her waist, in fact.

One evening, she stepped out to buy food. After a few turns on the cramped lanes of the slum, there they were – a group of five ne’er-do-wells lurking around the corner. These were no mere layabouts, though; even worse, they were criminals. Darra bristled at the sight of the young men and at the thought of what they were capable of, for she had heard the tales told of their misdeeds.

It was fight or flight, and, right now, only the latter option made sense. Just before Darra could run, though, she felt a firm grip from behind. Greatly terrified, she could only let out air when attempting a scream for help.

“Give everything you have or…,” she heard a voice – seemingly belonging to the leader of the gang – boom.

As if on cue, the remainder, like buzzards over carrion, encircled. Their breath, heavy with the smell of marijuana, made such unsolicited company even more uncomfortable for Darra. Frightened by her would-be assailants, especially after seeing the glistening knife one of them wielded, Darra quickly dropped the money-filled purse — the wisest course of action, really, if she wanted to survive this ordeal unscathed.

They wanted more, though: a piece of her. And they probably would have, had another strong male voice — one more familiar and reassuring — not entreated them to stop.

Razak it was.

Fortunately, the quintet — to whom Razak was favorably known, for some reason — obliged, albeit reluctantly.

“She’s my sister,” Razak, a thin figure emerging from the dark, appealed. The boys, clearly not amused and even disappointed at being robbed of their ‘kill’, backed off and muttered curse words.

Darra was safe, at least for now, but, back in the village, Ma Gezele — who had not heard from her only daughter since their untimely parting — sought guarantees of that. But how could she do so without arousing fresh suspicions, having barely held off those initially aimed her way by her husband and the village elders?

She had learnt about one of her neighbors’ upcoming trip to Tamale, where she hoped Darra would be by now, and Ma Gezele saw an opportunity, however risky, to glean some information from her relatives in the big city.

Cunningly, she found a way.

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

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