Auntie Ama, Darra’s mistress, was a kind woman.
She welcomed the young girl despite her being a total stranger; such was the compelling nature of Darra’s story.
Darra became the fourth maid in the household, but her stay would be temporary, as business had not been too good lately. Auntie Ama planned to send Darra away as soon as she could devise a means. One less mouth to feed – Darra’s, of course – would save some coins.
Days piled into weeks and months, with Darra doing rather well. Everything was fine until one of the girls started making trouble by stealing from Auntie Ama. When the ‘nicking’ was found out, all the girls denied — and all pointed accusing fingers at the newcomer. Auntie Ama, however, trusted Darra would not steal from her.
On her way home one afternoon, with only a few tubers left in her basin, Darra decided to take a route home that was not the usual. This one went right through a neighborhood, with Daara harboring hopes that perhaps someone would buy what remained of her stock for the day. She had in mind Ma Adwoa, a woman in one of those new settlements who often purchased Darra’s wares. To her home, then, she went.
This time, though, the middle-aged lady did not buy anything, only inquiring if Darra would be available over the weekend to do some work. Darra said to first seek permission from her mistress; truthfully, she had no intentions to. When the weekend came, she simply slipped out.
At Ma Adwoa’s place, a mass of dirty laundry awaited. As Darra hung the last cloth out to dry, her mistress-for-the-day approached with a plate of rice in hand, which the younger woman wolfed down.
Before Darra left with some ‘coins’ as a reward for her day’s work, Ma Adwoa suggested that Darra move in with her family to assist with chores more regularly. Well, Darra found a good excuse to decline the offer, but kept returning on weekends to do what she could.
Ma Adwoa was quite determined, though, and knowing Auntie Ama, she stopped by one evening to see how far that agenda could be pushed. She insisted on acquiring Darra’s services, although Auntie Ama offered other options. The other girls, green with envy, began to hate Darra.
Their jealousy was the last thing Darra feared, however. After all she had been through?
Bring it on!
Anyway, she did eventually join Ma Adwoa. Darra was shown a small room – a converted storeroom, really – as hers. In one corner, too, was a small, dusty stack of books. It was everything the hut she shared with her siblings back home wasn’t. Darra was given a small mattress, and with all she carried along fitting into a small plastic bag, she was not far from a being minimalist.
It wasn’t easy, but Darra quickly got settled into her taxing dawn-to-dusk routine. Soon, though, a new problem came up — one that Darra could never get used to. Kofi, the third of Ma Adwoa’s children, would leer at Darra when his parents were away. In response, on one occasion when he dared get too close for comfort, Darra shoved him against a table in the kitchen.
Darra despised that boy with a passion; that much was obvious. But just how would she bring the matter to the attention of his mother and her madam?
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 smiling. Get the previous episode here if you missed it.
Mathy Adortsu — Daily Mail GH