Every year we see her. Tall, lanky with several amulets and a dirty head wrap. And every year she has a new baby. We always wonder why a sane man would want to impregnate such a woman. But she always told us it was the Boko’s child. And interestingly enough, her coming always coincided with the Boko’s celebration. Maybe a pure coincidence? No one knows.
This year the rains started, but she didn’t show. We got to harmattan and she still didn’t show. We wondered what happened to her. She became the illusion of a woman we once knew. A woman with a new beautiful child every year. The woman whose money we didn’t like to take when she buys from our shop. This woman who took refuge in front of our shop when the rains poured.
Out of sympathy, we offered her soup, and offered her food for her child’s sake. We didn’t know if she was an angel in disguise or a devil on assignment. The woman stressed us out every single time. We learned to pour water at the front of the shop so she doesn’t sleep there at night. It’s not that we didn’t believe in loving you’re neighbour. It’s not that we had any use for the front of the shop when it is closed.
But we knew her not. She only appeared and disappeared at certain opportune times. Her talk gibberish, gait lanky & unstable. Anklets, charms and tattered “Vodusi” apparel. Beautiful children, with lovely smiles and hungry stomachs. Some of the Childs with curly hair that remained so despite not being bathed for days. Childs that only understood their mother and stood by her. Refusing to go with good samaritans who sought to rescue them for social welfare.
A year came, then two years, then three and I lost count. The woman with Childs hasn’t crossed our parts again for a long time. Maybe she came whilst I was in school, but mother would have mentioned it? Perhaps she met her untimely death, that would be a sad one. What could possibly have happened to all the Childs she brought. Have they grown to decent adults? Are they living a good life?
She was a woman you learnt to hate, love and tolerate — all at the same time. You doubted if she would eat your food, wondered if she won’t pay you evil for good. Today, we long to be good, we long to support someone. The woman with child would have benefitted, but she stopped coming. The dirty roadside that got dirtier with her presence now stays clean. Her base has new tenants now. A barbering salon, a waakye seller, a “Kofi Brokeman” seller and sometimes a credit transfer stand.
The years move on and memories fade, but there’s always room to provide shade. Shade for others that the sun’s heat is too much for. Shade that gives the wandering soul, mind & body a place to finally rest and recuperate. Find the woman with Childs in your own life & be the changing shade to replace the scorching sun.
- “Boko” – Fetish Priest
- “Vodusi” – Wife of a Fetish Priest or a Fetish Priestess
- Kofi Brokeman — Roast plantain