‘S’ is for Struggle

Mansa stared at the pregnancy test stick in her hand. Any woman would be happy, but tears quickly formed in the corners of her eyes as she looked down at the forming + sign on the stick. It was positive.  She loved kids, but after 4 miscarriages and two still births in her six years of marriage to Bentum, the concept of child birth sent shivers down her spine.  Perhaps she wasn’t destined to be a mother.

That is why she had taken Sister Yayra’s advise about taking contraceptives –  against her catholic religious beliefs, and without Bentum’s knowledge. She is quite a character, that Yayra. On a Sunday she could easily pass for a nun at the St. Xavier Catholic Church. You should she see how sanctimoniously she kneels to take her holy communion, and how she judges and condemns to hell ladies  who dare show up with their dress lengths above their knees.

Sometimes Mansa found it hard to believe that this same Sister Yayra is the one who told her so much about witches and evil spirits who were preventing her from giving birth and recommended numerous suspicious  looking -talisman- wearing “men of God” who had solutions to every problem under the sun.

 Mansa usually  takes everything Sister Yayra  said with a pinch of salt and mostly ignores her unsolicited advice but she  heeded to taking contraceptives mainly because she was tired of the cycle of anti-climaxes of near parenthood that had marred her marriage.And just when she was settling into her new belief that she was sterile, this happens.

The door bell rang, snapping Mansa out of her pensive mood. Bentum was home. Mansa hid the stick she was still holding in the drug cabinet in the bathroom and headed  downstairs to meet her husband.

The pungent smell of the hot Binatone iron scorching the still damp St. Andrew’s school uniform hit the nose of an unperturbed Brewa. She had burnt her school uniform again- on purpose. By now everyone in her family knew that she would do anything to get out of going to school especially on Monday. She had told so many stories about Mr. Sintim’s Science Class that everyone in the family felt like they knew him.

The problem for Brewa is that while everyone thought she was making stuff up just to get out of going to school she really wasn’t. She was genuinely scared of him. His general theoretical approach to teaching Science, which in Brewa’s opinion should be practical, coupled with her weakness in the subject made every Monday a day of terror because he would conduct his favorite mental sessions.

Mr. Sintim had earned the nickname Alookume at St. Andrew’s School because he is cross- eyed so students often found if hard telling if he was pointing at them in class. Brewa learnt in JHS 1 that the condition was medically referred to as Strabismus   Of the Four Classes of JHS 2, he hated 2 Ivory, Brewa’s class, the most because they were the very notorious. Last week He mercilessly beat up Kwabena Dua because he had called him to answer a question.

The poor boy, who couldn’t tell if Mr. Sintim was looking at him, kept looking to Nii Abgo who sat to his right.  This angered  Mr. Sintim who thought at this point that Kwabena Dua was making fun  of him  or was trying to get out of answering the question. He called the boy forward and gave him 10 strokes of his cane. Kwabena had to stand for the rest of the day because his buttocks were sore.

Mr. Sintim had announced  after he lashed Kwabena that there would be a class test today, and although Brewa had learnt as much as she could over the week, every thought of test got her breaking into uneasy sweat. She looked at the watch in corridor. 6:15. The school bus will arrive in 15 minutes. Brewa felt her heart sink into her stomach and her intestines independently tying themselves into Bantu knots.

Barima listened quietly as the two girls in the back of his taxi conversed loudly. One of them, who he had learned was called Amina, had just landed a job with an oil marketing firm in Takoradi. She was excited about it but also worried that Hassan, her betrothed who was a court clerk, would be jealous of her new high earning job.

Barima cringed, and almost hit the brakes when Amina’s friend Dufie advised her to break it off with Hassan if she found him to be too authoritative. He had to press his lips shut to prevent himself from offering unsolicited advice. He wanted to tell Amina to discuss her concerns with Hassan. Not all men were so driven with ego to reject the financial support of their spouse. At least he was one such man.

He met his wife Justine while he worked as an Administration officer at Kendrick Hotel. She was the front desk assistant then. One thing led to another and their love clichéd into marriage. He used almost all his savings to give her the wedding of her dreams, the rest he invested into his taxi business telling anyone who’d listen that he was tired of working for others.

It’s been two years, and he’s done quite well for himself. He owns two taxis already, and is working on paying off the third one. Justine now works as the P.A of the District Chief Executive of Mbenta, where they live. They’ve had an enjoyable relationship so far but Barima can’t help the occasional thoughts of her cheating on him, especially as she has been working late nights more than usual.



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