MY NAME IS AKA : EPISODES 11 – 20
BY AMAH’S HEART
I ran down to mama Zaram’s house happily that morning.
She had asked me to come earlier since it was a Saturday and also a market day.
“Mama… Mama, I’m here..” I called out
I stood in front of her door, knocking repeatedly.
There was no reply.
Zaram came yesterday night, after I returned from work to inform me that mama want me to come around this morning.
I wondered why she was calling me.
Yesterday was my birthday and she made a delicious oha soup with enough stock fish and fufu for me.
Zaram brought the food along with her in the evening, I enjoyed it with my family.
Everyone wants to partake in the feast.
I ate a little and left the rest for them.
I wish I ate more than that little because the food was really delicious with those big stock fish that mama Zaray added inside but my people were already dragging it like hungry lions.
There’s nothing speacial about my birthday, I told mama Zaram a week ago about my birthday while we were discussing.
Zaram was there too in that very day.
I’m surprised that she even remembered or maybe Zaram reminded her.
My people at home took it like no big deal.
I was excited anyway, with or without anyone wishing me a happy birthday.
My only sadness is that I turned sixteen years and haven’t resumed school yet.
I work round the clock but my efforts is just not yielding enough result.
My siblings asked me to buy something for them on my birthday.
Uzo Said to me “Aka, since today is your birthday, what will you cook for us? Me I want rice and beans with smoked fish, plantain, assorted meat and two boiled egg..”
“Your own list is too much, I just want Aka to buy a new school bag, a foot ball and a pack of Pepsi for me. I like Pepsi, if I start making money, I will use all my money to buy Pepsi..” Obinna said
“Your list is even bigger than mine. Let’s all agree on one thing, which is the food so that when Aka finally prepares it, we will all enjoy it together..” Uzo added.
“I don’t want anything because Aka need money to register for school, she won’t buy anything for anybody but if she later buys something for the house, I will partake in the enjoyment too..” Amara said.
My Mom said I should try and return back early so that I can prepare soup with the vegetable and okra she will leave in the kitchen for me.
She told me that my father wants to see me, he has something he wants to tell me.
I was already elated, atleast my Dad will say some prayer or wish me well.
That will really mean alot to me.
But as usual, my Dad had something way bigger on his sleeve for me but I wasn’t surprised one bit.
“You’re sixteen today Aka, I have been waiting for this very day to come. You’re not a kid anymore. About three men have asked me about you concerning marriage but I told them you’re still fifteen they should wait until you’re sixteen. You’re bigger than your age and should’nt waste time in getting hooked before you will start looking like a fifty years lady…”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about papa. All I’m focusing on is going back to school no matter how long it takes..” I replied my father that morning.
“You know exactly what I’m talking about Aka. offcourse you will still go to school, Eme nwa Danfo who deals in car spare parts is just thirty six years, he’s the youngest and more richer than all the other men interested in you..”
“…Eme have seen you severally at madam joint and try to engage you in a conversation but he said you don’t reply to anyone. You better start replying because that’s the only way helpers will locate you.
Eme is ready to sponsore you to the university level if you marry him. He’s a promising young man. His father owns one of the largest spare parts shop in oriama market, which is the biggest market in this community. I will be a rich man.. your mother, your brothers and sisters, we are all going to be super rich if you agree to marry Eme nwa Danfo…”
I totally ignored him like I used to do to those madam joint flírty customers.
“… hope you’re listening to me? I don’t want to force you even though I have the right to choose husband for you, I want you to think about it and give me positive feedback. You can still choose Ojenta, he’s a palm wine tapper but he has money, his wife is láte and he has three grown up children.
Another suitor is Odu, he’s a farmer with large palm plantation. His wife left him and he haven’t seen any qualified woman to marry until he saw you…”
“…well, my choice is Eme nwa Danfo. He’s just thirty six years and never been married before. He’s from a rich family and if you agree to marry him, that will automatically makes us wealthy.
We will never eat from hand to mouth again. You don’t need to work anymore because there’s enough money. You can go to big school although he does not value education, he prefers business and may open big business for you.
Your brothers, whenever they’re through with their school, can learn car or machine spare parts too. Is a whole new begining for us. Don’t be selfish Aka, try putting all this things I mentioned into consideration.
Even your mother is aware of it and she’s in support. Eme may not send you to school but will open a big business for you to be managing because that’s how his mind works..”
He was still talking when I started going outside.
“… I’m talking and you’re walking out, your disrespect is becoming too much in this house Aka..”
“Sorry Papa, I thought you’re done talking. I don’t want to be late for work because madam joint will deduct my money if I’m a minute late..”
“Is because of me that you’ve that job, but you have never bothered even for one day to say “papa take this three thousand and enjoy yourself” you’ve never given me anything and whenever I ask you to borrow me money you will refuse..”
“But I paid almost fourteen thousand for your medical bills Papa, my school registration money would’ve been completed if not for that your medical expenses…” I reminded him.
“You had no choice than to pay. I can’t go and borrow money from outsider when my daughter is working. By the way, isn’t your work resumption time from 2pm? This is still 11am and you’re already leaving…”
“Ify is not around, she won’t be coming this weekend. That’s why madam joint asked me to resume early..”
“Do you see how your colleague, Ify used to attend to the customers, smiling and very friendly with the men. I heard she gets lots of tips and your madam likes her service. You need to learn from her and lossen up a bit. Eme nwa Danfo said you hardly smile always carrying a straight face like oke osisi…”
“Can I go now, I’m late already papa..”
“Make sure you think about all that I told, especially about Eme’s request. You’re sixteen years today, some of your mates are already with two kids in their husband’s house..”
I left without a single thought to what papa said.
Thinking about the whole thing now, it makes me feel really bad.
Ify is planning to leave for the city this weekend, I’m begining to see reasons to go with her.
Madam joints has pointed Eme nwa Danfo to me before, she picked men that she wanted me to serve drinks personally. I always do that but will hardly respond to them and if they leave a tip I will collect it without a care because my family and I need every penny.
Madam joint also complained that I’m I’m not doing my job well, she said Why she was protecting initially is because I was new to the job and thought I was naive, she doesn’t want men taking advantage of my naiveness.
But I have worked for more than two months and suppose to understand how it all goes.
She asked me to smile more, laugh at their dry jokes and learn how to cat walk for them.
I ignored her like I did to my father
She probably complained to Papa but I don’t care. If she doesn’t want my service anymore, she should just sack me because I’m not going to act like a whore so that she can make more sales.
Back to the present, I looked around in search of Mama Zaram
I went to her kitchen side and saw there’s smoke from the firewood traveling out from the kitchen roof, although the door was closed but not lócked.
which means she was cooking before leaving
She must be close by
“Zaram..Zaram… where are you and where’s mama..” I called out as I started moving to the backyard.
I heard a loud noise from a nearby bush, I can hear Zaram voice
She was probably talking to her grandmother.
I followed the directions of their voice while still calling out to them.
“We’re over here, Aka..come to this side..”
I saw them trying to cut down plantain.
“Mama want to give it to you..”Zaram whispered into my ears. After I greeted mama and she replied happily.
“What.. Why? I almost exclaimed aloud but she hushed me
“Since yesterday was your birthday, mama have been thinking of what to give to you. I suggested she gives you one of those her new wrappers that she haven’t used before, it’s just lying in her box but mama laughed at the idea and said what will an old woman’s wrapper do to a young girl like you..”
…it was this morning, while she was walking around she saw that this big plantain is ripe and ready for consumption. Since today is a market day, you can also sell it if you don’t want to eat it with the rest of your family. Plantain is not very common this season, so you can even sell this for high cost…” Zaram said
“Zaram quit talking, come and cut this plantain leave for the goat food..”
Zaram moved to do as she said.
After mama finished cutting the bunch of big plantain, Zaram and I carried it to the house
“Becareful with it’s fluid, so it doesn’t drop on your skin or cloth…” Mama Zaram said to us.
“Zaram must’ve told you that the plantain I’d yours, I hope is not too small for your birthday present.”
Mama said to me as we were seated close to her kitchen
I smile and hugged her tight.
“Thank you Mama. You’ve done more than enough and I’m deeply grateful. God will keep you strong and healthy for me, so that when I finally make money, I will buy plenty things for you..” I said with a smile.
“I have more than enough Aka, I just want you to be happy and take care of yourself…”
“… This days, there’s so much sadness in your eyes and I hope this little will bring back the spark..” she untied the edge of her wrapper and gave me two thousand naira.
Mama Zaram made me drop few tears. Her kindness is beyond my understanding.
She prayed for me for about five minutes, she went inside and brought six yards of beautiful material and dropped it on my lap, saying is part of my gifts.
She went into her kitchen and dished out hot yam porridge with dry fish for me
She said I should sit and eat it there because if I take it home, my people won’t allow me to eat.
I ate it with Zaram, I asked her to bring her spoon and join me.
Mama added more food for us.
I was really filled up.
Mama asked if she should sell the plantain in the market for me so that I can make money
I told her not to bother selling it, I have big plans for it.
I was so full and happy when I left her place and return home.
Mama sighting the material that mama gave me asked me to bring it so that she can check if it’s original.
She later asked me to take it inside and keep it on top of her box, she will check it properly later.
Mama Zaram made my day. My happiness was not just the gifts but the way she treats me speacial and cared for me.
That was the kind of birthday I so much wanted
Mama Zaram made it happen for me.
MY NAME IS AKA : EPISODES 11 – 20
Click 4 below to continue reading