Ama swept her kinky hair up placed her hands on her hips and walked off in her faded African print dress. Singing a Twi song in her shrill, annoying voice she seemed fed up. It was a Saturday afternoon when Ama had finished all her household chores, which included hand washing a basket load of dirty clothes for the Mensah’s.
Ama needed money to survive since absconding from Auntie Maamuna when they got to Accra on that sweltering Saturday morning, three months ago. She was lucky enough to have found work at the Mensah’s as a house help. They were also desperate for someone to clean, wash and look after their three boisterous children. Homeless and desperate this was Ama’s big opportunity to achieve her dream. She knew she had to survive in this bustling city but needed money. The Mensah’s three children were a set of twin toddlers and a feisty eight year old. They kept Ama busy,
She had come to live in Accra from a town in the Eastern region of Ghana. Drawn by all the television shows and the influence of the flashy Nigerian Movies, that portrayed a foreign lifestyle, Ama believed Accra was a ‘land paved with gold.’ She had been learning to sew, an apprentice at Auntie Maamuna’s small, rusty container shop. She had been persuaded and supported by her mother to learn a trade, so she did. Ama had always wanted to be educated, she pretended she understood and could read English, she covered it up well, especially when her customers had to be measured and the details recorded. Luckily she was never found out.
Her mother’s friend Auntie Maamuna the proprietress and seamstress, travelled monthly to Accra to buy fabric. This time, she decided to take Ama with her as part of her training.
“Ama we are travelling to Accra tomorrow, make sure you prepare to stay for the weekend.”
Ama was secretly elated she realised this was her big opportunity. She had wished for this break throughout her teenage years, when she had dropped out of school. After she had lost her father, Ama’s mother a tomato seller at the market taught Ama to travel North to the tomato farms to borrow their weekly stock. That is how they traded. You borrow, sell with a meagre profit and pay back on your next trip.
So this was Ama’s big opportunity… Accra here I come!