THE NIGHT IN A DAY SENT ME AWAY
Almost everything burnt down. Our house acted an incinerator as it was filled with smoke and the scent of burning substances. It was a sleepless night. We had been preparing for my leaving the following morning. We finished around 11.00 p.m. and that was when our bodies, which looked like ones deprived of water for days, got some space to breathe. We flung ourselves onto what were our beds and in no time, lay like logs.
It was a miracle that saved us. My mother called us at night around 1.00 a.m. to pray and commit my journey the following day into the hands of God. No sooner had we started the prayer than we realised what was going on. I quickly took my documents out for safety before joining my mother and siblings to fetch water to quench the thirst of the fire. Our shout woke the villagers up and in no time, we over-powered the fire. When all forces are against you, it takes them minutes to use their power to bring you down. But it is only God who allows certain things to happen and when He says yes, it is in vain that the enemies plan. Remember He said, ‘Touch not my anointed’?
The next morning, I couldn’t leave my village due to the circumstance. The saying “Failure to plan is a plan to fail” is indeed a wise saying. If I had waited till when I was needed in Accra before I decided to go, it could have been a different story altogether. We wouldn’t have woken up to pray at that time and no one knows what could have happened.
Well, just like my many enemies and family foes, many people did not know what happened to me. I left a week later for school. Because I had been to campus before, I did not have any difficulties even though I went quite late. I never came home afterwards. I spent my holidays with a friend I made in the university. Her parents were happy to have me in their family. They took me in and they became my parents. God is a good planner; He positions particular people at particular points of people’s lives to grease their efforts towards the fruition of dreams. But also only on conditions. I was raised to be humble and respectful to everyone regardless of age, ethnicity, or whatever the difference marker might be.
So to the wealthy Mr and Mrs Medor—who had hungered and thirsted a male child after the birth of Catherine for only God knows how many years but never got sated—what could possibly be a good reason for them to turn away a humble, harmless and intelligent me from their home? My arrival could be described in two ways: it was like the return of rains after a period of harmattan followed by one of drought. It was also like the smiles of the waking sun of a new day sprinkling on their household. In his own words, Mr Medor said, ‘Your presence in our home and family is like the soothing sensation of a gentle balm on a suffering skin’.
I could not really understand why such a wealthy family would accept me without any frictions of doubt about my personality and background. It was even more puzzling to bring my ethnicity into limelight, considering how the many other ethnic groups feared and disliked Ewes. But I’ve always understood it as the working of God. Whenever God is working for you, all protocols are either broken or observed all to your favour. Even now that the stethoscope swings around my neck and my feet parade from ward to ward, making sure limping lives are kept alive, I still wonder how I got here.
When I first informed my mother about my friendship with Catherine and my plan to be spending my holidays in her home until I completed, like every mother and especially as a single one, her fears of losing me rose like steam from evaporation. She asked me only two questions to register her opposition: Why do you want me to join your father? Do you want to erase our family, your father’s only legacy left to live?’ She expressed her fears about how the people I wanted to live with could be dangerous people and only wanted me for their personal gains. Her heart finally rested after she had spoken with my God-sent angels and came all the way to Accra to see them.
My new family were indeed angels. My initial plan of going to do some menial jobs to help support myself in school withered like grasses eaten by wild fire. When I was not returning home and my uncles and aunts who loved me with hatred were not seeing me again, different stories were born. Some had it that I was in the big city of the country’s capital, carrying concrete, mortar, and blocks for masons. Their specificity was quite stunning. If they had just said I was a labourer, doing menial jobs and perhaps adding in the construction field, it would have been understood. They described what I did as though we were together, doing the work. Of course, considering my background, no one would ever think that I was in school.
The worst of the stories was that I had died in my failed attempt to make wealth through rituals. It was not unknown in my village that no one ever succeeded in money rituals and that whoever attempted it either became the sacrifice by answering death’s call or lost their only power and property that differentiated them from animals: sense of reasoning.
So when the people who had it that I had died could not really prove with any evidence, the resorted to the second option: that I had gone insane in my attempt to get money through rituals. Few who cared came to ask my mother about me. She always told them I was doing well without any details. This made many of the people to believe the rumours of my insanity. After I had completed, I came home. Almost everyone was shocked to see me, not decorated in tattered clothes and wearing a crown of bushy, unkempt hair.
The eyes of many people, especially those in my family became jealous of their ears. As a result, my uncles and aunts were in hasty eagerness to come and verify with their eyes whether what the whispers that had jumped into their ears had any clothes of truth on their naked bodies. They were shocked just as the others about my arrival and sane existence, and though they tried very hard not to make obvious their feelings, their feelings of surprise which wore garments of disappointment were as clear as sunshine. I spent a few days and returned. Now, they know that I am a medical doctor, the greatest shock of their lives and the biggest news of heartbreak.
My relationship with Catherine grew into the obvious. Her parents had no problem with us being together. Well, according to her, her parents had actually been hoping we would get together. As to how and why they would first of all accept a man they never knew and now liked him to marry their daughter is still a mystery to some extent. As for my family members, their thoughts became like a two-edged sword: how did I get such a charming beauty to come into my life? And why would such an elegant lady of class and brains accept no other man but me? These questions continued to puzzle them until they realised I was a medical doctor.
Well, I could not blame them. I was a nobody as they knew me. But she was a gorgeous princess by all standards. How they knew me—my background and my personality magnetising such a beauty was a real life paradox. They failed to realise that one does not remain the same forever and that when the grace of God guards you, even troubles propel you to success.
Well, now, nothing really matters. The wishes of two sets of parents and two hearts have been fulfilled. I am a medical doctor and a learned individual that many in my village look up to, the wish of my father. And Catherine is married to me happily, the wish of her parents. We are both happy together in our marriage and in our respective professions, our wish. The night in a day in my village sent me away and I am back with the light of the day.