Knowing who I really was now, I took a final resolution to embrace the new world I was entering into. The life of luxury I once enjoyed had all vanished like a lit candle in the wind. With Aunty Ama as my pivot, I became eager to put on an armour and fight life with the last drop of my blood.
Three days later, she enrolled me in a different school with the little money she had saved. I could not have gone back to my old school because the fees were too expensive for her to shoulder. I fully understood her decision because she could have done more if she had the means. She also used the amount left to establish herself in petty trading. Ever since I came to know who I truly was, my quest to study hard and excel academically had gone beyond what it used to be.
After school, I would usually join her at Market to help her sell foodstuffs. I worked hard without entertaining shyness. Sometimes, some of my school mates who did not understand the dynamics of life would see me selling at the market place and pull my legs but I shoved off their disparaging comments. At times, I engaged them in fist-fight when their disturbing remarks became too unbearable for me. By dint of hard work in academics and the efforts of a spiritually zealous aunty Ama, I passed my Basic Education Certificate Examination with distinction and emerged as the best performing student in the whole district.
Aside from that, I gained admission into one of the best secondary schools in the region. Subsequently, the district assembly offered me a scholarship that would cater for almost everything in school. On receiving the award in a short ceremony during the country’s independence day celebration, aunty Ama could not contain her joy as she proudly danced and carried me at her back. Getting funds to send me to secondary had been on her radar for long.
The day I was preparing to set off to begin a new life in a newly gotten academic environment, she woke me up that very dawn and offered me a piece of emotional advice: “Dzimeyor, I am really proud of you for putting up a strong resistance against the beasty side of life. You have done very well. However, I urge you to continue to be very respectful, humble, Hardworking and teachable. Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by bad peers. You must remember where you come from. If through your carelessness and change of behavior something bad happens to you, life will be very difficult for us once again. So please take care of yourself and learn hard to make me and your late adoptive parents proud”
I thanked her earnestly and gave her my word. I assured her of my commitment to ensure happiness and joy visited our lives once again. Soon, day broke as darkness gently disappeared. I got all set, shared a short prayer her and off I went to my new school. I had the opportunity of being a boarder. Aunty Ama did her best to support me with all the needed provisions and other items on the prospectus list. In secondary school, I never laxed on my duty to study hard.
Due to my morally upright nature, I gained the admiration of most of the teachers and my peers. I continued working hard to make my dream come into reality until I completed secondary school. The day I finished writing my last paper, I stepped out of the exam hall to hug aunty Ama who was by then waiting to pick me home. She held a cylindrical container containing a powdery substance in it. She poured the substance on my head to signify that I was victorious. Some of my mates among the large crowd of students gathered also joined the celebration.
Life after secondary school was full of work. I fully participated in the running of aunty Ama’s petty business which was doing well though at times things didn’t go as expected. Sometimes, I carried the items of customers to the lorry station or their private cars and got some tips. I used the knowledge acquired in school as a business student to draw a lot of customers to the admiration of Aunty Ama and nearby sellers.
One day, something surprising happened. It was very hot in the afternoon. The scorching sun had compelled me to double my steps.. I had assisted a customer in carrying her tubers of yam to the station so was then returning back to the market. While jostling my way through the crowd, I heard my name being called from afar. I turned and saw a gentleman in suit who was standing about two hundred meters away from where I stopped. I moved closer and to my amazement, it was Mr Sosu. He was my adoptive father’s lawyer. He was so happy to see me.
From our short discussion, he told me he had been looking for me for the past five years but to no avail. He continued that the family of Mr Amenyo had occupied the house and wanted to take over all the properties. In my mind, I cared less because I shared no blood relations with them. He revealed to me that after the funeral Mr and Mrs Amenyo, he was to read a WILL but my absence made it impossible to do so. Despite the pressure and threats received from Mr Amenyo’s family he stood on his grounds.
To prevent them from illegally taking over the other properties, he filed a case in court and was given the nod to place an injunction on the other properties till I was found. The whole thing sounded like a tale to me. I told him whom I was staying with and led him to Aunty Ama. On hearing this, she became elated. He asked us to meet him at his office in the following three days.
When the appointed time arrived, we went to the office to see him at the exact time he gave us. In attendance were the family members of Mr Amenyo. They all frowned immediately they saw me and even ignored Aunty Ama’s greetings
Without wasting of much time, the lawyer proceeded to read the will. The contents were so shocking that it led to an atmosphere of clamor at the office. Mamaga, whose anger had reached its peak rained insults on the lawyer and vaguely accused him of scheming things in my favour. The other family members joined in to cause confusion there. Interestingly, the object of their displeasure seemed relaxed and unfazed as they ranted and whined.
Finally, they left the office with threats of seeking redress at the court. It appeared that all the properties of The Amenyo family – – the two companies, the cars, lands and his four additional houses in lease – – were all willed to me. The only person that got a piece of land was Mamaga. No other member received a pesewa, hence their frustrations. Aunty Ama thanked the lawyer and we left the office with joy. A week later, we left for the inherited official residence where I had once tasted a good life. We toured all the properties I had inherited. I also had interactions with the managers and workers of the two companies on the way forward for the enterprise. All these were done under the guidance of Aunty Ama.
To make matters more palatable, my final examination result was released and as usual, I came out with flying colors. On top of that, I gained admission to pursue Business administration at the University of Ghana, Legon for four years. A day before I set off to the university, I was packing my items when I heard someone knock the gate. I quickly went and opened. It was a woman in her late fifties. She looked haggard and weak. She wore a tattered cloth with a wrinkled face. When she saw me, she gave me a smile. She requested to see my mother. I led her to Aunty Ama who was seeing a film on tv. She was offered a seat and told us of her mission.
“My name is Habiba from Yendi,” she began. “Many years ago, I came to Accra to seek greener pastures and got impregnated by my then boyfriend, who denied the pregnancy. Life was unbearable for me as it became very difficult to feed myself and the baby after I gave birth. Being a ” Kayayo”, making ends meet was the task of a lifetime. I had only one cover cloth given to me by a kind market woman which I used as a mat for my baby and me. My baby was always at the mercy of the weather. One day, the three-month-old baby got sick and on the verge of dying when one kind woman came to my rescue by giving me money to send the baby to the hospital. The woman was a regular customer. After the baby was treated and discharged, life continued to be a torn on my flesh. The woman who had helped me save the life of my baby made a proposal to me that I should offer her the baby for a huge sum of money which I readily did. She gave me the direction to her house where I was instructed to place the baby and disappear and this is the house where I left the baby. Now, I have come to see my baby whom I assume is a grownup man because I have just a few months to live. I have been diagnosed of cancer and so my life on this earth is numbered.”
After making this startling revelation, I exchanged a surprised look with aunty Ama and she nodded repeatedly. The hall was engulfed in loud silence. The visitor folded her arms and bent her head in sorrow. Nobody could speak as Aunty Ama and I kept exchanging glances in amazement.
I played all that she said and never felt any rancor for how my life went. I stood and without a word, hugged my mother. I had lost one but gained another. My mother was home.