Politician Man

Politician man with that gentle face

You pat children and give babies piggyback rides

It does not matter that you failed to account for some public funds

That money could have built a road to my house

Well, you are a nice man so you must be a good man

Why are you worried? I will vote for you

 

Politician man with that awesome smile

You greet your elders and have a nice word for everyone

Since you came to power, you have acquired so many houses

I do not know how you managed that with your lawful salary

Well, you are a humble man so you must be a good man

Why are you worried? I will vote for you

 

Politician man with that solemn look

You always allude to Allah in your speeches

And swear that you have his full backing in whatever you do

I do not know how your virtues will put food on my table

Well, you are a religious man so you must be a good man.

Why are you worried? I will vote for you

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Twa me selfie

I was deep asleep today when I was woken by my brother.

Him: Niena, come and take a picture of me.I want to capture my smashing look today.

Me: Dude, you are so selfish. Seriously?! You woke me up just to take a picture of you when it could have waited another time? (I could have gone on about what a narcissist he is but I was too sleepy)

We went out , I took a couple of shots and finally,

Him: The pictures are not turning out well so I’ll just take a selfie.

Me:                                                                 Screaming-woman

 

Let’s Talk About Teachers

Teachers….I have had a lot of memories with the teachers that I have met in the course of my education.

I remember one nursery teacher so well. I don’t even remember her name but I know that I loved her so so much. This is a big deal because I really am not that expressive about how much I care for people. She taught me so many rhymes and I particularly remember this song, “White sand and gray sand. Who will buy my white sand? Who will buy my gray sand?” I also remember the Christmas carols that she also taught me especially “Once in royal David’s city stood a lonely cattle shed.” It was the December that she taught us this carol and while we were in the week we were to vacate, she got this painful boil on her face. I don’t know how it happened but I also felt this pain in the same spot on my face. It felt as if I was sharing her pain and I remember praying so hard to God to make her get better.

The next teacher is my Class One teacher. She hated me. I knew I was not her favourite from the first day that I walked into her class because I had already flunked the entry exams. How did I know that she hated me? She never cut me any slack the way she used to do other classmates. I survived that class because I was afraid to incur her wrath. I could not read in Class One and my fear of her caused me to learn to read so quickly. The strangest thing that she did that I cannot seem to quite understand until this day is that she sent me to buy snacks for her once and when I brought them to her, she asked me to eat them. It is one of those scenes in my lifetime that I would like to replay if I ever have the opportunity.

There was this teacher named Joyce who was left-handed that I met in Class Five and Six. I felt so sorry for her because she seemed lonely. She told us that she lived in school and only slept at a house for the night and that her home was the school. She really made me understand the distinction between a house and a home. I had assumed everyone was happy going back to the place they spent their nights. Joyce’s sister whom she was sharing a house with was always away studying in school so she was mostly alone. I really wished I had met the sister to tell her to reconsider her living arrangement with Joyce.

Then there was Mr. Adjah, a very simple and interesting man. He taught me Pre-Technical Skills in JHS. I think that the best thing that I learnt from him is that learning is not always about reading books in order to pass exams. He used to constantly tell us that we could flip through books and just look at pictures and that would also count.  I find that this also works for me. Sometimes, when I need to warm up, I just flip through the pages of my books and get inspired to read the books. Also the graphic images help me recall things that I have learnt.

In SHS One and Two, I had Mr. Aggrey for Maths. That man was a terror. He whipped us with canes once and this got me angry because I did not believe that any teacher could do that in senior high school. He would write his notes on the board and we would copy them. After, we would fold our arms and watch him explain how he arrived at the answers. Many thought that his method was close to rote learning but surprisingly, they worked for me. I had barely survived Maths in JHS but Mr. Aggrey made me feel that somehow I might have the knack for the subject.

Mr. Tackie….hmmmm…..what a teacher! He taught us how to do magic with Maths.  He walked us step by step to also derive Mathematical formulas. Mr. Tackie…. what can I say about him? He made me consider doing Maths at the tertiary level even though I had sworn to hate Maths forever. That man was good. He left Ghana for further studies in the USA. I don’t know if he will come back to Ghana and if he will continue teaching but blessed are all students who meet Mr. Tackie. I still have a picture of him after his postgraduate studies in his gown.  Maybe the picture inspires me or maybe it is with some sadness that I look at it.

Do I want to be a teacher? Maybe. There is something noble about that profession. It is something about guiding people and watching people grow and seeing them reach for the stars. May Allah bless all teachers and I am not just talking about the school teachers!

 

 

I was not invited

You tell me that I should give praise and lift my arms.

You tell me that I should smile and dance.

You tell me that things will get better

But how can I do all these things?

You can say that because you are seated around a table

With dishes of happiness and wealth and wisdom

And other things good.

I am standing outside watching you from the window

And I can understand why you tell me such things.

How I would love to sit at that table

And also do the things that you say that I should do

But I was not invited.

… and I lifted my head

It was a Saturday evening and I found myself in a trotro headed home. The bus felt small and as if that was not enough a woman came in with her two children. She seemed angry already because she had to squeeze her children and luggage to get to the back seat. She succeeded in getting her children a seat so that there were four people with their butts on the three-seater chair. We all were uncomfortable because of the woman. I could not move around. That was stroke one. She was fidgeting and moving her bag around so her elbows were constantly coming into contact with parts of my body. That was stroke two. She seemed very agitated so I wondered why she was doing things to work me up too. That was stroke three.

I lifted my head and saw that the person in front of me was going through the same predicament. Oh! Poor us, I thought. The bus started moving and I looked out of the window. The conductor started taking his money and I looked for my purse and lifted my head to give him the money. It was then that I saw that the person in front of me had shiny curly hair. I thought it interesting and I felt like doing a little mischief by asking the owner if it was artificial or natural.

I didn’t and after taking my change went back to staring out of the window. I was also thinking about a drama I was watching and how I loved the plot. The love story was so fairytale-like and I thought about the stories of married people around me and somehow concluded that fairytale-like love stories will never happen to me or happen to people around me.

A couple of people got down from the vehicle and the bus waited at the stop for a long time. I lifted my head to find the cause of the delay.  It was then again that I noticed that the back of the head of the guy in front of me was really nice. He was also looking out of the window and I could see the stylish glasses that he was wearing. The side of his face was also nice and somehow I found myself thinking about the kind of person he would be. I found myself staring at the back of his head several times trying to see if I could get a full facial view until the bus neared my stop.

I had lost my voice and trying to call out to the conductor to make a stop at the next bus stop above the music in the car was proving futile. The guy in front of me called out to the conductor several times and finally mentioned the name of the stop. When we got to the stop, the guy again alerted the conductor because he did not signal the driver to stop. He was so passionate in the calls that I thought he was also getting down at the bus stop. Finally, the bus stopped and my sitting partner had to move herself or children so that I could get off the bus. The guy gestured to the children to come and sit with him. Hmmm, so he was not getting off. As I walked past him, I thought it was a charming thing that he did for me in fighting for me to get home without stress and for the woman’s children. I looked at him to thank him and that was when I saw his face. What a handsome man! As I walked home, I could not help smiling because I felt that a fairytale-like thing had just happened to me.

We lived happily ever after; he in some part of Ghana I do not know and I wondering how I saw things differently anytime that I looked up and believing that fairytale-like stories happen everywhere. It is all about how we package experiences for other people to feel.

 

Not a Dot (Part III)

By Niena and Cecil

contd. from Not a Dot (Part II)

She asks, ‘How old are you?’ Before I can hit my memory bank for my default answer, she interrupts this process and goes on, ‘Are you feeling hot?’ while she unhooks two of her top buttons on her sky blue blouse which goes well with her black skirt. ‘The top surface of her boobs and the left strap of her blue bra are really getting ventilated,’ I tell myself. At this point, I am wondering why she asked for my age. I know she can easily look it up in the student records. Besides, I turned 17 and a half not long ago.

She goes behind her swivel chair to lower the curtains to shut the main source of light in the room and begins walking towards me. Half way through her journey she says, ‘Your essay caught me off guard.’

I think to myself again,’So are you right now.’

She goes on, ‘Do you truly believe…’She does the quote hand gesture ‘… women can help improve our standards of living if they get very involved in politics like they own the kitchen?’

I stutter, ’I-I-think that it’s-ss-possible, b …’

She jumps in, ‘but … they are waiting to be handed the platform.’ She picks up my essay and starts to read a portion she has highlighted in green as she tries sitting completely on the portion of her desk which is close to me, with her legs not so close. I have a rare view of her cocoa butter oiled thighs and Darth Vader black underpants. Before I can take my eyes off that view she has already finished reading and is staring at me. I wonder how long I was hypnotized. In embarrassment, I apologize. She shakes her head and takes off her Ray-ban frames, drops it on her desk and starts to fix her braids into a ponytail. In the middle of tying the ponytail she rhetorically asks, ‘You believe in equality, fairness and justice?’ I nod to affirm. She continues, ‘You also think gender doesn’t affect the ability to do anything, huh?’ She ends this statement with her index finger tapping her small nose. She squats, slowly crawls her hands to my hip. She starts moving her hand towards my belt buckle and cautions, ‘If you happen to feel uncomfortable, let me know.’ Just like that. You would think “let me know” is the pass phrase to getting my flaccid at attention. When she sees the sudden rise of “Sparta”, I am ashamed, but I am relieved when her face grows a smirk. She slowly alters her words as she unbuckles my belt ‘To… urrmmm… help change or adjust the view of a person or a community, theories… and abstracts don’t always cut it. Sometimes experiences can make a sharp deep contribution to enlightenment.’ She finally drops her knees on the carpet, locks eyes with me for some seconds and then, attempts to pull my shorts towards my knees. I have to elevate a little bit because obeying the moment is my only option even though I am mad confused about what is happening.

After my shorts go past my knees, she marches her index and middle finger on my attentive soldier making her way towards the opening in my briefs. Out of nowhere I whisper, ‘I am going to pee, I am going to pee …’ My voice gets louder. She quickly gets up and covers my mouth with her right hand. Like that is going to stop me from peeing. I feel weird sensations for some time and a thicker fluid than usual stain my briefs in weird explosions from my comrade. When I return to reality after that quick trip, she is leaning on her desk with her bum, looking at me curiously. ‘Do you want to be excused?’ She asks politely with her right eyebrow raised.

I feel so rock bottom that I don’t care anymore. I reply, ‘Yes.’ I get up, pull my shorts up and buckle it tight. I make my way to the door. At this point, I feel some form of fear creeping up. I swiftly unlock the door without looking back. I step out and rush to the nearest washroom to dry this pee off. Lord! It smells funny.

Hmmm, what a day!

Not a Dot (Part II)

By Niena and Cecil

contd. from Not a Dot (Part I)

The week starts and I submit my work and I try to fit in.  One of my classmates has got this wonderful new hairdo with a knee length navy blue sleeveless dress. She also has these gorgeous high heeled red sandals. She really looks elegant and so classy. I eye her behind my sunglasses. Everyone is telling her, ‘Rita, you look so beautiful and different this morning’ but I don’t say anything to her. After my first class, I am standing near the door waiting for one of my friends when Rita walks to the door. ‘Everyone complemented me on my looks except you.’  I grin sheepishly. Is everyone trying to tell her that she has not looked beautiful on the previous days? I should say something but I am tired of following rules and norms just because they are the way things are done.

‘Did you change your hairdresser?’ I ask. ‘Don’t go back to the old one. The braid jobs she did for you were awful.’ That’s it. I just gave her a good tip. She narrows her eyes at me. Maybe it’s not good advice after all. Before she can say anything, there is a ping on my phone so I check it. I have an email from one of my teachers to see her.  More people make for the door and Ms. Looking Elegant and Classy Today ends up brushing me lightly as she scrambles outside. I want to pretend that I did not feel her butt brush me. I look up and she is looking back at me with a twinkle in her eyes which leaves me wondering if I shouldn’t try charming her from her boyfriend too. Is this what I get for being frank? Maybe being a nonconformist is not so bad after all.

In the afternoon, I make my way lazily to the teacher’s office. She is the one who gave us that political-kind-like essay which I am sure I am going to fail. Another visitor is just leaving her office. I greet her and take up her invitation to take a seat. ‘I read your essay about five times,’ she says. ‘I am referring to the last assignment.’ What could it mean when your teacher has read your essay five times? She walks up to the office door which is open and closes it. Did I hear her locking the door too? She walks back to me and sits on her table so that she is close to me. I look into her large dark intense eyes. I swallow hard.