© The Klever Magg
Maya was up before the cockcrow the next morning.
She could not wait to set her plans in motion.
With little light from the moon, she prepared the delicious toasted bread and sobolo drink.
She put the toasted bread in customized envelopes and packed them in an airtight food warmer. She bottled the sobolo in small containers and packed them in an ice chest.
She cleaned up her surrounding and got her son and herself ready for her first day at work.
She set off to market her food after a quick prayer. She stopped at the shop on the way to pick up the ice cubes she had ordered for the sobolo drink.
Maya was very enthusiastic. She knew she had taken the first step to making it big in this world.
However, things did not go as planned.
Maya walked for quite some time and no one seem to notice her.
She realized the labourers for the various construction sites had not reported for work that day. The area was so quiet that it was as if there weren’t any residents around.
Maya still forged on with hope.
She roamed for hours. She moved from street to street, house to house but she did not sell even a piece of the toasted bread she had woken up at the crack of dawn to make.
She felt so downhearted.
Making the toasted bread burnt parts of her fingers but she endured it with the hope that somehow selling them would help her make some money to give her son a better life.
Maya had tears in her eyes as she rested under a mango tree. Her feet were sore from all the walking.
She learnt that most of the houses were empty during the day. People who lived there were mostly rich and hardly bought food from outside. They had house helps and maids who cooked and washed and did virtually everything in the houses.
She played with various options to break through and decided she was going to try the same area for a week and if things did not improve, move to other parts of the city to see if she could make it work.
She needed to make it work. She had to succeed to prove her worth and enjoy a better life. She was not going to give up. She would try till there was nothing new to try.
She went by the shop and placed the toasted bread in transparent bowls with lids and waited. Still nothing happened.
Eventually Maya gave some of the toasted bread to the kids of the provision store keeper next door and dashed the rest of the toasted bread and ‘sobolo’ to some school children that passed by that day.
The story for the next day was not different . She was able to sell only two toasted bread and five sobolo drink.
Maya tried for a week but still things did not improve.
There was no breakthrough. She walked for hours that week but only a few people patronized her toasted bread and sobolo. Maya stopped by a local school close to the area. The kids loved the sobolo and the toasted bread but the problem was they could not afford it.
Maya told herself she would not stop trying. She would never gave up no matter how tough the going got.
She took time and assessed her small business and played around various options in her mind.
She decided to try the lorry station nearby and then the market. She also decided to make the toasted bread in sizes to sell at different prices. She would also look for the ice cream rubber and package the sobolo with it so that the school children could afford it. She also resorted to selling tea, bread and omelet in the evenings.
She put her decisions into action the subsequent weeks and saw some improvement in sales.
She forged on and moved from market to market and lorry station to station and school to school. Gradually things picked up and she was making some money. Money that took care of their feeding, clothing and other necessities.
After a year Maya could afford a single room, a bed and some plastic chairs. She moved into her small room, the only decent accommodation she had enjoyed since she left Nurse Araba’s house and hoped to turn things around with perseverance.
Occasionally Maya visited Nurse Araba and went over to her house to help with cleaning every time her husband went away.
Nurse Araba was her guardian angel. She gave her a few pointers on how to run her business. Sometimes she took care of Maya’s son whilst she went hawking.
It became increasingly difficult for Maya to visit Nurse Araba when things picked up. She settled for seeing her a few Sundays when she was free to help her out.
Her husband eventually became very receptive of Maya and she was very happy by the turn of events.
He was extremely nice to her and her son. It therefore came as a great shock to Maya when he tried to have his way with her one of those days when Nurse Araba was out for a programme.
Maya told him point blank she could never betray the only person who had trusted and cared for her like no other. Uncle Kow Mensah, as she called him, tried to persuade her to give in with lots of promises and money but Maya vehemently refused.
“Look, I can take good care of you and your son. Araba will never find out.”
“I’m sorry, sir, but I can’t do that to the one person who has shown me love apart from my parents. I am not that kind of person. Please stop insisting.”
“Stop playing hard to get, Maya. Is it not money you are after? You stand to benefit a lot from this arrangement. I can buy a house for you in Takoradi and take care of all your needs. It will be our little secret. Your son would have a home and me to care for him.”
“No, please stop insisting. I won’t do that. I’ve never believed in relationships like that. Relationships with married men are off limits for me. That’s my resolve no matter what.”
“You are very stupid. That’s why you’ve ended up on the streets. You allow stupid boys to sleep with you. Boys who can’t take care of you, but you shun those who will give you a slice of paradise. “
Maya did not give in.
He entreated her to give it a thought since it would benefit her more if she were his secret mistress.
Episode 4 continues in the next post