English they say is dynamic. From my part of the world, I wouldn’t dare wine or dine in a much more “classic” restaurant. It’s not to say I cannot do that but judging from my financial situation now, I’d rather buy my waakye from Auntie Merie’s crooked table across the next street down the lane. Afterwards I will just get 20 pesewas special ice sachet water to push down the remaining particles from my throat. What I’m I talking about? Yes I received an invitation to attend a workshop in Kumasi which after a careful thought I honored. Since it was an invitation, I assumed he who invited me will take care of my expenses. Moreover he is white-skinned so I need not to worry. After all what is cedi to a dollar man? I thought and smiled.
“Hello Kandey, I talked to Frank about you coming with us to Kumasi. So he’s making reservations for you as well” he said to me over the phone. So need I still ask him if I’m supposed to take care of my expenses? Well I didn’t ask to go with them. He invited me! So he should.
I was really excited because I’m that type with itchy feet. The last time I went to Kumasi I was in character for One Ghana Production. I can’t remember the exact town we performed at but it was exciting.
After four hours of driving, we got to Adum at ‘2 pm. There were five of us. The driver, Frank and his secretary, Naa, the inviter and myself. We lodged at the Kumasi Catering Rest House. It has a quite serene environment. Good enough for the middle upper class. I was shown room 14.
“That’s for you” frank said to me. I brimmed with light of joy. I couldn’t help but to say ‘thank you’ silently.
I stood under a mango tree enjoying its shade and I got interrupted. Although I can’t wholly remember what I heard but I understood it as I’m paying for the room that I’ve been shown. A night in a single bedroom costs 160 cedis. “What arrangement have I made? He calmly questioned.“Naamutu!” I exclaimed inwardly. With my face like gathered clouds ready to unleash a dread storm “well I..I..I…didn’t know I’ve to take cost of my stay here. Moreover I don’t have any money with me” I stammered.
“So what are you going to do?” he asked. “I..I..I’ve to make a call” still stammering.
“Silly girl who are you going to call? “ A voice quietly asked me. If I had forcefully vocal an alphabet at that moment, Ghana would’ve discovered River Densu, the second. “Look at me and talk” he said looking at my heavy face. I raised my head but I failed to look straight. My face dropped.
As if that was not enough he continued. “You’ve only one option. To save cost, I’ll reserve a doubled bed for you and I or you’ll pay for single bed alone. What do you say?”
I shook my head in disbelieve and said no. Meanwhile the money I had was just 20 cedis. The last money I cashed from my mobile money wallet the night before. “Is this what I’m going to make payments with?” I soliloquy. The next minute I was talking to Waqil in Hausa. “Hello Waqil, I’m really stacked. I told you where I was going right? Yes there is a problem…” I ended the call slowly and melancholy. Anyway I tried before dying. I became heavier. I lost all excitements and my dearer smiles. I didn’t know who else to reach again. I scrolled my contacts list and realized how helpless I was.
It was lunch time. Frank, who is a mental health nurse, came with Naa and asked if I had checked my room. I only nodded. “Well there is a change of plan, Kandey. You will stay with Naa in the doubled bedroom” he stated excitedly.
“Allahu Aqbar!” my inviter shouted. His name is Waheed. “Allah is so good. You’re saved”
All of a sudden I felt like gnashing him but I tried and put on a smile which undoubtedly was weak. My spirit broke for many reasons. I was choked in thoughts.
We sat ourselves at the restaurant. The waiting man brought five menu booklets and placed it in front of each one of us. “No I’m definitely not going to touch this book no matter what. In fact I cease to be hungry. I can’t buy any of these foods not even red red.” With my arms folded I looked straight and became reserved.
“What would you want” the waiting man asked me. That was when I realized everyone was waiting for me to make my order for us to be served together. I smiled and shook my skull. Frank thought I don’t know what to eat so he joked if he should chose for me. I told him I was okay. Everyone cracked. Obviously Frank didn’t know what went on hours ago between Waheed and I. Ah well, finally I voiced loudly inertly “noodles”. I love noodles. The next person sitting to me heard what I said as if I was being strangled.
“Which noodles do you want? Spaghetti, noodles with chicken or beef, noodles with assorted meat and vegetables” queried the waiter.
“Noodles with assorted meat and vegetables” it sounds good to my hearing. I believed it’ll taste better than every noodle I’ve ever tasted. I thought so I chose.
Three minutes the others’ food came and after 10 my assorted meat and vegetables was ready. I starred at the food for some time and I came to know the difference between “invitations and invitations” if a white says to you ‘ I invite you’ please don’t just smile and widen your arms in acceptance. Ask him or her anyebiyaa what kind is it, the free or the priced one.
Eventually Waheed paid for everyone’s lunch and I got to sleep in the doubled bedroom, ALONE.
Don’t ask me how because I’m still wondering how myself.