By: Eileen Dapaah
*Excerpt from Under the Ghana Sun
I can feel the warmth of the sun attempting to pry my eyes open like a bolted door, but my attempts to open my eyes prove useless.
“Oh my gosh, I’m blind… I’m blind aren’t I? my eyes!” I scream.
At this point, I brace myself for life as a blind lady, “You’re still pretty Nana… You’re still… Wait, what if I’m actually ugly now and I can’t even see it?! Oh, Awurade!”
I continue weeping until I feel a cold wind; a dark cloud blocks the sun rays from my face.
“You are not blind, at least not yet,” said a squeaky voice.
A familiar voice. “I tied a blindfold on you to protect your eyes from the bright sun.”
As the squeaky voice spoke, every hair on my body stood in formation like soldiers.
I attempt to get up from the ground. Shift. Wiggle, wiggle. Squirm. Fart.
“You farted,” she said. “Sorry… I had red beans for dinner last night… Beans make me gassy… Uhmm… I feel kind of…” Before I could finish she continued, “tied up?” I responded quickly, “yea, exactly!”
The coldness grew closer and a hand pressed against my head and began to untie the blindfold. “Ahhh, my gosh, the sun is too bright!” I uttered as I shielded my face from the abusive sun, which was nothing compared to her abusive breath. “Hmm.” She groaned! I knew that groan was too familiar: then I realized it was the voice of the million-year-old lady. Ok, wait… She can walk well, she’s still alive… I’ll cut her some slack- the million-year-old lady.
“You’re the one that told me it was raining,” I blurted. She began to untie me, “and it rained, did it not?” She asked. “But how did you know?” I questioned. As the ropes fell she began to step back, “an elder can see more kneeling than a child could ever see standing,” she uttered.
I stood after laying on the ground for so long. I sense my butt is flatter than its ever been, not that I was working with much before. My bride price takes another hit, I think to myself. “Why did you tie me?” I asked. I dusted myself off and cleaned off as much of the dried mud as I could. Nothing? She’s not going to say anything?! I thought! This old tarantula looking… But before I could even finish thinking of my very befitting insult, my eyes traced the grass to big black boots. 1, 2, 5, 8? I slowly look up and see 4 men dressed in tribal wear standing in front of me. Their muscular bodies were dignifiably covered with cloths that looked like animal skin. Scarification marks littered their bodies like plastic litters our streets. “Uhmm, what’s going on?!” I scream. I begin backing up. Boom! I fall to the ground after hitting what feels like a solid tree.
I get up quickly and turn to run, but my stomach immediately turns to knots and my legs turn to Indomie noodles when I turn to see another group of 4 men behind me.
“Please, please… If you’re going to use me for rituals, I think you should know…” But before I could plead my case to this jury of sakawa looking boys, they began to kneel- one by one. Man by man. Faces to the ground, prostrate before me. “You have come,” said a deep rich voice. “Uhmm… Listen, I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m supposed to be at school.. And I’m sure by now, they’re…”
but just like that, I was cut off by another deep tenor voice.
“Your name is not Nana, you are Neeyara, Ohemaa Yara, Queen to her people,” proclaimed one of the tribal men.
Queen? What the heck are these men talking about? They must have smoked something, or drank cough syrup. WAIT, how did he know my name? My mind wandered.
“Hmmm,” screeched the old rattly lady. “Young Queen, it isn’t by chance that you stumbled into those woods. But take a look around you,” she suggested.
I began to really look around, I was no longer in that strange forest- I was in a village, the most sophisticated village I had ever seen- it felt like I had arrived at a resort. The dirt grounds were somehow clean looking- the grass that surrounded was greener than I knew green could even be. The air smelled fresh and clean. I heard children and people enjoying in the background, and my eyes beheld animals roaming freely. A little pool was beside me, and many huts behind one big mansion of a hut, if there is such a thing. “Where am I?” I asked in amazement.
“Welcome to, 3nframaa Kingdom, the land of the wind,” said the old lady as she knelt before me. The sun fell on me illuminating my chocolate complexion. There was a warmth to this kingdom, this place. But the old lady’s presence still remained cold. She peaked up to look at me, as my wandering eyes surveyed the land- our eyes met and she smiled, but I couldn’t return the gesture. Queen or not, as beautiful as this place seemed- something was off.