Penniless and Barefooted

I got up early the next morning before the clatter and clutter of the day set in. With dust on the hair and face, and still shivering from the early morning cold, tears begun flowing freely down my cheeks as Mama’s thoughts overpowered me. I thought of my two other siblings. Patricia was now with her British father in London. Cecelia her Chinese father in Taipei. Mama, alone in Ghana.

Playing the devil’s advocate, I asked my self:

“Who is my Dad.”

“Why am I so dark?”

“Why didn’t Mama choose a white man to be my Dad?”

“At least, I would have also been somewhere outside Africa by now.”

I was so immersed in my thoughts that I didn’t realize my shoes, my purse and the grey traveling bag that contained all that I had, were all gone! I had taken off my only shoes and made them into a pillow. Now, I wondered how someone could manage to push me over and take them away.

“How could life be so cruel?” I asked my self.

 I was now left penniless and barefooted. And despite the fact that I was still in a sister African country, I knew I wasn’t welcome. The Togolese knew I was a foreigner, and I was painfully aware of that. I was heading toward Nigeria—another foreign land. It was now 10 a.m. in the morning. I was supposed to have embarked on my journey to Nigeria. But nothing left on me, I had no choice but remain seated where I was—like a forlorn child, hoping someone would notice me.

“How long will I be staying here, a day or two, three days or more?” Everywhere, there were streams of people finding original ways to survive—second-hand clothes shacks and rickety vegetable stands; wooden cabinets—filled with cheap imported Chinese goods—behind which whispered price-setting over everything being sold. There were also shoe shine boys and shoe repairers soliciting work by keeping an eye on the feet of passers-by.

Fifty meters from there, ragged men with sickly yellowed faces treaded through trash and wastewater to the junkie slums of this African city’s main drain—a pit of filth and disease where cocaine from nearby Ghana and other neighboring countries sold like chocolate candy. Here and there, the streets swarmed with African mini-traders patronizing cheap Chinese imports like flies with their heads cut off. I wondered what the long-term economic cost to Africa would be.

To be continued…