19th July 2024

CAN HE GO TO APAM?

For a few people who are close to me, they have heard about how I intend giving this Title a whole chapter, should I ever publish a memoir about me.

Some concerned friends have also advised against putting it in the public domain. Those who give this advice, come from two schools of thought.
1. That it could mar the beautiful friendship I have with the main character in this story (should I call him the antagonist?- Well the General Art and Literature students can give it whatever name they want).
2. The second school of thought come from the background that in this our vicious political space, the truth can sometimes be used against you if you decide to step into the public space and they doubt it is something I would want to entangle myself with.

But after giving all the advice some thought, I felt may be I can highlight on this topic (could be inspiring or annoying, depending on how you look at it).

Scene 1: At the well…

It was a Friday morning, and I had returned home for my first mid-term holidays as a student of Apam Secondary School. For those of us who lived at Akyem Oda PWD Camp (Don’t let the name camp deceive you, it is not an estate, is one of the places which qualify to be called slum or Zongo), our main source of water was the pile of wells clustered near where Aunty Mansa sells her Banku and Konkonte.

That side of the community was busy every morning with the young and old all moving to fetch water to fill their various barrels. Between 5am and 7:30am was the ‘market time’ for particularly school going kids and workers.
But there was also the ‘big boys and girls’ who fetch water after 8am to avoid all the noise and cacophony during the ‘rush hour’. And you are always certain that gospel diva Eva Kyerewaa Kingful mother would not open her well early, same as this woman (forgotten her name) who had a slim daughter and her well was on top of a hill. Thus, you will still get clean water (in fact, the clearest of water) even if you go late and that’s why the ‘big guys’ always go late. Indeed, as the Biblical cliche goes, the best wine is served late and so is the ‘water on the hill’.

It was my first home visit from Secondary School and is done in our part, you are given some respect in the house when you attend secondary school. So mum, out of that respect, and knowing that I was tired the previous night juggling through trotro on that terrible Apam-Dawurampong-Agona Swedru-Akyem Oda road decided to let me rest and join the ‘big guys’ later in the morning for the water.
Unlike these days, in our days, we didn’t have many branded attire from school. For us at Apam Secondary, we only had the house jersey, our usual school cloth (which we had named Ɔbrapa from the school’s motto-Ɔbrapa Gya Owura Kwan) and our anniversary cloth which was used for special events.

It was barely four weeks when school resumed and we had to go for midterm break and so we (the fresh students) had not been given our various attire, except the house jersey.
I was (officially) in house 1 (unofficially in House 2) and so my jersey colour was Yellow(House two uses blue).
To show off that I am now in the Secondary School, I wore the house jersey to go and fetch that water (a very terrible mistake, by the time I was done filling my mum’s barrels, the new house jersey was a pale shadow of itself. I then understand why the elder ones had a special dress that they wore whenever they are going to the well to fetch water).

Like I indicated earlier, it was around 9, so there was less noise at the well. Indeed, at the time I got there, there were only two people fetching water, my friend and his kid sister. Well, at the time, he wasn’t really my friend. I had never talked to him, I didn’t even know his name or who he was and it was for a good reason, he wasn’t the kind who mingled with those of us the ‘useless’ guys at PWD camp who were always causing trouble at Ahmed’s game centre or Dada (I guess the name is Dawuda or something) Table Tennis area.
I just greeted them and started fetching my water. Then the kid sister asked, astonishingly, “Are you now in Apam” which I answered in the affirmative.
And then followed the bombshell “This guys who walks around this area, selling paste and brush, CAN HE GO TO APAM?”
He added, “is this probably not for a big brother of his?”
End of scene 1…
Scene two will be a flashback….
#SayItRight

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