Thursday, January 26, 2012


She hails from Walewale up north
But here her present future falls
At the bustling feet of Accra land-

Capital city! City of capital
Did she know it's not easy out here?
Did she care?

Her name so bold, tattooed on her arm's shaft-
"Rukaya Dargati"
Two vertical tribal marks- one on each cheek
Serve as trenches for her tears
Bloody pains seep through her firm hand-shake
She holds on a bit longer
She wants to tell a story
Of the pains more intense than a twin's childbirth
But to whom?
In what language?

Life bleeds through the 'lele' in her palms
Raped and trafficked
Each day is spent with burden
Weaving her way through dense traffic
Like a rough needle through a dry stack of hay
Her aim- to put jam in lumpy slices of stale bread
And 'waakye' on the plate for her little kindred
Without fathers,
One loosely bundled at her back
Without covers..

A ball of load every moment fractures her tender neck-
That's the nature of her work
Only support is her raggy 'mayaafi' fold..
Her words write letters of hardship and poverty
Soaking in the rains at night on a table outside
After shop-owners close their gates of comfort
Enthusiasm in her eyes, but opportunity flies
While counting each tasbar bead, she wonders if Allah counts
Rubbing shea butter on the cracks underlining her feet,
She weeps without a sound

Suddenly, a thundering scream pierces her eardrums
"Herh!Kayayo, wo b3 y33 ejuma anaa s3 wo b3 b)) life?"
(Are you here to work or dress to look good?)
Another customer beckons
"wo be tumi afa wei?"
(Can you carry this)
Lowering herself, she sombrely tips the cargo at her feet, twice her size
With the sound of rolling drums,
Her tummy rumbles with hunger as she slowly replies:
"Mepawots3o ehh" (Please yes!)

*kayayo- porter(s) in busy cities of Ghana

(c) 25/01/2012 KW


  1. a story well told.
    i feel sad anytime i see these young ladies with innocent kids strapped to their backs.
    the things they carry are incredible in size and i can only imagine the emotional baggage they carry and the emotional scars they bear.