Adventures of a Village Girl Episode 2
I arrived at the Kalu residence in the late evening
following a 9 hour long trip that was filled with stopping
and also traffic.
It was a tiring experience of many of the
passengers who had grown accustomed to this method
of movement but for I who had rarely ever left the
boundaries of my village it was exhilarating.
Everything was observed with the eye of a tourist, from
the pit stop we made four hours into the journey to the
mannerisms of people on the highways. The lady who I
was travelling with had introduced herself as Madam
Cecil while we sat at the pit stop. I was able to purchase
some water and plantain chips with a small portion of the
money given to me by my neighbours as a farewell gift,
and I noticed her eyes watching me while I ate slowly.
"You must be well behaved if you want anything good to
come to you, being sent packing will bring shame to you
and your mother," She said with a cautious tone as I
nodded, letting her words sink into my mind.
Travelling was interesting, from the wide road which was
sometimes tarred and sometimes bumpy. On each side of
the bus were tall green vegetation coated in dust with red
soil underneath and sometimes a group of houses would
appear signifying there was a community. I wondered how
people living in such a remote area could survive, and I
noticed how at several intervals especially where there
was traffic young and old people would rush after the cars
holding trays filled with goods such as plantain chips,
water and grilled meat.
It was plantain season, so plantain was the dominant
product being sold by these hawkers. I imagined what it
was like to be in their shoes, scurrying after cars and
standing at that interval while billows of thick black smoke
were blown from large trucks and dust was kicked up by
the several small cars. I took in their appearances, faded
clothing coated in dirt coupled with a determined facial
expression as they showed no signs of tiredness from
how chaotic the place was.
The pit stop the bus made was similar to this but with
slightly more order. There were several stalls, from a
large building with a restaurant to a smaller makeshift
restaurant under a canopy. Also around were stalls selling
clothing and jewellery, and a few men selling suya. We
mostly sat down in the makeshift restaurant, most going
into the building in order to access the toilet. Our bus
was just one amongst many as this was a well known
Once we were back on the road, I noticed as we went
through several cities, each one more exciting than the
other. One thing was constant however, the hustle and
bustle of the citizens. Crowds walked on both sides of the
road, some going to catch public transport in order to go
to their several destinations while others milled around
hawking goods balanced perfectly on their small heads.
I saw several buildings and companies, a welcome
change from the village setting which was scanty when it
came to buildings. Nothing could have prepared me for
the big city. Even though I'd seen the several cities we'd
gone past when we came to the large city the atmosphere
was different, the weather seemed to be different.
My face was pressed against the window and eyes wide
open as some passengers looked at me with amusement
because I barely could hold back my excitement. This
was the place I would have to grow accustomed to now.
My eyes darted in all directions taking in the mass that
was the city. We passed several tall buildings all in a row,
and I noticed that the way people dressed was different.
They mostly wore expensive looking, well looked after
clothing as they all rushed to their several directions. The
traffic was welcomed as it enabled me to take in my new
environment, to breathe the hectic city air which was
laced with fumes from cars in comparison to the fresh
breeze we got at the village. There were so many bright
signboards and dots of shops all over the place. I prayed
in my heart that I would be able to survive and move
forward in this foreign place.
The bus came to a park owned by the bus company and
parked as people alighted fast, ready to move to their next
destination. In a matter of minutes the bus was empty
and people were already claiming their luggages in a rush
as it was getting darker by the second. I slowly grabbed
my Ghana must go and placed it on my head while
walking briskly to catch up to Madam Cecil who was
already on her way.
We walked into a large crowd, as it was just after 6pm
and a multitude were still returning home. Black bodies
stood on the side of the road, hands out and eyes
working like that of a hawk in order to hail any public
transport they could get their hands on. In one corner was
a congregation of okada riders while on the main road
several congested keke napeps (tricycles), taxis and
buses came to pick up people.
Expertly hailing two motorcycles Madame Cecil ordered
me to get on one, and I balanced my bag on the space in-
between I and the driver while she also sat down
carefully. Her okada led the way as we zoomed through
the highly congested road, having to stop at intervals due
to heavy traffic. Finally we alighted at a junction then
caught a taxi which would take us to our final destination.
I noticed first how big the Kalu residence was in
comparison to our blue boys quarters back in the village.
The large building was shrouded in darkness and so its
true size was obscured, but the place had a strong
atmosphere of affluence to it, and as we alighted the taxi
I was overcome with nervousness. I faced the tall black
gate that was twice my height while Madam Cecil
knocked determinedly on it. After a few seconds came
the voice of a man mumbling while sounds of a radio
reached my ears, and a small square on the gate was
opened to reveal an eyeball.
"Who you be?" He inquired while his eye darted between
Madam Cecil and I as the woman huffed impatiently.
"My friend you better open this door before I deal with
you, the madam is expecting us!" Madam Cecil said with
a tone of dismissal, fanning herself lightly with her hand
as the man hissed before the eyeball disappeared.
Footsteps were heard becoming distant, and a few
minutes later the eyeball returned accompanied by the
sounds of a padlock being unlocked. The gate opened
and he mumbled out a greeting which was ignored by
Madam Cecil who simply breezed past, pulling me in tow.
I greeted the gate man and he let out a small smile,
crooked teeth shining in the light coming from the light
fixed on the wall of his small house. He then jogged in
front of us and led the way, ushering us through the
spacious compound and into the big two story house
which was cool as air was blasted from the standing air
conditioner just at the entrance. We took off our shoes
and I clutched my bag even closer to the side of my body
while looking around.
"Madam, I have brought them inside,"
"Thank you, you may go now," Came a regal sounding
voice from above as we looked up to see its source. In
the next few seconds a woman descended down the
stairs wearing her sleep wear which consisted of a silk
blush pink dress and what looked like a matching jacket
on top. She was thick and curvy, her ebony skin was
almost flawless under the lighting in the living room. She
took each step gracefully before finally getting to the
bottom of the stairs. Her face was heart shaped, she had
full lips which had a natural pink to them, big doll eyes
and long hair which fell freely to the sides of her face.
"Good evening, Madame Cecil,"
"Good evening to you too Madam, I hope you had a nice
"Good evening," I quickly said but stuttered as I felt her
scrutinising eyes on me, scanning the length of my body
"This is Hope, I feel she is best fit for what you are
"I'll be the judge of that, come with me to see the rooms
you'll be staying in," She led the way while we followed
behind and I took in the beauty of the house interior.
From looking around I also knew the maintenance would
not be easy. We were shown two rooms, the first being
the guest room where Madam Cecil would stay and the
other being my room. My room was the same size as the
one in the village but this time I wouldn't be sharing it
with two other people. There was a wardrobe, a small
table where there was a mirror and an air conditioner
which I had never had in my room before. It was a room
I'd typically see in a Nigerian movie hotel setting or in the
house of someone rich.
"I trust you like the room,"
"Yes ma, thank you," I said with a small courtesy as she
nodded. I dropped my bag then Madam Cecil went to
freshen up in her own room while my new madam
showed me around the house. The house had living
rooms upstairs and downstairs, two bedrooms
downstairs, five upstairs with bathrooms in each and an
extra toilet just at the entrance of the house. The floors
were all tiled and white and the walls in the hallway and
living room were a beige-cream colour. The kitchen was a
large upgrade from the open fire and occasional kerosene
stove which we used at home, and I missed my family
already. It was all well furnished with two large fridges, a
large deep freezer and two big gas stoves that looked
brand new due to how clean they were.
"I expect this house to always be spotless as I like it that
way. We have a gardener who comes in every two weeks
to tidy the outside, and he also does the laundry so all
you have to do is collect the dirty clothes then set them
aside. Your duties involve cleaning and cooking, and also
tending to the needs of the children," She said children
with a tired tone.
"There are four children, the oldest is 17 and the youngest
is 8. They are all in school so you'll have to get their
school things prepared for them. Your stay in this house
depends on your behaviour, the moment you make any
stupid mistake you will be out of this house, am I clear?"
"Yes ma," I said nodding my head with exaggeration as
she looked at me, satisfaction on her features but with
"Yes madam, what about my education?" At this she let
out a mocking laugh.
"You haven't even worked for one day and you're already
asking for things. Is this what you were brought here for?"
"I'm sorry ma, I was told that I would be allowed to further
"Once we have seen the quality of your work, we'll talk
about school. You should go to sleep because you have
to wake up early tomorrow," She sneered at me before
leaving me in the kitchen. I busied myself with the sink
where I washed the multiple dirty dishes which were all
over the place. They had eaten rice and tomato stew for
dinner as evident in the oil stains on the breakable plates.
After the sink had been cleaned I went to my room and
said my prayer then laid on my new soft bed thinking of
how my family were faring back in the village.
Tomorrow was the start of a new chapter, I would fully
meet the family I would be living with for at least a few
years until a better opportunity came along.
To be Continued........