11th April 2019
I still live at home with my family and therefore even when I am on holidays, I get co-opted into the family business. Annoyingly, I had to go with my family to the office and help out in whatever capacity I could.
In the mirror, a hazy sight without my glasses, I noticed that my headscarf was no longer on my head. It must have fallen off sometime during the night. It was simply too big for my head. How strange it was that I had overestimated the size of my head when I bought it. It always fell off during the night. Hence, my hair was frizzy. I proceeded to take a shower, hoping the hot water would wake me up. It did, and I began to prepare gingerly for the day.
My oatmeal was too hot and took a long time to eat. I ate it under the judgmental glares of my family for wasting their time. I took my time in eating, silently daring anyone to call me out. No one did and I ate my meal alternating between shame and defiance.
My day followed a familiar pattern. I typed on my laptop, stared at a spot on the wall, took breaks to walk around. During lunch time, I took a longer break and went in search of food. I had jollof, a plate of rice cooked in a tomato-based sauce. Prepared in the office canteen for a large number of people, its taste reflected its wholesale purpose. It was a basic meal cooked without fuss. After lunch, I spent some time watching movie trailers on YouTube then went back to work. I felt someone touch my shoulder. My brother had just received a text message from an online marketplace containing a code for a discount voucher to be used between 4 and 5pm. He’d received the text message at 4:58pm.
I rode home from work in the same car with my mother. The traffic is a permanent feature on the roads in Accra. There was a lady selling bread by the roadside. There was nothing strange about this in itself, for hawkers in traffic are ingrained in the road culture of the city. It is what she was selling that surprised me. The bread was packaged in boxes, which I found to be strange and yet exciting. “Finally,” I thought, “someone is taken recycling seriously.” I stared too long at her, and she approached the car. “It’s organic bread,” she shouted. My curiosity was piqued. She noticed this and seized the moment, listing the ingredients in her product. “It has wheat and honey. It’s organic”, she stated emphatically. She mispronounced the word “wheat,” placing an “sh” in front of the word, making it “shweat.” I heard my mother giggle, but I marveled at the lack of plastic and bought the bread. Plastic is truly being considered a menace.
I opened up the box and to my surprise, the bread was wrapped in plastic before being placed in the box. It seemed defeatist. Why place the bread in plastic and a box? Did it really need double packaging? I attempted to discuss this with my mother, but she was too busy giggling over the mispronunciation of wheat. I tasted the bread and it was too sweet. I wondered if it truly contained only honey as a sweetener. I concluded the hawker’s assertion was false. By the time we arrived home, it was around 8pm. My brother had arrived home earlier and had made jollof for dinner. His jollof was tastier, spiced with pepper and a hint of cloves with a topping of spring onions. Constantly eating jollof seems so quintessentially Ghanaian.
We gathered around the television to watch The Burial of Kojo, a new Ghanaian movie that we had highly anticipated for months. My brother fell asleep about 15 minutes into the movie. The rest of my family described it as slow paced, boring and requiring too much concentration. They wanted a light movie to end the day. Perhaps on another day, it would have been a better choice. For this night, we should have chosen a comedy.