The Road to Paradise

I woke up early on Friday morning before the sun came up. It was January 4th. My husband was still fast asleep when I finally slung my handbag over my shoulder.

“When will you come back?” he asked groggily.

“Maybe around four o’clock on Saturday evening,” I replied. “Certainly before dinner, so that I can serve you.”

“Mmmm. Okay. Bye bye.”

I wanted to give him a hug, but something made me stop.

“Bye bye,” I said softly. I wanted him to get a bit more rest.

I waited until I heard the door click shut before I walked quietly down the hall. The children were still sleeping and I could hear my son snoring loudly from the room he shared with his younger cousin. My husband and I had worked hard to give them all a good life, and I think they knew how blessed they were.  I smiled when I thought about their future, and what they might be when they grow up. I never imagined my own life would end up this way, but God has His portion for all of us. I have accepted my lot. Some things are just like that.

My 10 year old daughter Aba met me at the door.

“Ma, good morning,” she said in a voice so sweet that it made my belly tingle.

“Good morning, sweetheart,” I smiled.

“Are you going to the farm?”

“Yes, I’ll be back tomorrow.”

“Please, can I come with you? I like the farm very much!”

I told her to lower her voice. The family was still sleeping and she had to be considerate.

“Yes, Ma,” she whispered obediently.

She asked again if she could join me at the farm. I told her no…not this time. But when I went the following month she could join me. Aba smiled and threw her arms around my waist, squeezing it tightly. I never initiated affection with my family, although I loved them dearly. I desperately wanted to tell them every day how special they were to me – how much I loved them. But some things are better left assumed than explicitly said.

I instructed Aba to bring her father some tea in about an hour, and to make sure her brother dusted the hall.

“But he won’t listen to me!” she asserted. She frowned and poked out both her lips,  just as she had done when she was a baby.

“Then I will deal with him when I get back,” I warned menacingly.

That made her giggle. I never had a harsh word for her brother, or for her for that matter. I was very fortunate that my children were good by nature and usually very  helpful. I just wished that they would concentrate on their studies a bit more!

With visions of my family’s future, I set off on the Elubo Road and made my way towards the coconut plantation I began growing seven years ago. It was not always easy, and people told me I couldn’t do it, but God has blessed my labor and rewarded my sacrifice. My husband never said it out loud, but I knew he was proud to have such a prosperous and intelligent wife. Aba certainly looked up to me, and that made me feel…special. She wanted to be just like me, she always said. But I want her to move to Accra and wear a fancy suit. She will work with important people and make a lot of money. Who knows how far she can go? She’s such a bright girl. I smile when I think about what great friends we will become in the future. But for now, I must guide her towards her potential.

But in less than an instant, my wistful, pleasant thoughts give way to terror. Something large and white is barreling towards me. I feel pain, such intense pain all over my body. My legs; my arms; my head. My broken heart. It’s almost like I’m dying…


IMG_1591 These were the remains of a fresh  accident we saw on the way to Axim Beach Hotel from Accra. The smashed pick-up on the other side of the road was carrying the then lifeless body of a grown woman. She was wearing trousers and a striped polo shirt. She had fat arms and soft brown skin, very much like my own. The soles of her feet were cream colored and large. She might have worn a size 11 shoe. Perhaps she often found it difficult to find something nice to fit her feet when she wanted to get dressed up for special occasions. I can only guess…

On the other side of the road sat an enormous Mercedes minibus used as a trotro. What had happened was clear. The driver was overtaking another car and had run head on into this woman in her lane. She never stood a chance in a collision of that magnitude.

The irony that we witnessed this accident as we were on our way to an ocean paradise does not escape me. I pray her soul rests in perfect peace in the paradise of her dreams.