” What will happen now?” I asked.
We were almost home now walking through the
dark bush paths that leads to our house. The
night creatures were out by this time, their
screeching sounds filled the air. Albert suddenly
stopped walking and stood as if he was
Pondering over the question I just asked him.
” Let’s go to Mensah’ s place. We would spend
the night there” he resumed walking again and I
hurried along like a puppy.
” I don’t think we should go to his place, Nma
( Mother) will be worried and my exams starts
tomorrow so I have to revise tonight”. I said
hoping he would believed me but he laughed and
looked at me.
” What’s this Kojo? trying to ditch your own
brother? You know you can go home if you want
” No am not trying to ditch you, I just thought
Nma will be worried”
” Yes she would, but she won’t have to worry
about burying her husband if we spend the night
at Mensah’ s place” he said
My stomach growled then and we both laughed.
Albert has this kind of laughter that makes you
want to laugh and I laughed harder. For a
moment I forgot that I had, had only one meal
today, I forgot about my poor mother laying in
pain at home, I forgot that the police was looking
for my brother. As for my father only God knows
what had become of him, I put cousin Mensah
out of my mind too because we would soon find
out if he was sent to jail or fined by the king.
We continued joking and laughing until we got to
Mensah’ s compound. We opened the rusty zinc
gate and entered. The entire compound was lit up
by the electric bulb in front of Mami ‘ s room.
Mensah’ s father unlike mine had used cement
blocks to build the four separate rooms in the
compound, although the rooms were not painted
it was stilll like a palace compared to mine.
Mami, a little fair lady who was Mensah’ s
mother sat on a stool in the compound.
” Bonsoir Mami ” we both chorused.
” Akwabaa ( welcome) what are you doing here
so late? Oh! You came to see your cousin, he’s
writhing in pain in his room. I can’t say he
doesn’t deserve it, if only he had taken my advice
to learn a trade he won’t be in the condition he is
now ” she said hurriedly.
Mami is always in a hurrry, the speed at which
she talks and does things makes you wonder if
she’s a spirit. Although she has been in Togo for
years she occasionally slips in her Ghanian
language when speaking Ewe ( Togolese
” What happened to him? Is he sick?” Albert
asked. He hurried away not waiting for answer.
My eyes romed the compound, searching, while
my heartbeat suddenly changed tune. I couldn’t
see her, where is she? I wonder.
” I see you are looking for your wife, Ama is in her
room” Mami said with a knowing twinkle in her
I blushed and looked at my feet. This Mami, she
has eagle eyes because they never miss a thing.
Ama is 14 years old but she is tall for her age,
she has big bosoms too, she is light skinned like
her mother. She has a little gap between her
upper front tooth and when she smiles it’s like I
have died and gone to heaven.
But she’s too proud and rude, nobody in my
village can rival her bad mouth, I hope to tame
her and marry her someday. When I become rich,
I can have anything I want including the beautiful
sassy Ama, money makes the world go round,
even kings and presidents would pay homage to
me! My only dream in life is to have money, lots
Its a good thing cousins marry in my country else
I would have been forced to abduct her when the
time comes, now is not the time, right now am
only fifteen years old and am hungry.
” Ehen Mami what did you say?”
I was so deep in thought I didn’t hear what she
said until she tugged on my hand.
” I said go meet your brothers inside, I will send a
bowl of Konkonte ( Amala) and soup to you ”
Mami stood up .
I went into Mensah’ s room, he laid on his
matresss, his face was swollen, his eyes were
shut, his head was shaved with
something…..obviously a broken bottle. He looked
like something i saw in a horror movie I once
watched at a friend’ s house. Albert sat beside
him on the bed, he looked up when I entered. His
eyes were filled with anger, he wanted to know
why i didn’t tell him the thief being beaten was
our cousin, I knew he would have tried to help
cousin Mensah there and then and risk
endergering his own life. I know am a selfish boy.
” Bonsoir Efo (bro) Mensah, what happened to
you?” I asked to throw my brother off, so he
won’t know that I already knew what happened
” let him be Kojo, and you will keep your mouth
shut too! ” Albert growled at me.
I was glad to keep my mouth shut. Ama came in
just then with a bowl of Konkonte ( Amala) and
light soup, I could see big chunks of meat in the
soup. My mouth watered. Is this another stolen
food? am i not hastening my own death by
eating something that was stolen?
Ama didn’t even greet us, she put the bowl
infront of us and left. My stomach refused to
cooperate with me, despite my misgiving I dived
into the food with my bro.
” You must be brave! We are not only doing this
for ourselves but for our country too! Even after I
am gone you must not give up the good fight!”
I closed my eyes and drew my wrapper over my
head. My eyes were closed but my ears were at
attention. What is the midnight whispering about?
Efo Albert and Mensah are upto something.
Efo Mensah continued ” See what happened to my
Bella….my beautiful Bella, I sent her to the uni in
Lome. I did every job I could to keep her in school
but the bastard went there under the pretext of
helping the students, he only went there to pick
girls. He saw my Bella…he wanted her! tell me
Albert which man would see my Bella and not
want her? ” he started crying like a baby.
I closed my eyes real tight. I never heard or seen
a grown man cry before.
” Charley be calm….you have to be calm ” Albert
tried to soothe him.
” The pig! The uncircvmcised pig wanted my
Bella! Bella… Bella is a good girl! She said no!
but she paid dearly for it. He sent his armies to
her town, they destroyed their farmland, torched
her family house to the ground, nobody survived!
He had Bella ‘ s head cut off, her body was left by
the roadside for birds of the sky to feast on! ”
I wanted to puke. Who is this mad man?
” We are being treated like slaves in our own
father’ s land! our people are suffering, our
women are no longer safe! Our girls are being
carted off to be s£x slaves! the masses are
voiceless! No jobs for the youths! We must put a
stop to this injustice! ” Albert said passionately.
I never knew this Albert, I thought I knew my
brother so well but twice today have been proved
wrong. I wonder what was going on, maybe I will
play my little game again when we go back home
so i could get some information. Who is this mad
man they want to fight?
” You must promise me bro! That you and the
others won’t give up! No matter what happens! ”
Mensah said between clenched teeth.
Others? There were others too? I snored loudly
like a train, I wanted them to think I was sound
asleep and dead to the world.
” We won’t give up! Not ever! but you have to
stop hitting the farms of people from his tribe,
they are as much of a victim as we are. ” my ever
so sensible brother said and I silently agreed with
” No! Albert! they are all the same! I won’t stop!
As soon as I leave this bed I will burn down their
farms…..let them feel the pains Bella and her
family went through! Won’t stop!” Mensah was
Albert calmed him down, he started reciting a
melodious strange hymn and Mensah joined him.
Their voices filled the air and slowly the hymn
lulled me to sleep but it wasn’t a peaceful one