He pulled out his phone and started the confession. His first few words sent chills down my spine and made me wonder who’s daughter he was referring to.
When I heard him say “that girl is just so stubborn. In fact, sometimes I beat her to a pulp yet she wouldn’t stop misbehaving and smoking,” I almost turned to slap the hell out of him. How dare you treat the mother of your child with such disdain? I quivered in my seat but he wouldn’t stop lamenting, going on and on.
He was pouring out his heart to a friend, relative or a confidante over the phone. I wasn’t sure exactly who the receiver was but every bit of the Hausa he spoke sank deep into my heart and ended up giving me mixed reactions.
Even though I couldn’t turn to look at his face, I felt the anxiety, regret, and hopelessness in his voice. He had lost it for his baby mama and probably wasn’t even conscious of his surrounding.
“Can you imagine Aisha came to my new place after I’d insisted I didn’t want to see her? he told the receiver “She was not alone. She came with the child, crying that I had neglected them. But you know it’s not my fault. I just want to be out of her life. I have done everything for her but I just can’t take it anymore. It’s time to move on. I’ve had enough!”
So I get it. He has a baby mama. One he’s given up on settling down with. He sort of takes care of her but she’s giving him troubles. What did she do?
Before I began looking for answers, he had adjusted his seat, ready to give me full details, perhaps unaware that hausa is gradually becoming a common language.
“Look, I got to know Aisha was a drug addict after we started going out. I thought I could change her by constantly talking to her to quit. I loved her and was ready to assist her. I did everything but she just wouldn’t change.”
I see. He was referring to a lady he met in the ‘zongo’- a Muslim girl who probably wants to be left alone to enjoy life.
“Her sisters tell me they are fed up with her at home. Even her brothers can beat her so bad and what i do to her is just a joke” he continued. “But I think it’s peer pressure. Irrespective of what I do for her, she still hangs out with the same aimless rascals she calls friends. They go into exile for days; clubbing, smoking weed and doing all manner of imaginary things.”
At this point, I was beginning to wonder why some of our Muslim ladies in Ghana today have chosen the path of recklessness. Just when I thought Zongo was indeed rising. Not so surprising that I have Muslim male friends whose biggest frustration is finding a wife in the ‘zongo.’ Sometimes they tell me, It is either you go home with a drama queen or an illiterate who prefers to languish in the pleasures of this fleeting world.
And you can’t blame them. A number of these young Muslim bachelors end up dating multiple Christian girls, hoping to convert them or remaining bachelors until they find a gray sheep among the black ones. It is sad. Just as sad as the frustration of this young man who has decided to give up the fight.
“I thought I could sustain and make her see the reason why she needs to change her ways. But what else can I do when I sometimes literally smell weed through the phone when I call her. In fact, after seeing those videos on her phone, I knew this was going to be a useless battle. I’ve already lost it.” Whatever he saw on this lady’s phone must have hit him hard.
At this point, I was beginning to feel a bit of empathy. Sad that it is becoming almost too difficult to change the mindset of the youth in our zongo communities. It is now an achievement to break the cycle to become a responsible, educated, loving and clean zongo girl.
As I pondered in my seat behind the driver in the 207 bus, I knew this man just needed to talk to someone at that moment. He didn’t care spending credits all the way from Lapaz.
And before he got down at circle, he promised to take care of his son. “As for me, I have made up my mind on her. I can’t live with such a woman. I have to move on but trust me, I will do my best to provide for them” he dropped the line.
When he eventually got out of the ‘trotro’, I noticed he was a familiar face- someone in my neighborhood I’d known growing up. One whom I’ve always regarded as quiet and shy. Probably the more reason we’ve never said hello to each other. We are both immersed in our own thoughts.