She stood patiently in the queue and watched as the unfriendly waakye seller served her customers. She counted and realized one. ..two.. three….four.. five….six… seven people would have to be served before it got to her turn. She was very late for work but couldn’t leave because she was very hungry. Already she had spent close to forty minutes in the queue.
Just as she glanced at her wrist watch as it struck noon. ..she overheard the waakye seller exchanging words with the third customer in the queue. The lady had politely asked the waakye to ignore a phone call and attend to the customers as we all had deadlines to meet.
“You are a woman just like me. Why didn’t you cook at home and eat. You can go if you want to.” My feet turned jelly. Butterflies danced in my stomach. Eeeii ….. aren’t I also a woman? Isn’t this message also intended for me? How much worth of waakye at all am I going to buy and how much at all would I eat? Hmmmmmm……just imagine the amount those who just gone by bought.” In fact I observed the least bought so far was 20 cedis.
As I contemplated whether to leave or not, her rude voice interrupted my deep thoughts. “Yes….how much will you buy’. In a confused state and shaky voice I replied:
“waakye and gari 2 cedis and 1 cedi worth of wele.” She gave me a hard stare and asked me the last time I bought waakye and gari for that amount. I felt very very humiliated and remained speechless. Then she said she could give me only waakye without gari for 2 cedis and the wele was also 2 cedis. I nodded and she served me just two ladles of the food and a quarter match box sized piece of wele. It didn’t matter to me at that point. I just wanted to leave the place.
The others in the queue had their gaze fixed on me. Some chuckled and others too condemned her behaviour. I gave her 4 cedis in a two cedi note denominations and 10 pieces of 20 pesewas coins when she handed the food to me. The insults that followed could well be your guess. With shaky feet and a straight face I left the place picked a taxi and left for work.
The humiliation was enough to satisfy my hunger pangs. As I alighted the security man at the office gate welcomed me with a bright smile on his face. At least it was refreshing. He asked what I bought for him to which I replied “nothing” but wouldn’t mind to give him the waakye I had in the lunch box. He gleefully took it and showered blessings on me.
In the office I just couldn’t concentrate. I felt low in spirit and wondered how uncouth some people could be. I asked for permission around 4pm and left for my husband’s office so we could leave together after 5pm.
As I was narrating the incident to my husband, Jackie the secretary came in and informed him of the presence of one of their clients. He asked she be brought in. As she was ushered in our eyes met. It was the waaakye seller. …….she had come to beg for an extension of repayment of a 10,000 cedi loan she took from my husband’s micro finance company. She froze in the middle of the way and wore a frightened face as if she had seen a ghost when our eyes met.
My husband immediately realised she was the waakye seller I was referring to as she has been his client for almost a decade so he knew her occupation. He asked: “ooooohhhh Jemila so you were the one who insulted my wife this afternoon for buying 4 cedis worth of food from you? ???
“Forgive me please. I didn’t know she is your wife.” the waakye seller begged. “Ooooohhhh so have you now realised she could have bought your entire pot of waakye”” my husband retorted. She was on bended knees and asked for forgiveness. I forgave her and left to the adjoining room for the two to transact business. Guess she learnt her lesson well.
Never ever look down on people. It pays to be nice to all irrespective of colour, looks or wealth. You never know where you would meet the one you looked down upon later in life.
Stay safe and blessed.