Right in the centre of the city, stood my new home. The majestic Atlantic ocean stretched in the vast unknown to the right, fishermen hard at work to find what their nets will capture and bring home to the land beyond.The ocean’s breeze could be felt on my face as I looked beyond the turquoise water, it’s existence surreal as I stood at the balcony that would soon become the most cherished space in my new home. From up there my sister and I would be receiving salutations from familiar faces as we watched with curiosity the happenings in the neighbourhood. The view was picturesque.
Across the street directly opposite the house stood the market, a busy hive of activities where I would travel on many journeys to satisfy my insatiable appetite for Banku ( a meal made from fermented corn and cassava dough). It was in this place I first learnt the powerful act of bargaining. It was at this market, that gossip could easily spread, bump into friends you are never prepared to meet, yet, always welcome with a hearty greeting.
Soon, we would form our own band of customers who we would staunchly purchase from . Like the vivacious Sister Esi, the tomatoes seller, who with time would get to know our home and bring her garden-fresh vegetables to us. And there was the Alhaji ,the butcher with the dark patch exactly in the middle of his forehead from whom we got our fresh supply of meat without him asking how much we would buy. We bought the same pounds of meat for each market trip.
On our popular street, rallies and parades were held. A triangular shaped pavement at the side of the main road became a business centre for a few hawkers.
To the left- a pub. Vibrant and noisy . It’s colourful exterior décor attracting its guests. This place of entertainment became my family’s cross to bear. The excruciating noise that came from their outdoor speakers were almost unbearable. Old and new song records would blast from their sound systems and with time I built immunity to all that noise. My older sister detested it!
All other paramount places were within walking distances-school, church, and library.Once I settled into school, I found myself a best friend whose house stood on a hill around a corner from mine.
Our new home was not perfect, but here, our family welcomed a new blessing -the arrival of my little sister who in herself is a miracle!