In this new month, we introduce the Foodie’s Fusion which would be a weekly cover of food stories. Today is Love in one Logologoline. I hope you enjoy the read.
It was always World War 3 at Hajia Samira’s Waakye stall. There were always people fighting over there for the sumptuous waakye before they went to work. Some came in suits, some came in cars and some like me, came just as they were. And I was always part of the people who were always there.
There was never a day that went by without me having a taste of Hajia Samira’s Waakye unless of course I was on a 21-day fasting programme; but even then I would buy the food down and use it to break my fast later. It wasn’t easy oohh, that waakye dey be kekee. Charley, the way the aroma calls you, the way it was hot straight from the pan and the way it went down your stomach like the waakye and your stomach were meant to be. Charley, you’ve got to try some.
It was like that with Hajia Samira’s waakye; between us we shared a love that no one could understand. My colleagues couldn’t fathom how I could eat the rice and beans every day, every morning. But you can’t blame me, I just love waakye. That was why I was even here in the first place.
It was another day at Hajia’s stall and just like any other day, people were there fighting.
“I was here before you!” the guy said.
“Well, I didn’t see you, and the guy behind me didn’t say anything so leave,” the fat woman called back, “Leave! Else-”
“Else what?” the man’s eyes were red with anger or should I say hunger, and his hands were all balled up in fists.
They grabbed each other’s clothes as the small crowd screamed and jeered, “Hey! Hey!”
I laughed. Such things make me laugh because I understood them. Anyone could kill over that waakye. Me sef, I’m sure given the chance I could fight over that waakye. But today the fight was getting out of hand. Other people had come to join too and others looked on with apprehension, some also took out their phones to take videos for their amusement.
“Herh! Mon gyae sa! Everybody form one logologoline, else no one will get the waakye.”
The voice came out deep and strong. Immediately I saw the owner of the voice, I realised it was Hajia Samira herself. She was wearing a colourful green scarf, loud make up and some gold earrings and a necklace. Her fingernails were painted red and looked as angry as her face. Eeish, the madam herself had spoken.
We all quietly scuffled until we formed a neat logologoline and the atmosphere became more orderly. One by one person after person got their waakye and left but the queue was still long and it didn’t seem to reach my turn. My stomach was making weird noises, making an announcement of hunger. I was so hungry I could eat a whole cow.
As I stood there in my work clothes and slippers, telling myself to be patient, derr norr a lady from nowhere came to stand in front of me.
I was about to say something mean or push her away but when she turned to me, the smile she wore stopped me. She was indeed fully aware of the crime she was committing. But Ewurade! That smile she wore felt like God was smiling down at me. It was so beautiful I was sure I had seen Heaven. It was wide, revealing a set of white pearls and her eyes held twinkles. If my children had that smile and those honey shade eyes, they would be lucky on this earth.
The dress she was wearing too didn’t help matters at all.
“Those playing cross country, you are warned oh!” one lady from the back said, referring to the lady who had just come to position herself in front of me.
The elder woman behind me muttered in Twi, “Mo die debia na mo cheat…ye pe se ye didi. Yenso ye nipa.”
I heard them but their voices were so far for I was wrapped up in my own world of heavenly waakye. This was waakye in the flesh! Waakye personified!
“Sorry ooh, I know I’m not supposed to be here,” she apologised.
“You aren’t supposed to be here but you fit perfectly,” my mouth wanted to say. But I said, “It’s ok.”
“You see I just have this emergency! I need to get to work quickly, I beg,” she whispered. A sweat was slowly making its way from her hair down her cheek and I was tempted to wipe it away.
Lol, don’t we all have emergencies like how right now my stomach is growling? But I no bore, it seems to have settled because of you, I thought as I stared unashamedly at her.
“Don’t worry, ok,” I gave her a reassuring smile and she threw me that waakye smile of hers again. And I was lost in the glory of it all.
“Herh, young woman, where are you from?” the old woman in front of her said so loudly she almost hurt my ears. “I’ve been here since 7am, and when I came I didn’t see you here.”
I turned to her. Her voice irritated me, “Please Madam, I met her earlier on my way here and she told me to step in the queue for her, so please, if you don’t know something just keep quiet.”
“Hmmm, yooo I hear, if you are lying to me it’s between you and your God,” she said, raising her hands up.
“Good you know that so don’t interfere,” I retorted and turned back to the younger woman in front of me who gave me a grateful smile.
For a breeze, I was surprised at myself for talking like that – for the momentary anger that coursed through me at the woman’s words. I was surprised I was ready to fight for a beautiful stranger. If this was love, then I had fallen paaa, right there in the long logologoline. I was in love with my beloved waakye person.
As we waited for our turn, I tried to make small talk.
“So what’s your name, dear?” and I saw that she hesitated as if contemplating whether to tell me her real name or not. Why do ladies do that?
“I’m Mawu mabia madeke afi wawo nanena amadeooo.”
“Waow, such a …. nice long name,” I said with a smile. But seriously, who would name their child like that? Her parents must hate her possibly. Either that or she is playing with me; she’ll probably go and recount the whole episode of our meeting to her girlfriends and then they’ll laugh over it.
Noticing my hesitancy, she smiled and said, “But you can call me Afi for short.”
“What does your name mean?”
“You really want to know eh?” she asked, giggling and I nodded, “It means God won’t ask anyone before doing something for someone.”
“Interesting, you are Ewe right?”
“So obvious, of course I am.”
I didn’t know what else to say. I was very bad at initiating conversations with such fine ladies, especially this beautiful Number Nine damsel who was in a hurry. Being in slippers and in my dirty work clothes did not build my brand at all…anka if I were to be in a suit with my Rolls Royce parked near the stall, it won’t be bad kraa. I’m sure she’ll give me a second glance.
“Well, I’m Twum Barima but you can just call me Twum. So what’s the emergency?” I asked, concerned.
“Oh it’s my work oh, my boss needs me urgently but I just couldn’t pass up this waakye. I’m so hungry eh, I’m sure if I don’t get there in the next thirty minutes I would be in trouble.”
“Aww ok. Don’t worry, you will get your waakye soon. Just three more people to go and then it will be our turn.” I asked, “Where do you work at by the way?”
“I work at the Breakfast Bar at Dansoman.”
“Oh that’s quite far from here.”
“I know right. That’s why I needed to cross countries. I’m sorry I’m seeking refuge over here,” she laughed. It was in between amusement and an apology.
“It’s fine. See I told you. You are next.” I said, gesturing towards Hajia, whose patience was wearing out like the innocence of the morning sun.
I looked on as she ordered and I made a decision to ask for her number when she was done.
“Thank you so much, I won’t forget this,” she said. She got her waakye and walked away as if fire was at her heels.
“Excuse me, Afi, please can I have your number?” I called to her. She was already a good ten feet away from me.
She turned and looked at me, as if she had never set eyes on me before.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t feel okay giving my number to complete strangers.” Then she hurried to the junction, deliberating swaying her hips as if making a statement that I could never have her.
Those words cut me deep; eheh? So now I was a stranger abi. This world must be crazy. Now that she has her waakye in her hands, she has forgotten me. Awanwansem.
I heard some people behind me snickering and stifling giggles; she made me look pitiful. Love hurt.
“Next time, don’t fall for her looks and that smart mouth of hers. If you had been in a suit, I’m sure you two would have been married in a year,” the old woman said loudly, her words dripping with sarcasm.
Ohhh, but I had already fallen. How could Afi with the long name do this to me? How could Waakye disappoint me so!
“Young man, what’s your order?! You’ve got to hurry, other customers are waiting,” Hajia called to me, her tone was laced with impatience and simmering anger.
“I’m sorry Hajia, I’m buying waakye 3 GH cedis, gari 5p, spag 5p, fried plantain 1 GH cedis, 2 eggs and wele 1 cedi.”
She quickly served my waakye and handed it to me. I paid, took the food and walked back to my pathetic life, with snickers and jeers following me. What a way to be bounced! In the full glare of society too!
That day, I couldn’t finish my waakye; I had hardly started it when I lost my appetite. Heartbreak hurt really badly. Though my face had been hot with embarrassment, I still cherished the one moment when I fell in love. It really felt good. Felt like I had met Waakye herself.
*waakye dey be kekee: the waakye is very delicious
*me sef: Even me/ Myself
*Herh! Mon gyae sa! : You people should stop that
*der norr: Suddenly
*“Mo die debia na mo cheat…ye pe se ye didi. Yenso ye nipa.” : You people are always cheating. We want to eat, we are also people.
*Ewe: One of the many ethnic groups in Ghana
*Number Nine: Monica Amekoafia (born c. 1935) was a Ghanaian beauty pageant and the winner of the first edition of the Miss Ghana contest in 1957 while representing the Volta Region. She was contestant Number 9. It was from her number that people from the Volta Region are called Number 9.
*kraa: at all
*Awanwansem: Wonders shall never end
Written by: Selassie A. Amissah Mensah