I did something out of the ordinary today. I spent three interesting hours with two Nigerien girls whom I met at Accra Mall. They were a delightful pair. Fatima was very quiet and somewhat had a mind of her own as I discovered later. She introduced Amina to our day out and Amina was the live wire of us ‘three musketeers’. She kept laughing and talking and interpreting whatever Fatima said in their language.
Our day out involved lunch, just a few snacks and two bottles of Blue Skies, a very rich branch of juice I discovered during my first month in Ghana. Then we went to the Kid’s Play Area and that was where we spent most of the time. After riding the helicopter-like electric toy, Amina went bouncing endlessly in the Inflatable Jumper. Fatima was much more reserved. She just stood on the Jumper while other children were playing excitedly around her.
When our time was up, it took some effort to get them to leave and when we did, they demanded ice-cream. Worse still, I bought chocolate and coconut because I figured that’s what each wanted. Fatima didn’t talk to me much so I relied on Amina’s translation. Amina took the chocolate because she had been clear on what she wanted but Fatima expressed dislike for the coconut. According to Amina, she threatened to throw it away once they got outside. Hey, wait a minute, I thought I was doing someone a favour here!
I should add at this point that at the beginning of our outing I couldn’t help but notice the stares… ‘Are they with you?’ someone would ask. The smiles, some admiring the gesture, possibly being inspired, others wondering what I was up to. It did take some courage of sorts to pull this through.
Can you believe that after the ice cream these two girls displayed strong solidarity in their determination to go back to the Kid’s Paly Area? I could not believe it. They cried, sat on the floor, folded their arms, ignored me etc. I became a bit concerned. What had I gotten myself into? Well, back we went, and this time, Fatima was a little more active. Again, at the end, we entertained everyone with a drama show bordering on my guests’ absolute resolve to stay there forever!
When I finally got them out, they wanted to go home with me claiming that their Mom would ‘beat’ them if I left them. I guess they experienced something they do not regularly experience on the streets where they live and had hoped it would continue. They wanted to know whether I would come the next day. They were worried about when next they would see me. Wow! A fulfilling day. And I did meet their Mom at the gate but she didn’t look like she was going to spank them, in fact, she was very grateful.