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GROWING THROUGH YEARS OF HIDDEN PAIN


God speaks to those who take time to listen and listens to those who take time to pray. – Unknown Growing up in Akweteman- Zongo with my younger sister and Single mother, I knew the hustle wasn’t going to be easy at all; we moved into the neighborhood when I was only eight (8) and my sister was only five (5). Though I was at liberty to mingle with the kids in the neighborhood, I just couldn’t identify myself with majority of them. My mum always ensured that my personal interests were directed at nothing but my studies which almost made it impossible for me to socialize better with the neighbors. Soon, I was tagged as the “area beyonce” by the thugs in the neighborhood because according to them, I was snobbish and unapproachable but honestly, that made me feel really good about myself. Although we had no money, I was proud to have managed to bag myself some respect in such the Zongo community. Sundays were the fun days in my home because my mum would prepare balls of fufu with her signature “aponkye nkrakra” or her mouth watering “chicken soup” while we watched cantata and later waste the rest of the day away by listening to some good old country music from Dolly Parton through an old radio set she had carefully kept from many years ago. Our financial status made it impossible for my struggling mother to organize something special for us on our birthdays and soon, we grew accustomed to the yearly routine and accepted the fact that, birthdays were just like any other ordinary day but the only extra thing she did was to pray in tears over us while we slept (that was the most expensive gift we ever got from her as a present but we never even appreciated it). I always envied the rich kids in my school who got new presents from their parents every single year; most of these kids would deliberately flaunt their presents to make me uncomfortable but there was only one thing I could comfort myself with… my academic intelligence! It was almost time for me to graduate from junior high and my excitement definitely knew no bounds! I had been praying for this day to come for so long and I just couldn’t wait to get out of school. About two weeks to the long awaited 2008 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), I got home as always from school on a Friday only to receive devastating news. My mother had been involved in a car accident on her way Home from selling her wares at the kantamanto market; fortunately, her injuries were minor so she was treated and discharged immediately. She had stitches all around her waist and could barely walk around without support. The next day, my mother called me to her side of the single bed we all shared in our tiny chamber-and-hall apartment and said, “Nana, you would have to walk through the streets and sell those bed sheets and clothes I was able to save from the accident scene in my head pan or else, we wouldn’t be able to afford a single meal tomorrow.” that alone was enough to break my heart but I had to do it anyways. I walked out of the compound in tears as I watched some kids make fun of me saying, “The area beyonce now sells second hand clothing o,” I was completely blinded by my tears and lost in my thoughts; one question kept running through my mind, Where is this God my mother valued so much? The BECE was extremely successful! My mates and I walked for miles jubilating and chanting in the streets of Accra for almost three (3) hours. I got to Achimota around 9pm and made straight for my home where I knew my poor mother would be waiting with a bowl of banku with pepper and fried fish as agreed! At about halfway to my home, I met Nii (one of the nicest and educated people I had ever met in my Zongo community who also happened to be a friend of mine); he hugged and congratulated me on my graduation from Junior High school. He asked that I went with him to his place for the gift he specially got for me and as naïve as I was, I agreed. Whiles looking for the ‘so-called’ gift, I was busily enjoying some Western music videos on the other side of his single partitioned room. He later came in to sit beside me and began touching my thigh I quickly pushed him aside and headed politely for the door but to my surprise, it was already locked. I started begging him to let me go and threatened to alert my neighbors. He quickly turned off the lights and warned me to not make a sound; he really over powered me and the next moment, I found my tiny 15 year old body buried beneath that of a 25 year old … let me spare you details, this guy simply raped me in a flash and ensured that I made no sound throughout the process. I felt betrayed, dirty and miserable as I sobbed on my way home. My mother, not knowing what had happened, mistook the tears in my eyes for that of ‘Joy’, quickly hugged and said a prayer for me while I continued to weep bitterly. The fortunate thing was, the blackout on our side of the Zongo made it impossible for anyone to notice my blood stained uniform… I never told a soul about the humiliating incidence till date! Where was God in my situation? The hustle however continued for me and my family. I had to spend months with some relatives who at the end of the day threw me out without a dime at the exact time my poor innocent mother was bed ridden with stroke and diabetes. I joined some group of young girls on the streets of Lapaz to sell sachet water or what Ghanaians term “pure water”. We could no longer afford our rent and had to go live with some members of the extended family. We still prayed and hoped for a brighter day; I used to imagine angels descending from heaven with answers to our misery and oh! How overjoyed we’d be! In summary, I still continued to struggle through senior high school, Okuapemman School to be precise with sometimes little or no pocket money but I was smart enough to stay satisfied and alive! My mother kept encouraging me to pray and stay alert spiritually because the time for our breakthrough was so close and that God had a plan! And I believed her. Two months after leaving senior High School and about eight (8) days to my birthday, my mother finally lost the battle with stroke and diabetes. “Which kind of God allows His people to go through series of misery?” I asked. This was the same God who watched me go through all the societal pain and humiliation and as a bonus, took my mother away! I became really bitter, hurt and really angry with God and ceased praying to Him! … What’s the point in wasting time anyways? Then suddenly, things got even worse after going months without His presence and I could still hear my mother’s voice asking me to “LET GOD TAKE CONTROL.” In summary; life happened, I lived and grew through the pain and attained a level of spiritual understanding that, God was indeed preparing me into this bold and courageous woman who would one day use her story to inspire other younger individuals who are going through similar or even worse situations. At least He saw me through the best University in the country, gave me a roof over my head and gave me the strength of a lion coupled with the wings of an eagle to soar higher. In my bitterness He still blessed and assured me with His promises in book of John 14. I do have lots to write about my bitter experiences but all I’d say for now is, your pain is no excuse to avoid God’s presence, He has a plan! YOUR PRAYER IS YOUR WEAPON!
By: Nana Yaa Asabea//instagram: @naya_233// email: nayascolumn@gmail.com
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