All I heard was the loud blurring sound of a taxi, I turned and what I saw frightened me. I had not seen a human being bleeding like that in my 25 years of been on earth.
It happened on a Friday, and the date of the month was 13th, if you believe in the myth of Friday the 13th, you would not be far from attributing the tragedy of that day to the myth. I was a student in the Polytechnic and had been down with what I thought was malaria, in my naive mind, I went to a pharmacy to buy a drug. We had a sick bay on campus, but for reasons known only to us, a student wouldn’t just patronize the bay even though one would not have to pay for the service.
I took the medicine for three days but my condition worsened, on the third day, I threw up vigorously, I was also getting weak and weak by the hour. My roommates started getting scared, next thing I knew, Damage, that was his nickname, had hired a taxi and we were on our way to the major hospital in the regional capital.
We went through the usual routine of acquiring a card and having my temperature, weight and blood pressure checked, I stayed in a queue for a while, I don’t remember how long, soon it was my turn to see the doctor, he asked how long I had been in such a condition, “since yesterday” I lied.
I have forgotten all that happened in the consulting room, next thing I remember the words of the doctor to my friends who took me to the hospital, your friend would be admitted, go and get a few of his clothes.
I stayed in the hospital for four days. After I was discharged, we had to return my folder to the counter after going for some drugs at the dispensary. I had submitted the folder to the lady at the records department and was chatting with my mates when a taxi came blurring its horn loudly.
A young girl in her teens was in the middle of the back seat, she was supported by a lady, I latter got to know was her elder sister and a young man of about 22, her boyfriend. She was stained with blood, it was oozing from her private part profusely and the cloth around her was soaked beyond recognition.
She could hardly breath, the other lady, her elder sister was restless, and she could hardly describe what had happened to her younger sister. The young man who was with them was standing some few meters away from the entrance to the hospital, griped with fear.
She was quickly rushed to the direction of the hospital’s surgical theatre.
After a while, I had to leave for the hostel.
It was when I arrived that I got wind of exactly what had happened. The girl in question was Sandra, the daughter of the kenkey and koko seller at the hostel, how come I did not recognise her? Her elder sister had been leaving in Accra all the while and was not a known face to occupants of the Plantain Hostel.
By 6 pm that fateful day, news of the unfortunate incident had gone round the entire Adweso, community of what had happened.
As the official representative of the SRC’ at the hostel, I organized for a visit to the young girl on the Sunday following the incident. Her mother was not at the usual spot with the early morning Koko, it was obvious. She was at the hospital.
By 4:30pm, we were at the Central Hospital; she was at the female surgical ward. Her mother was sitting beside her with her chin in her left palm, she looked pensive and was absent minded.
Maa, good evening, we greeted, almost in unison.
She turned to us and almost immediately, tears begun rolling down her dark dimpled checks. She clutched her lips together with her lips rolled in; it was a sad moment for the three of us who had gone to visit the damsel. No one knew exactly what had happened; news about the incident was scanty with everyone adding their twist to it.
It was time to hear the truth, but why would a mother weep deeply like this if her daughter was just bleeding and fortunately, did not die? We all stood there quit. No one spoke; a nurse who was on duty came to tap her three times at the back, mum, it’s okay, it’s okay, and thank God that she did not lose her life as a result.
She nodded in response. The girl was at this time fast asleep. After standing there for a few minutes, she was able to respond to our greetings. We could not sit on the bed, it is not allowed in the hospital, the nurse on duty got closer and inquired whether we were family, “no, we are students at the hostel where she sells koko in the morning.”
“Oh okay, you can’t sit on the bed, let me bring you some chairs.”
She left and soon returned with two plastic chairs, there was a vacant one in the ward, so the three of us sat down. Our questions were predictable.
How is she? “she is fine”
“But what happened? I was here when she was brought, I didn’t recognise her, I was discharged here on Friday too.”
The woman could express herself in the queens language quite well. She was the hardworking type. She would sell koko to us in the morning at the hostel, and then sell kenkey to us in the evening, but we knew her more for the koko because of the monopoly she had over that.
Her kenkey was better packaged and we loved it.
She was going to tell us what would be a life changing moment for the young girl who was lying in the hospital bed. Afterall, it was a Sunday afternoon, and on weekends visiting hours are extended. An irreversible damage had befallen her, courtesy, ignorance. Apparently, it turned out to be that the girl wasn’t her biological daughter; this was what made her cry more. How was she going to break the news to her real parents?
Just when she was about starting to talk to us, her elder sister joined us in the ward; she had gone home to prepare soup for the patient on admission. Joyce was her name and she turned out to be the only biological daughter of the woman we were about to talk to. She took over the conversation.
Joyce had just returned from Accra and was about entering their home when she heard a loud shout, Agyie! manu and that was it.
I would try to tell you what I remember.
She bombed into the room, there was no on in the hall, she entered her mother’s bedroom, it was empty, her mum would be in on her way from Asesewa, today is Friday and she normally travels to buy maize from the Asesewa market.
The only room left was that of Sandra, where they both slept whenever she was in town. She banged the door open, it was not locked, what she saw almost swept her off her feet. Her sister lay in a pool of blood with a young man standing near her obviously lost for the next action.
Apparently, Sandra had been in a relationship with the young man. He was a gardener of the well to do Mr Mensah who lived next door. He would lure her to his house whenever the vicinity was quite and have sex with her. Soon they both began to like it, it became a regular routine for the two love birds.
Fearing she could get pregnant, Cynthia went to the pharmacy by the roadside and bought some contraceptives. She hid them in her bag and took one each day. Soon she realized a change, the month had ended and her period refused to show up, she was worried. She mentioned it to Frank, he was short of ideas, had the pills failed?
They did not have an answer, for one week, the two naive beings would meet at night but just deliberate over their predicament.
How were they going to solve this problem? They thought and thought and thought.
The only person Cynthia made mention of the situation to was her classmate in the village, Enyinam, she recommended one cup of sugar mixed with Guinness, the one-touch concoction was done, it was taken under the supervision of Frank, they waited for 24hours but nothing came out.
Cynthia called her mate back in Enyinam to give feedback of what had not happened. Efua, her mate was expert in dealing with this kind; after all, at JHS 2 she had already had two abortions and can’t fail in helping her friend out.
At the night of the fateful day, she called Cynthia and gave the super idea that can’t fail. She was to lie down for Frank to step on her abdomen; this would push anything there out. After all; she had weakened it by the concoction.
It sounded absurd, but what else could she do, she had been sent to her Auntie, now her mum; to help in the sale of Koko and kenkey till they have been able to raise enough money to send her back to school to finish JHS 3. She can’t let the opportunity pass by, secondly, she can’t delay, her stomach would soon be out and it would be obvious.
The last straw to deal with the stubborn content in her womb was to be carried out when no one was at home. On Fridays, her Mum goes to Asesewa for maize, she goes to sell the koko; by 11am, she is done and back at home. They planned the entire episode so well, by 12 noon she was at home, Frank as well could easily leave, Mr Mensah and all occupants of the house were out.
By 12:15pm it was time to “smoke out” every content in her womb. The venue was in her room, she undressed and headed for the floor. She put her cloth down and laid on it.
Frank stepped on her abdomen the first time, “Agyei”, it pained, but the step was gentle, nothing happened, after 30seconds, they were to try the second time, this time the step carried more power, mmm mm mm, she squeezed her mouth and held her abdomen, she could not shout too much, neighbours would come round and that would ruin everything.
A little drop of blood stained her panties, she touched it, feeling the pain, but her soul seemed to smile, success beckons. Frank, who did not know how he was feeling by this time, waited for the last try. Cynthia turned with her two palms holding her hips, her two legs wide apart, stark naked, Frank took a bold step into the lower part of his lover’s abdomen, “Agyei mewu” She could not keep it inside any more.
At the same time Joyce had just arrived from Accra, alighted at the Poly junction and made her way home, she heard the sound and upon getting to the scene, it was gory, something indescribable bulged out of the damsel’s vagina. Frank could not stand the scene; he turned, facing the wall.
Joyce entered the room the same moment, her sister was speechless now. She shouted as loud as she could, Ahhhhhhhhhh! From nowhere came female students who lived nearby, they had just returned from their morning lectures and were about taking lunch. They quickly wrapped all the cloth in the room around the speechless girl, got a taxi and rushed her to the Central hospital.
“It was like a movie to me” Cynthia concluded.
At this point, the bell rung, we had to leave, visiting time was up. Not knowing what to say, we quickly organized a short prayer for the girl who was still asleep. Cynthia offered to walk us outside, just when we got outside the ward, I asked, “so what have the doctors said so far?”
She bowed down her head for about five seconds and raised it up, she has lost her womb.
“It was ruptured beyond repair.”
“The sad part of it is that, she wasn’t even pregnant.”
“Oh!” That was Enoch, my roommate.
He couldn’t hide his feelings.
“And the boy?” Enoch asked almost immediately.
“My brother, what can we do, we are yet to meet his master and tell him the details; for now, no one really knows it the way I have told you people.”
“She herself does not know exactly what has happened to her, she is yet to be told.”
At this point, I couldn’t put myself together anymore; I understood why she cried now. What was she going to tell the biological mother? How would she take the news when she is eventually told? These and many more questions went on in my mind; it is an incident I would never forget.
Today, I listen to calls for sex education in schools and counter debates that we would only make these young ones promiscuous and I remember poor Sandra. If only she knew that taking contraceptives was the cause of her period not coming, this single piece of knowledge would have averted everything. The rest of the questions, you can ask, and the answers you can keep.
This happened several years ago, the last time I heard of her was when I met Damage, he said he spotted her in a restaurant where she worked as an attendant in Accra. How many men would be prying their eyes at her not knowing the pain she carries? Many more such vulnerable exist, life they say is like a musical chord, one wrong note and the entire harmony is distorted. If there is a God, may He help us all. Selah.
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