Useless Column: ‘Ablavi is not Ablavi’


This my auntie-in-law is the one who sells waakye at Wobuasi. She is the one who made me understand that, when you get to a new community, even when the waakye seller is not on duty, when you walk past or drive past where she sells, you would smell waakye shitor! When my small girl caught me and their mother recently, she only laughed and closed the door. Up till now, when she sees me, she only laughs with a lot of questions she would have wished to ask but….please lock your door when you are in that sacred mood with Madam o. It can be a nasty scene especially when you are trying new styles on gas cylinders or on top of the wardrobe. It is not good for the kids; they would learn rather too early the sins we commit as adults and it will not be good for their health.

I am so reckless with the secret code of my ATM, mobile money, mobile phone and what have you. Bcos I can forget things easily nowadays due to old age, I choose only the same for everything. If a thief knows my ATM PIN, then I am finished. Bcos he would get to know my mobile money number too, even my phone. It is the same thing and this is it:****! It is the reason I don’t like internet banking. Your secret codes no longer belong to you. Armed robbers now use phones and laptops and difficult to trace them.

How much money sef are we protecting? When you don’t have money, it is a problem. The reverse is also true. Too much of everything is bad, so is riches. You see why our brothers and sisters in the middle west like spending so much money? It is because there is too much space for the money hence the reason they give out without thinking about how much they are giving out. Money in itself is only paper to let you know that society wants to be pleased. After all, you have arrived. Waste of energy.

I wish I have a friend from the Middle East. These guys are philanthropic. I met one recently and he agreed to being my friend but I can’t find his complementary card. The thing pain me o. he told me all I need is what I need; the rest is a burden. He asked if he give me 50,000USD whether that would solve all my problems. I said all my problems would indeed be solved. He asked what if he makes it two million dollars. I told him I was about to faint. Then he added: ‘what if I give you all this money on condition that you would not wake up tomorrow?’. I exclaimed Jesus! Then he said there is no need to crave for too much as money, as good as it may be, can also be a problem.

That reminds me. This was when we started school at Cyto (public school) where water closets look like a décor for a living room, seeing it the first time. For us the underprivileged, just see us with our ‘apachi apaachi noko p3t3 kaya duna’ shorts! (torn knickers). Of course we were the Niggas in town! Do you remember how I found myself in the midst of some Montesori boys when my cyto colleagues were their somewhere playing all kinds of unnecessary games including fighting? I had gari wrapped in cement paper and put in my pocket for the ‘rainy day’. Squatting around Pavilion E (that was when Trade Fair was Trade Fair o). I could hear the sound of the gari sipping down and the sound was like ‘yoooooooooo’. That sound that you hear when the rains from the next town had started hitting the roof yet to get to your roof. Ehernnnn! Unfortunately for me, these boys from Greemhill International school near ABC, now Guinness Ghana at Achimota unnecessarily came to draw my attention to the fact that my gari was pouring from my pocket. I disowned the gari that very moment. Whaaaat! Nothing annoyed me about this expository situation apart from the fact that inside the gari were palm kernels to match. They were sure it was from my pocket but I swore it never belonged to me. Why should I accept it especially when everybody around me was eating jollof rice with chicken? Ohian y3 foon foon paaa oo.

I met Ablavi at a popular chopbar some ten years ago. She gave me all the good, the bad, the ugly life’s experiences. I couldn’t chat her on whatsapp unless it is voice message. She dropped out of school very early in life, primary 5! I wasn’t interested in educational background. When she sends a voice message, she would speak in the local language. She never asked me for money but I was doing her fine though she rejected my offers sometimes. When you dash her 1 cedi, she would thank you every day for as long as you are yet to do her another good. We used to break up and patch up. It was our hobby, break up small, patch up small and then go a long break and then back to each other. She possessed everything I deserve in a woman.

Last year, we went for a party together and we had to hide because this relationship had not been sanctioned. All evil things thrive in darkness so hiding it was the way to go. I was at Ablavi’s house last Saturday night. She was not there. I called her line, she was constantly on the phone. Because I wanted to tell her I was home, I ignored all notifications of ‘call waiting’ so she could see the urgency of what I intend to tell her on phone.

Then I could hear someone’s voice in the background and the decibels of her voice became louder as she approached her door. I was sitting on some cement blocks packed in the corner of her house so she didn’t notice I was around…in the dark. The voice was Ablavi’s but no, this is not the Ablavi I know. She was speaking impeccable English and I was like nooo. She got closer to her door and attempted opening with the key but the conversation she was having was so heated and scholarly that she was missing the hole. I know some of you sometimes miss the holes when drunk but not when in the dark room with our spouses. In fact, we see clearer in the dark in that state that when the lights are on. Why then do we ask the lights be offed before eyi. Continuously for about 2 and a half minutes, this was what I heard her say in English: ‘you know, some of these things are the things that require mission and vision statements which should have been part of their annual report…’ I first froze. What has a chopbar girl got to do with mission and vision statements? Ha! After these few minutes, I had enough evidence so I cleared my throats while seated in the dark. Surprisingly she was in full suit with an inner white. When she got to know I had ‘uncovered’ her, she appeared a bit nervous because I have seen the other part of her which she didn’t want me to know. Long and short is that Ablavi possesses an MPhil degree! Herh! So what happened to all the whatsapp messages anytime I left my phone with her. I started sweating small small. My mind raced back to several incidents one of which was an attempt to teach her how to write: ‘I love you’ on whatsapp. She struggled and begged me to speak the local language with her because she could neither read nor write. Hmmm!


So I asked why with all her very serious qualifications, she decided to work in a chopbar for almost a decade. Her current salary is GHC700 but she was fine and as stated earlier, she never asked me for money. It was then she opened up to me that her parents are in academia outside the country. She hid her background to even her neighbours and employers. Many people looked down on her. She was picking points. She smiled while confessing that she had read some of my reckless whatsapp messages but they were none of her business though she felt jealous a couple of times…she said this with a smile. Ablavi is from a very rich family and didn’t need anything. It made sense to me now why she never asked me for me. According to her, she believed in simple life as she learnt this from one of her great grandparents. She didn’t openly declare the number of degrees she had…not even to me. I was like…wow! Is this Ablavi? She responded: ‘No, my name is not even Ablavi; I am actually Serwa’. Hmmmm! What a way to show humility. I saw how powerful she is. She had served people in her chopbar where people said terrible things to her in English and she pretended she didn’t even hear. Different person – Serwa, not Ablavi. Her only regret was that I had caught her.

How her first degree and san 7 neighbours flaunted their educational background before her. She said someone even bought her a P 1 English textbook for her to read so she could speak basic English. Menawhile this is somebody who was in the local choir and never joined the English class.

But as to why Ablavi [I continue to call her so] choOse such a weird lifestyle, and still working in a chopbar, Ablavi must be a CID, Alla!

But I learnt something: let people discover you rather than uncovering yourself especially on your statuses with your one or two masters degrees. By so doing, one becomes very powerful before the people who used to look down on you. As to what her aspirations are, she said she would keep it to herself. Ayooo! Have degrees made us humble?  I’m not sure.

In spite of this conviction, I am still not too sure if Ablavi is even human to start with.

Could this be a dream? Anyway, it is always better to keep it on low profile.

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