The scars from her experience selling newspapers in Oshodi can be shown in deep wounds and scars on Ayomah’s arms and legs. Mental scars simmer behind a face that rarely smiles without the reassuring support of his wife. He clearly remembers what his mother told him before he left for Nigeria.
“Ayoma, you are the youngest of my three children, your other two half sisters have all left with their foreign parents … you are my only hope.” Putting his right hand on Ayomah’s right shoulder and holding the cane with his left hand for balance, he continued, “I understand that poverty is not an abstract, it has been the daily life of you and me … and it kills. It’s true that money bothers us all the time, in part because sometimes we can’t clearly tell the difference between wants and needs. “
He sighed for a moment and continued: “My son, we can want some things in life, we can want them a lot, but we don’t really need them. A blurred line between wants and needs can lead us to take unnecessary risks.” As he struggled to alleviate the pain in his left leg that had just been operated on, he said: “Ayoma, as a young man so eager for a future determined by money, I would not dissuade you from leaving home to search for greener pastures. in other places, you have my blessings wherever you decide to go. ” “Send my regards to your half sister Cecelia”
Ayomah wondered why her mom asked her to send her regards to Cecelia when she was away in Taiwan. He was only going to Nigeria, a half-brother country that shares a cultural and linguistic affinity with his country, Ghana. Why didn’t your mom ask you to send her regards to her other half-sister Patricia, who was in England? It took him another 10 years to accept his mother’s parting words.
She said this at a time when legions of unskilled workers around the world faced barriers to migration as destination countries tightened their borders and toughened their speech. Did Ayomah’s mom wrongly assume that Cecelia was in Nigeria? Weren’t you together at Ghana’s Kotoka International Airport in Accra a couple of months ago to see Cecelia and her Chinese father depart for Taiwan via Amsterdam?
Or was it just that old age and illness had finally taken their toll on Ayomah’s mom? There were no easy answers.