A very sweaty and angry Jamilah dodged yet another motorcycle as she rushed to the market. The early morning hustle to get to the stall at the market on time had caused them to leave the bowl of boiled eggs behind. Jamilah’s mum-Hajia- had lamented severely as they set up to sell. They couldn’t afford to not have eggs served with the waakye-she felt it was an abomination to do so.
Unfortunately, the taxi driver who had driven them along with their already prepared food had just sped off to go and serve another customer who had kept calling incessantly during their whole journey. Hajia had turned with wide eyes to stare sternly at Jamilah and hissed a command at Jamilah to go back home to get the eggs.
Jamilah had tried retorting that it wasn’t her fault the eggs hadn’t been carried along and tried pointing out that it was her elder sister-Haneefa- who had been in charge of boiling them and ensuring they had been packed along with the other items for transport.
Hajia’s response to Jamilah’s apparent act of disrespect was a resounding loud slap on Jamilah’s back causing her to lounge forward as if to fall. With teary eyes and no further comments, Jamilah had darted home through the almost empty streets, praying she made it back before her mother began serving the customers.
Another close manoeuvre around a motorcycle caused her to almost collide with a wooden truck whose owner seemed grossly exasperated.
‘Are you blind? Can’t you see?! Stupid girl! Big fool!’ The truck pusher screamed at her, throwing his hands in all directions.
Jamilah wasn’t concerned with the young gentleman nor his truck. She checked to ensure the eggs in the bowl, which she carried on her head, were still intact and hurried off. The sun was rising and she knew she was running late. She couldn’t spare a moment quarrelling over who was wrong and who should apologize and demand an apology.
Later that same morning, when the ‘kanzo’ of the waakye remained and there was almost no accompaniment left, an exhausted Abu pulled his truck and settled under a shade formed by a tree. He had packed just a few meters from Hajia’s acclaimed waakye stall. With occasional checks on the safety of his only source of income-the wooden truck on wheels with an extended metal rod to aid pulling- he proceeded to the wooden stall and ordered the last of what remained of Hajia’s special waakye.
Jamilah was engrossed with counting how much money they had made from the day’s sales and didn’t bother looking up as the last customer began ordering. It was when she had finished serving and impatiently waited as the customer fruitlessly searched his clothes for money to pay that she realized who it was- The Silly truck pusher from the morning encounter.
For a moment Jamilah felt like barking out an insult but held her tongue by pressing her teeth hard against it. Abu kept frantically searching for the money he had made from work that day. Shoving his hand deeper into the left pocket of his faded,over sized jeans trousers he felt a gaping hole through which half of his hand could slide into. It had been long he wore this particular pair of jeans trousers. It dawned on him that the rats in his ramshackle kiosk might have chewed at most of the fabric that made the pocket.
He knew the money he had made during the day was all gone because he had been putting the proceeds into that particular pocket and he had roamed the whole market. He felt folorn.Turning around to leave, he muttered almost inaudibly to the seller to keep the food.
Jamilah couldn’t hold her tongue any longer but just as she was about to lash out, the gentleman turned to leave mumbling something she couldn’t hear. Jamilah watched as the gentleman walked toward his truck with his head bowed and shoulders slumped. He half leaned, half sat on his wooden truck and stared at the ground.
Jamillah stood still and stared at the man. After a while, she quickly sealed the leaf she had been serving him in, grabbed some chilled sachet water from the ice chest under the counter and left the stall, briskly walking to the gentleman.
Grinning, she opened her hands and offered him the food and water,
‘Hello, my name is Jamilah, Hajia’s daughter.’
But i say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.