A Day in Ancient Ghana- Narrative written by Me
Morning began with a sore back. I lifted myself from the floor and wiped dust from my skin. The walls were warm to the touch. Another hot day. It was almost like there was a fire burning in every room of my home. I brushed the cotton curtain from my door and looked out on the early morning. My mbwa lifted his head and began to wag his tail. He barked and jumped to his feet. “Hush, Ayokunle. Come.” I said. He barked again and followed me happily. The sky was just starting to turn orange and pink from the rising sun, though the moon lingered on the opposite side of the sky. My camel that I was tending to made a grunting sound as I walked past it. I stopped and clicked my teeth. It walked to me and shoved its head at me. I stroked the top of its head. “I will see you soon, Imamu.” I said and patted his neck. I walked down the path away from my hut and Imamu made a grunted call to me. He bounded up to the edge of his fence space and grunted again. I turned and whistled for Ayokunle. He barked at Imamu and sent him running back the other direction. I whistled again and he raced towards me, tail wagging and tongue lolling from his mouth. The signs of life were starting to become visible. Early morning farmers beginning there tending to their crops, women starting to tend to their small children, dogs barking, some whistles and laughter. I walked past it all, snapping for Ayokunle from time to time to get him away from the others. The river was bubbling at the bend. I dipped my hand into the water and took a deep drink. It was cold on my parched throat, and I could feel it dropping into my stomach. I took another deep drink before pushing the clothes off my shoulder and stepping into the river. The water froze me to the bone, but in comparison to the heated oppression of the air around me, it was a relief. Ayokunle jumped into the water and paddled to me. I ruffled his ears and splashed water at him. He barked and paddled around me in circles until he became tired and returned to the shore to dry on a rock. I soaked until the sun rose over the distant hills. Leaving the water was upsetting. The heat was an instant weight on my shoulders. I pulled back on my cotton clothes and whistled for Ayokunle. He lifted his head and followed me silently. “Habari, Nyah.” Some of the people called out to me. I smiled and waved to them, though their eyes held sadness. I tried to ignore them, but it weakened my mood. Not many women live on their own in Kumbi Saleh, especially if they are as young as I. At the age of 16, I should be married with a child of three years and a newborn on my back, but I was alone. After my father’s death about a year ago, I have been maintaining the small farm my family had owned since my mother and father had married. It grew only grain, but it produced enough to go to market every week. The Kumbi Saleh market was bustling and the centre of our society. My father hoped that once Imamu was big enough that he could be used to trade, so that once I found a husband and a family, if I ever did, that I would be able to take our crops farther for trading. Perhaps, he had hoped, we could travel to Egypt, where the pharaohs lived in golden palaces, and Constantinople with the giant churches with blue spires. Imamu was now big enough, but I couldn’t leave the farm unsupervised. Many of my close friends would gladly supervise, but it made me nervous to leave home. I returned to my hut and brushed away the cotton cloth door. It was burning inside I sighed, sweat already forming on my brow. I came to one of the far walls and grabbed the ground hoe. I took it with both my hands and swung it into the wall. It broke away and I started to pull on the mud. As soon as the hole had been made large enough I smeared water from the small pot and smeared it on, smoothing the rough edges. My father would have screamed at me if he saw me now, but only the gods watched my anger. After my slight anger subsided I eat a handful of kenkey from the stores and went out to the field. Ayokunle followed me as I grabbed the bundles of grain from the day before and as I saddled Imamu. He made a groaning sound and went to his knees. I climbed up on his hump and grabbed the reins. “Ti, Ti!” I urged him on. He stood, groaning, and I made my way down the road. The Niger River rushed beside me, making for a nice background. A few people in my village called greetings to me, and I would wave. I urged Imamu with another clicking sound and slap to the side. He trotted for a while until it became too hot. The sun burned above me and I wiped my brow. Soon the skyline of Kumbi Saleh was ahead of me. People streamed in through the entrances with their wares. I settled Imamu near some of the pother farmers from my village. We greeted and chatted until the trades came through for barter. It was a long day. I traded half of my grain for clothes to make more clothing, and the other half for three coins of gold. After all my grain was gone, I went to the salt trader, who gave a bag of it for all three coins. The bag was no bigger than a scarab beetle. When the sun began to descend, I headed back home to my village along with the other traders. We chatted about the traders and how much salt or gold we had gained. Imamu and the other camels they were riding were slow, not even responding to our clicking sounds. Soon the moon peeked above the few trees we had. The air was pleasingly cool as soon as the sun descended. They began to laugh and pass around a wineskin, but rejected the offer. They became drunken fools as we reached the village. The men’s wives scolded them for drinking too much, and I kept a smile to myself as I tied up Imamu. Ayokunle barked at me and licked my fingers. I smiled and brought in my wares, hanging them on a stick that ejected from the wall. I was moving the clothing around when one of the men’s wives came to my door. I wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t for Ayokunle. He began to bark wildly, scaring her to the point of just rushing in the door. “Nyah, would you share our food?” she asked. I hesitated, but then remembered what my father would have said. I accepted the offer but asked for a moment to change from the travelling clothes. I pulled one of my new clothes and fastened it in the proper manner. I left Ayokunle whining and made my way to their home. It was lit up with candles and smelled of cooking food. Her and her husband greeted me and introduced me to their son, Ameqran. I sighed. Another plot to marry me off. He smiled at me, and was at least three years older than me. We chatted for most of the night, and I was very surprised that I actually enjoyed my conversation with him. He was a kind man, and I had seen him work the fields before. At the end of the night, I was sorrowful to leave. His mother asked me of my opinion and I said that I would like to speak to him again sometime. Perhaps my life was turning around.