Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Have you ever been in a waakye line before? Then this is for you.

Well one day during vacation I decided to visit one my favourite waakye spots. I have a lot of spots when it came to food, the yoo ke gari (beans and gari although the ever present plantain and zomi (palm oil) isn’t mentioned) fufu, banku and the like. I however decided to head for the waakye spot this afternoon. A few meters to the place and I was shocked at the sight before me. The queue was long, well what was I to expect, Maa Grace’s waakye is one of the best in the La Palm-wine junction – Kojo Sardine area. Others like me have made their way to enjoy this delicacy of Maa Grace. Upon reaching there I surveyed the long line to see if there was any familiar face ahead in the queue to whom I could start an innocent chat with to avoid queuing from the back. Most of the people in the queue wore stern faces and from the look of things there was no way I could ‘’cross’’, so I sadly made my way to the back of the queue and like the numerous others before me patiently waited my turn.

Maa Grace knew she had the market at her finger tips. Her shito (a sauce for the waakye) was expertly prepared and the aroma of it called customers from far off places. Although she knew workers started queing at lunch time she was never on time. She always waited till a sizeable queue had formed before she made her way to small wooden road side stall. Added to this she was extremely rude and would easily rain abuses on you if you crossed her. The worst part of it was she always raised her voice to the hearing of even someone across the street. In the queue its always normal to hear stuff like ‘’ahooo 500’’ (tr. your order is too small to be served) or ‘’ohee loo’’ ( are you not buying meat?). Despite all the impoliteness, people still kept coming for her waakye and every afternoon the queue got longer.

I waited patiently in the queue as the others ahead of me got theirs. Some especially the office messengers took longer to order with their long office request. Others like me just shorter , quietly order your waakye and shito and quickly made away to enjoy in the nice relaxation of your home. As it got to my turn I made a quick calculation of exactly how much I was going to buy. This usually depended on how much money I had on me, but as it got closer to you, based on what you have seen others receive you reappraise your orders, a little gari here, some macaroni and if possible some plantain. But on this day I was in no mood for any excesses, I wanted my waakye, I will add the gari at home and that will be it.

‘’Owula enyie ohio’’ and I knew it was my turn. ‘’Ofaine ma he 1500’’ . I was being a little polite in case this fetched me more waakye. With the keke sound of her laddle, Maa Grace served my order. ‘’1500? I exclaimed, but the boy in front of me bought 1,000 and even he had more than me . Of course I said this in my head, who was I to challenge Maa Grace. But this was not fair, this waakye for 1500? after all the distance I walked to get here to get this. I wanted to say something to her, to plead with her if possible that she was not being fair to me. I was buying 1500! Not 1000 like the other person before. More so I am a frequenter to her spot and I deserver better. The seconds were ticking fast and I had to think of something persuasive to say before she wrapped my waakye and sealed my doom.After all as they say ‘’kanewu is better than fashewu hu’’ ( to say it is better than to keep it) So in a most polite manner I could gesture, not shouting but audible enough, I repeated what I had said earlier said but this time only an ‘’Ofaine 1500’’. !!...**()...

I would like to stop my story here. I didn’t mean her any harm nor was it my intention to cause any commotion, my only objective was to get a few spoonful of her waakye on this hot afternoon. Needless to say, as I walked away with abuses behind my back and an unfulfilled objective I decided never to go back to Maa Grace again. Well I did go back after a couple of days staying away, but I never repeated myself again to her and always accepted what I got from her even if the one before me got more than I did, I accepted mine gladly, who said life was fair. Thanks to Maa Grace I understood this better.

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