I was combining work and school when Kojo came with his family to see mine and performed the knocking rites. He wasn’t working at the time. He was pursuing law at a private university. However, he had hopes that he would get a job soon. So during the knocking ceremony, he assured my dad that he would marry me by September 2015. I told him that we should start buying the items with the little that we have so that we wouldn’t be overwhelmed when the time starts drawing near. His only response was one excuse after the other.
Then September came and went by with no marriage. My family was disappointed but they didn’t make a fuss about it. What caused them to make a fuss was when I got pregnant in 2016. My dad told him, “I understand that you don’t have money to marry her but you’ve gotten her pregnant. So you have to pay her dowry to signify that you are married. Later when you get money, you can go to church and bless the marriage.” So he had to go and buy all the items on the marriage list and present them to my family. After the items were collected, my dad told me we were married.
After that ceremony, it was difficult to get money from Kojo. He wouldn’t send me money for the antenatal clinic. When I asked that we start buying the items on the list for the baby, he said “We will buy them when you get to the eighth month.” By then I wasn’t earning up to GHC400, yet I saved out of that money for my fees and upkeep. With the baby’s needs in the picture, I started buying the items on the list anytime I received my salary.
During my eighth month, Kojo’s mother took ill seriously, and he spent over GHC3000 to bring his mum back to life. He did very well mum for his mum, and I was glad he did. However, he never tried to do the bare minimum for me and the baby. I practically had to pull my own weight till the baby arrived. After I gave birth, things became harder for us. My organization started having financial difficulties. Salaries were delayed until they finally stopped coming. I couldn’t pay the rest of my fees, but grace made room for me to write my final exams. I wrote the exams alright, but I haven’t collected my certificate because I owe the school.
Whatever little money I gathered went into housekeeping. Utility bills and rent were my major headache. When it was time for our child to go to school, I single-handedly paid for the cost. Kojo could go for three months without talking to me. He wouldn’t even send a text to ask about his child. I walked through the storms of parenthood alone. In early 2020, he decided to relocate to my town. He came to live with me and became my responsibility.
I had to scout for jobs and mostly did menial jobs to cater for the home. Kojo would sit at home and make calls on top of his voice to the hearing of our neighbours. Per the kind of calls he made, people thought all was well with us financially. One day he woke up and said, “I have decided to go into politics. That is where the money is.” He is the type of person who cannot be advised. He does what he wants without weighing the pros and cons first. Whenever I try to help him take a critical look at his choices, he calls me a dream killer. This time too was no different. How can you go into politics when you owe rent? I tried to talk him out of it but it didn’t work.
He left for his village to contest for the assemblyman position in his neighbourhood. He spent money I didn’t know he had, on the campaign and lost the election miserably. When I called him for money, he told me he didn’t have anything. My daughter and I starved. My friends and family got to know about his political ambition and withdrew all their financial support. The question they kept asking me was, “Which poor man ventures into politics?” So I resorted to begging on Facebook giveaways.
We were already owing rent. I begged the landlord to give me some time to make payment. The landlady was very considerate. She was patient with me until she learned that Kojo is now a politician. She started sending me eviction notices while I kept pleading with her to give me time. We lived from hand to mouth from the little I got from my hustling field. Sometimes I took it as a win when my little girl goes to school. I knew that she would get served a decent breakfast and lunch.
Anytime there is no food at home, Kojo would pack his things and go to his village, leaving me and the child alone to fend for ourselves. We struggled until he finally decided to go back to Accra and find a car for uber. Two weeks into the work, the president announced a lockdown. He came back to us, and for three nights he did not sleep at home. On the first day he returned, he gave me GHC50 and said, “Use this money to cook for six people.” Some of his relatives were in town. I did what he wanted and it went well. Come to think of it, that was the only time he ever gave me money.
On the third day after he came back from wherever he went to spend the night, I overheard him arguing on the phone with someone. I eavesdropped and realised it was our landlady and her sons. A few minutes later, I received a call from the landlady’s daughter. She said my husband threatened to sue them for harassment when they called to demand their money. They didn’t intend to appear in court because they demanded what rightfully belonged to them, so they gave us until the end of march to vacate the apartment and pay for the six months’ rent we accrued. When I got to the room I realized Kojo had packed his things again. He informed me that he was going to his village. He left my daughter and me to face whatever fate awaited us. It was a dying moment for me. Depression, hunger and eviction enveloped me.
It hurt so bad to see my daughter going through this with me. No, this is not the world I planned to give my child. I packed our belongings and started scouting for a room even though I didn’t have any money. It took three months for me to find a place. During this period, the landlady didn’t give me space. Sometimes I woke up to macho men coming to evict me. I would plead with them and they would have mercy on me. But when the landlady sends them, they would come again. They kept me on my toes until I finally packed my things out on 2nd July 2020.
Before that, I kept praying to God for a breakthrough. One day, my previous job paid all the salaries they owed me. I used that money to settle my debts and find a new place. I asked Kojo to support me with GHC3,000 to cover the cost of my rent and he gave me only GHC1300. Through it all, I couldn’t stop thanking God for making a way for me when I had hit a dead end. My prayer to put shelter over my daughter’s head was answered and that gave me some relief.
The battle is not over yet. There are times I regret the choices I made that led me to Kojo. But I shake it off and tell myself, “If I hadn’t met him, I wouldn’t have had my beautiful daughter.” Yes, there are days I feel like I have failed her. I didn’t give her the best father, stable home, and good living standard. However, I made her a promise to never give up. I will keep striving to give her everything she deserves.