My teammates (5 guys and a lady), and myself lived in Kpassa over the two-month period, in a chamber and hall apartment, in a compound house (three other tenants). There was no bathroom or toilet inside the building. The bathroom was an open-sky cement-block three-sided barricade on the outside, and the toilet was a pit latrine, cemented over, leaving a hole through which you were expected to aim, no matter the nature of your bowel movement. Now I don’t want to tell you the torture it was to properly aim through, while suffering from diarrhea, which was a constant for us out there. I won’t tell you.

Our immediate neighbours were a young couple; the woman a basic school teacher, and the man was into construction, it seemed. After them was a young doctor who was hardly around, and then another couple, who socialised very little with us, except when the man joined us to play Ludo (of which I was the reigning champion, by the way).

I find myself missing how we became in such a short while. How it could get so hot, we’d spend more time out in the front of the house talking, than indoors. I miss the laughing and the teasing; the sparsely clouded skies in the day, and clear enchantingly starry skies at night – both dramatic in their own right. I miss the noise from children playing just behind the house at very odd hours (sometimes past midnight, I tell you! The other lady on the team was convinced they were spirits), and from singing and dancing from funerals that lasted up to a week, depending on how much money the deceased’s family wanted to show they had (I learned this from my neighbour after one particular funeral had lasted past three days and I’d asked).

I miss market days; yam market days and grain market days. I miss the few times we were delighted to find fresh tomatoes and other salad-friendly vegetables on market days (just twice, actually. The second time they looked so sorry, our excitement died almost immediately). I miss the driver of the only taxi that was in all of Kpassa, and the taxi itself. His name was Jerusalem (the driver, not the taxi) – Jeru for short. The taxi was so old, the fuel tank was a makeshift one made from a kuffour gallon, rag strips, and a pipe hose. The bottom of the car was so thin, we could feel the road under our feet whenever he went over the crudely done speed bumps that over-populated the rocky, dusty road from Kpassa to Damanko, and beyond. I miss his foul mouth! I miss all the Okada rider friends we made and our trips to the remotest parts and back (especially the times we either got thrown off the bikes or ran out of fuel in the middle of nowhere or raced each other) and how over time the riders became our linguists at the community entry stages.

But of them all I miss that young couple who lived right next door to us. I miss how they’d step out, and not caring that the bathroom was out there and open-sky, take their bath together, talking and laughing. I miss how they’d have petty lovers’ quarrels in one moment, and the next moment, she’d be kissing him goodbye before he hopped onto his power bike and rode off. I miss how the boys on my team would jokingly complain to them that they were making single life more difficult for them. And were they not? There were nights they’d be so cosy out in the front, I’d pick the phone and call my man. They were a breath of fresh air. I miss how she’d confidently come knock on our trap door, open it to check what was cooking, and then go back in to bring a bowl for some. I miss the day I made jollof with beef and she shouted from the front of her room that whatever it was that was cooking, I couldn’t not give her after torturing her so, with the aroma. She didn’t know that after the second time, I always cooked with her in mind. Or perhaps she did. She was my favorite foodie.

The day she left for her mother’s because she was due in two weeks, she cried because she said she’d miss us, and she knew she wasn’t going to come meet us when she returned. She and her husband had become like a family for us there. The night of the day she left, the boys mercilessly teased her husband, telling him that they were all going to sleep with their palms locked between their thighs that night. They and him.

When we went in to sleep, one of them reminded us of the day we had argued with her about whether mangoes were fruits or vegetables.

She had insisted it was a vegetable. I remember how the back and forth had got so heated, the more silent couple even joined in. I remember the argument had started because she had brought home enough mangoes for us all and even more. We argued as we ate them. Being reminded of it had us in fits.

We laughed all over again and blamed pregnancy brain. At least it was better than coddling the alarm, knowing she was a basic school teacher.

We had already started missing her.

I think I miss those mangoes too.







4 thoughts on “KPASSA (I)

  1. ” , leaving a hole through which you were expected to aim, no matter the nature of your bowel movement” this made me laugh really hard πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Lovely write ,can wait to go through such experience .

    Liked by 2 people

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