Before I start on the Azonto girls, I just want to have a quick moan about headmistress. She was annoyed with this morning, she gave me a deadline of today to find out the cost of the photographer, she asked me today and I said no I hadn’t done it. She then reminded me that the deadline was today. It was like an hour to our Friday meeting and I was preparing my presentation. I had only found out “my task” the day before and my ovaries were hurting so much I could barely speak. But before I had a chance to respond she had given a loud huff, so I thought it was best I keep quiet and not let the matter spiral. The pain in my uterus got really bad so had to go out and sit down for a while so I went and sat by the poolside for a while. That’s where I met the Azonto girls, but I will talk about that later.
I went back to the office a while later, put my earphones in so that I can concentrate on catching up on the trawl of emails that were insisting on flooding my inbox. I get a message on IM, my colleague said I was being extremely quiet. Men, you complain when a girl talks too much and when she doesn’t talk you say she’s too quiet, and they say we are the complicated ones. I look up and headmistress has a face like thunder and my Ivorian colleague is calling out to her to apologise, while the rest of the group was trying to calm down the situation. What did I miss. I hit my colleagues up on IM, apparently I missed out while I was bopping away to Bob Marley’s small axe. All I heard was headmistress say “I let a lot of things slide but you have to know that you have really hurt me”. At 5pm on the dot, headmistress left to go home, shortly followed by the rest of the Ghanaian mafia. So I had the opportunity to get the 411 on what happened. My Ivorian colleague was clearly shaken up and surprised by his reaction. A 25 year old boy, his first job was in our Ivorian office and a year later he was transferred to our office handling the biggest category we do and the one with the biggest problems. Already his head no dey see top and then he also has to deal with the headmistress’ outburst. I am still not 100% on the events leading up to what was said but he said to her jokingly “hey, I’m talking to you, you have to listen to me”, that one she bore that how dare he talk to her like that. This is the woman who calls the managers in the country’s and berates them like a small child for not performing their system healthchecks. This is the one who started wagging her finger and shaking her neck like Lequicia from the Bronx just because this same guy didn’t know why a 4×4 is called so. But today she was offended. I better get this estimate for the photographer before I get it on Monday.
So to the Azonto girls. I was sitting by the poolside, with my sunglasses on so that Mr Henry behind the bar would not see that I was actually asleep while he was letting off steam about the immoral activities of his employers and colleagues in the hotel. Once in a while I would nod, and open my eyes to see if he noticed that I had just let out a snort where I had just fallen into actual sleep. There were about 4 senior school aged boys swimming, when in walks the Azonto girls (it was actually Mr Henry that coined this phrase and it stuck). Five girls with brightly coloured short clothes and all sorts of hairstyles. It was one of the girl’s birthday and she had bought a bottle of wine and shouted her friends to a day by the pool. The rate for the pool was 6ghs but they got in for 5 each as they would not let up until they got the price down. The usual man who is in charge of the pool was off, a tall guy who would not even crack a smile let alone decrease the price, but Mr Henry is a 60 something year old man who doesn’t like trouble so is a pushover. I ordered a plate of fried yam and chicken, after the day before’s canteen experience I wanted something edible. The girls changed into their swimsuits, all bikini clad except for one who was quite a heavy girl, she wore a rather garish brightly coloured all in one and shook what her mother gave her, flirting with the boys in the pool. They would come up occasionally, for a star, another star, a couple of cokes, then they went in for the wine. They asked for music, but were told that the office workers would complain, so they started singing and dancing to their own tune.
After I finished eating I went back to the office, but when I came back later while waiting for the car (it did get serviced in the end but very late as it was not priority apparently) Mr Henry filled me in on their escapades, and I witnessed the ending. The birthday girl had sponsored the whole day but with all the alcohol, the cokes and the swimming, it got to the end of the day and they were hungry. Birthday girl was down to her last 20ghs but a plate of rice and chicken cost 8ghs each, they could have bought 2 plates but they had to think of the cab fare home. The Azonto girlies didn’t bring any money with them obviously. These are girls who do not work (I know this because they told Mr Henry and he in turn told me). Birthday Azonto girl was given a little something something from her boy to celebrate her day and here they were. Its funny, in my world, the birthday girl usually doesn’t spend any money. I remember back in London it was my friend P’s birthday and we went to a nice restaurant. Her friends ordered champagne, when the bill came these same friends said she shouldn’t pay a thing. Now I didn’t mind that part, but these were lawyers on a champagne wage, I was a case worker on a bottle of wine wage, but all the same it was my best friend P and I had bought enough money for my food and for any incidental’s. These girls were expecting the birthday girl to pay for everything.
So they turned to plan B. The guys in the pool. They went over to where they were seated and started to flirt. But it soon became apparent that these were school boys who barely had enough money to come swimming and were taking the tro-tro home (even at that one, they begged Mr Henry for 1ghs to get them home). The wise girls they were, they went back down to the corner they were originally seated. They found their next target, the grown men at the bar. One brushed passed him and said “sorry”, may have been perfectly innocent, but when they started saying how hungry they were quite loudly within earshot, well I started to think otherwise. One of the guys was thinking about giving the girls some extra cash as he has kids their age but something stopped him, these girls he said were probably looking to trap a sugar daddy so he thought otherwise. In London I would say don’t be silly, but here, he’s probably right. There is a certain type of girl here, a professional but not an Ashawo per se. She’s a hustler, she doesn’t do internet fraud 419 or sakawa but if your a guy and you fall into her trap, that’s her rent, hair and clothing sorted out. Well we all have to make a living. It makes more money than the guy standing outside the club and watches your car the whole night, she got about 50ghs to bankroll her day, the guy who says “bra, bra, bra” all night while helping you to park straight he will get a couple of cedi’s if he’s lucky, maybe he will get 50ghs but it would take a longer time .
For the Azonto girls, no luck at the poolside, so they packed up and went home. I am sure they found some affordable rice and chicken on the way home. At the Waakye spot I can get waakye, rice, fish and egg for 2ghs, it doesn’t have the poolside ambience but it does the trick.
Ghana is a very interesting place to live in.