The ongoing ‘dumsor-tronics’ has succeeded in preventing me from staying out late for a while now. Anyway, last Thursday, a few activities kept me in town until about 10:20 pm when I set off from Osu to my abode on the Spintex road.
Been the eve before Christ was crucified, I figured there will be hosts of activities happening in town and so I wasn’t really surprised when I bumped into traffic just after I had initiated the turn from the Danquah Circle Roundabout to Cantonment. Apparently, it was the police on their routine road checks that had considerably slowed down vehicular movement and resulting in the traffic. Getting closer to the check point, a pretty police woman signaled me with a torchlight to drive on, with a smile I drove off whispering to myself, “Ghana mmaa hu ye fe papa”.
As I was approaching the roundabout next to the Togo Embassy, I believed my eyes will be fed with images of those gorgeous ladies who normally line up on that road. Anyone who has plied the stretch of the road between the Togo Embassy roundabout and the Vodafone office at Cantonment, around that hour of the night should have a fair idea of what I mean. It’s a den where a few ladies who still believe in “the world’s oldest profession” ply their trade.
By the time I had covered the full stretch of the road; I was getting disappointed. Not even a single “lady of the night” crossed my sight and that was a huge surprise to me. I tried to figure out if what I had just seen was reality, then it occurred to me ECG had visited the area (DUMSOR). “Maybe I didn’t see them due to the darkness”, the exact words I thought to myself.
So instead of making a left turn towards Airport then to Spintex, I made a right turn in the direction of the Ghana International School and back to the Togo Embassy roundabout. But this time round, with my headlights on; just if I missed them at the first instance due to the ‘Dumsor’. With my lights turned on high and my eyes scanning around, I was once again disappointed; truly the ‘ladies of the night’ had gone on AWOL.
Curiosity was beginning to take the better part of me at this point, a lot of questions running through my mind. Could it be that, the night was still young? Or perhaps business has been good today and clients have already whisked them away? Or maybe, just maybe, they were keeping vigil to prevent ‘Wofa’ Judas from betraying Christ again. Those and many more, were questions i struggled to find answers to. I then decided to abandon my journey home and embark on a fact finding mission. My mission made me drive towards another well known ‘office’ of our ‘sisters’.
Precisely, East Legon, the road between the Media Pharmacy and the intersection at Ghana Link Network Ltd is just a replica of that at Cantonment on any evening. As I made my way pass the famous ‘Atemuda Pub’ which mostly serves as the source of clienteles for our ‘sisters’, I wasn’t met with the sort of buzz I expected. The pub was fairly quiet, I glanced at the time and it was a quarter to 11. As I drove a few meters from the “Atemuda pub”, my headlights fell on a lady dressed to “kill”, I could see her signaling to the cars ahead of me to stop. Finally, a clear sign of our ‘sisters’ at work, I went by 2 more of them and just at the intersection at Ghana Link was another.
Only 4 of them on the eve before the long Easter weekend, was still shocking. Now, the thought of satisfying my curiosity set in; I reversed towards the last lady, whom I could see also moving towards my car. I stopped, and before I could utter a word, she had opened the door and sat down. At that moment I was confused and I felt my heart beating faster than usual. As I thought of my next action, she broke the silence in the car. “Hi Sweetie, what’s up for the night, I don’t do sleepovers, only short time?” With a trembling voice, I asked,” what do you mean by that”, she looked at me with surprise and angrily said, “I’m a prostitute, you stopped to pick me up and have fun so stop wasting my time”. I quickly figured what to do since I didn’t even know why and how come I stopped and reversed to where she was. Instantly, I told her I didn’t stop for the purposes of her services, but if she didn’t mind, we could drive back to the pub behind us and have a drink which she obliged to.
As we drove back to the ‘Atemuda pub’, she made it clear to me she only obliged to my request because business has been at a low for a while. By the time we had gotten off from the car, we seem to have struck a good acquaintance. I ordered for a bottle of water whilst she opted for a can of beer, she pulled a stick of cigarette from a pack in her hand bag. DAMN!! I couldn’t stand the mere sight of cigarette, how much more inhaling the smoke, but I pretended to be okay with that. She preferred we sat in the car than in the pub, so we did and mine oh mine, the smoke I will inhale in the next few minutes was more than I have had in my entire life. I dropped the question I thought would have made her gone nuts, but she didn’t. My exact words, “Why is a pretty lady like you doing this?” after a deep sigh, she tells of how she really needed someone to speak with. I availed myself.
She goes ahead to introduce herself in a manner that will send shivers down my spine. “My name is Eden; I’m 27 and a banker (Name changed for confidentiality). Almost jumping from my seat startled, she pulls out her ID card from the handbag to prove she’s truly a banker. “I don’t even know how I got myself into all this s**t, but I blame my first boyfriend for this” she said. Seemingly, her first boyfriend broke her virginity and they kept on having sex until she had become addicted to it. It was only after the relationship came to an end that she became conscious of the addiction. Eden could barely go a day or two without it and had to quickly jump into another relationship just to satisfy her sexual desires. Unfortunately, none of the 4 relationships she got in could last for a year and she felt used and dumped. “The decision was simple, instead of guys using and dumping me, why don’t I make extra money whilst I have ‘fun’ and satisfy my sex desires” she spoke almost in tears.
For once, I got to know that, not all ladies involved in the act of prostitution do it due to financial difficulties and the other ‘traditional’ reasons I’ve always known. It’s been 2years since she started prostituting on part time basis as she has her day job at the bank but Eden tells me she has lost count of the number of men she’s had as clients. No one knows she does that, not even her closest buddy. Her greatest fear is to be seen by someone who knows her. In response to my question in relation to pregnancy and STD’s, Eden told me she was on contraceptives and as much as she could, she protects herself from STD’s and also have regular medical checkups.
I told her I had driven all the way from Cantonment after I noticed the absence of the ladies along the street. Her response startled me once more, “Oh yeah, Cantonment, I used to be there, but business slowed down and so most of the girls went to other places, that’s how I came here and at Cantonment too, a couple of the girls were attacked by some unscrupulous persons who took advantage of the darkness whenever the lights went off”. She lamented on how the current load shedding exercise is the nemesis of reduction in their business, since their clients aren’t making enough money from their various businesses to spare a bit of it on them for ‘fun’. But for her personally, her motivation clearly isn’t the money, but the satisfaction.
At this point, I figured she was getting nervous and suspicious, “I hope you are not Anas”, she angrily said. I laughed as I assured her am not Anas and also not an ‘Anas’. I also wanted to know why she had indicated earlier on she doesn’t do sleepovers but only short-times. “How do you expect me to get to work in the mornings? I only do short time, once I have my satisfaction am good to go”. She peeps at the time on her phone and tells me she has to leave, I asked of my bill for her time which I have spent, with a gleaming smile, she pinches me on my thigh and says, “Naughty boy, we are friends now, abi?” I offered to drop Eden off as she claimed she was going home but she rejected, neither will she give me her phone number. Nonetheless, she took mine and promised to call me sometime soon. With a warm hug, she said goodbye and hopped into a taxi.
I spent the next few minutes trying to come to terms with what I had just experienced and almost cursing myself for not been able to offer her any help, but probably it was due to the manner she abruptly ended the conversation. When I had finally come to terms with reality, it dawned on me I had another 20 minutes of a journey before I get home. I turned on my ignition and vroom!! I sped off, hoping to receive that call sometime soon as my new friend Eden had just promised.
Writer: Nana Yaw Sam
Source: Nana Yaw Sam.