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The Three ‘Ps': Prejudice Predetermining Progress

The long dry untarred road, leads up to a cement-based incomplete bungalow
A row of tables along the veranda, with plastic table covers of bougainvillea
Uniformed men and women, each with a pair of ‘specs’ perched lightly on their nose ridges
Papers strewn left, right and center, and not a single computer in sight

At the gate of so-called opportunity, a long queue waits
Market men and women, ‘kubolor’ boys and girls, and even a politician or two
Colorful Holland print cloths wrapped haphazardly around waists of different sizes,
And you know there was some sort of sleepover the night before

Basins overturned to serve as makeshift chairs
Plastic and steel buckets, for finding water after this quest is done
“Gyai saa”, “Kyel la la”, “Stop that”, and you know the kids are getting restless
In the corner, a group of young men; from their vantage point a sea of well-endowed behinds they do peruse

“The first fifty can come in!” a loud voice pronounces
Scramble for Africa re-enacted, feet and hands gravitating towards that single door
In all the confusion, two do get stuck
One from the capital city itself, the other from a town whose name nobody recalls

“Eh, my two sisters, go in. Everybody else go home! Ah, can’t you count? I said 50!”
With muttered complaints and wagging fists, the others walk away
While Mr. I-finally-feel-important, hurls undeserving insults at their retreating backs
The two momentary Siamese twins eventually dislodge, and assume their rightful places in line

“Hmm, look at the plenty lipstick she has put on her mouth! Definitely a spoiled city brat”
“Ah, what kind of outfit is this? And her hair…waa hwe, she’s wearing chale wote sef”
With an observer’s eye, you’d just see two young women attempting to find a job
But just like that, the dice has been cast, and each had categorized the other without a thought

In the heat of noon, with house flies drifting from one person to another
The girls finally approached the high tables strewn with so many papers
“Yes, how can I help you?” the matron asks
“I want a job”, “I’m looking for work”, both girls say at once

“And why should I hire either of you,” the destiny-holder asks, gazing from one to another
“Because I’m…” Both attempt to put their best foot forward and out-do the other
“Well, there’s only one position left” Ms. Matron proclaims
“Ah, then you have to pick me! She’s not good enough”

Desperation etched on each of their faces, they glare angrily at one another
“Tofiakwa! I’m not going to let that…thing, take this from me”
“Ladies,” a feminine voice calls out “You didn’t even let me finish”
Looking back at their prospective employer, they feel the blood rush to their faces

The first rule in any game is to watch, listen, and learn – and they’d messed up that very first step
“…As I was saying, there’s only one position. But it requires two people who are willing to work together”
Hearts sinking, fingers wringing, they already know what the outcome is
“Obviously, neither of you is qualified for this job, I wish you better luck next time”

High heel grinding stone, chale wote slapping against sand, our two sisters walk away
Once again, at that overbearing iron-gate, they finally look at each other
“After you, my sister” both chime at once, and in equal unison upturned lips appear
Away into the sunset, hand-in-hand this time, they venture forth
Finally realizing that working together is what’s gonna get us all there.

© 2009 Jemila Abdulai


  1. I love this write-up. You have a beautiful style of prose. Hope to read more.

  2. beautiful! i like your story telling style. keep it up gurl!

  3. Thanks ladies!! It's all pretty new to me, but I keep getting a rush of ideas. Will def be posting more :D


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