When I read the first part of this article online, I was disappointed in my ‘sister’ for not telling me she was going to share our whole life online. But on a second thought I forgave her because I knew she did it to help others who still think like I used to. I thought of supporting her good course by scripting the second part.
It was our last year and last semester and I had chosen to do a free elective that semester so I had to attend a lecture that morning. Not long after I left did I call Asiedua. My mother, whose birthday was coming up that weekend, was returning from a business trip that morning. We were still planning her surprise party and my father was supposed to pick her up from the Airport that morning.
“Asiedua”! – I called out her name in a soft shaky voice when she said hello.
“Offy what’s up – what is it – is everything okay”? She asked as she sensed some kind of fright in my voice.
“I’m at Korle Bu. Can you call your parents please”? I replied.
“Is everything alright? What are you doing at Korle- Bu”? She asked. “No time for questions Asiedua, please call them now”! I told her in my shaky voice.
I walked into Offy’s office that afternoon to pick her out for lunch as usual. I met her crying and typing behind her desk. “Not again Offy”! I said as I got closer to find out what had triggered the tears that afternoon. She was actually typing this very piece! I don’t know why she wanted to do it and she broke down because she tried to remember what we were still trying to make her forget. I apologised to her after reading the introduction and promised her I would continue from where she stopped.
Well…now that you know where Offy called me from, let’s go and find out why she was there.
I ended the call quickly and phoned my mother whose shop was close to Korle-Bu. I started preparing to join them. I arrived at the Korle – Bu Teaching Hospital after about an hour, only to find Ofeibea wailing while my mother consoled her in front of the Emergency Ward. I was told Ofeibea’s parents had been involved in a car crash on the N1 Highway and they were in critical condition.
My father joined us later. At about 4:00pm, the doctor showed up and asked to see my parents in his office. I was as sad as Offy was but I had to be strong so I could console her.
Minutes later, my parents emerged from the doctor’s office looking normal. “The doctor said their condition was stable,” my father told someone on phone as he walked towards the car. My mother tried to fake a smile as she also got closer. “Doctor says they need rest,” Daddy said after he ended the phone call.
“Can we see them”? Offy and I asked in chorus. “Not today,” daddy retorted. “They will be fine,” Mummy added. My father directed that we all went straight to our house. There was total silence in the car till we got home. I knew everything was not as good as they assured.
We arrived home very late, they tried to convince us to eat but we couldn’t. Mummy came to wake us up at about 3:30am the next day but, before that I had heard them praying throughout. We joined them and about an hour after, we were all ready to leave for the hospital. We went to Offy’s house to pick up some clothes for her parents.
We arrived at the hospital few minutes before the morning visiting hours. Offy’s mother was in bed with an oxygen mask on her face at the female ward as we entered. I couldn’t hold back my tears as Offy knelt beside her mother’s bed and talked to her motionless body.
We were told we could not see her father because his condition had worsened during the night and was being prepared for surgery.
“Have you called any of you aunties”? Mummy asked Offy.
“Not yet,” she said.
Offy’s mother had two sisters who were both married. One of them lived in Kumasi and the other lived in Accra. Her father was the first of two children. Offy told me of her dad’s frequent fights on phone with his younger brother.
According to her, her father tried several times to set up businesses for his brother after he graduated from the University, but he would always go and come back for more money. And her father got tired of giving him money. The brother ceased coming after her mother gave him a huge sum of money without her father’s knowledge.
Offy’s father died during the surgery and before his body was deposited at the mortuary, her mother also gave up. My sister’s life changed from then. She could not stand the mere mention of her parents’ names. She refused to go to their house. I don’t think she can ever forget that stage of her life.
Few weeks before the burial, some people who claimed to be her father’s family members invaded their house and kicked her out. They claimed Offy wasn’t their son’s biological daughter. You should have seen the shock with which we all received the news. She had known only one father her whole life, and that was the late one. She had his surname.
She had no other place to go other than our house. Like I always say, family is not always blood but the people, who appreciate you, want you in their lives, love you and do anything to see you happy. I can never thank my family enough for accepting her and making her part of the family.
Offy’s parents were buried on the same day. The saddest moment was when she filed past the bodies. She wailed like it was the end of her world. I couldn’t control my tears either. They would have both risen if tears could bring back the dead.
Not long after the burial did banks start taking over some of Offy’s late father’s assets.
We started serving the nation few months after we graduated from the University last year. It was very difficult for Offy at the beginning because she hadn’t trained herself for something like that. She never dreamt a day like that would ever come but, ready or not, she had to face the reality and do something for herself.
She had some amount of money in her account. My mother advised that she started something with it. She thought of going into events organisation while I continued with my fashion business until she received some exciting news.
Offy had a call from an insurance company last week, only to hear that her mother was their client and her claims were ready. I thought it was going to be a relief but, no. Offy has a whole new way of thinking now. Guess what she plans to do with the money; she wants to start an NGO to honour her parents and to help the needy.
I’m so happy with her decision and I think this is one of the best she’s ever made, particularly for someone like her, whose only goal then was to be a beauty queen, get married and live on her father’s wealth travelling around the world. So now that makes two of us. Offy now knows her father had all the wealth, but none of it was hers. She now knows her parents’ wealth was only a means to an end and not an end in itself.