“If wealth was the inevitable result of hard-work and experience then every woman in Africa would be a millionaire” This is a long overdue tribute to an exceptionally hard-working woman giving her all so that her children may have a better life.
She was early, but then again, she always was. Rain, shine, it didn’t matter.
She was always there. She was there because she had to be there. For them.
She took a nervous look around and scanned the area. No yellow shirts in sight.
She hoped those sneaky bastards hadn’t resorted to hiding again. Or wearing jackets to cover up their council uniforms. She had been unlucky that one time. No, careless and because of that, she had had to part with her wares and the little she had made from the previous day. She hated them yet at the back of her mind she knew that they were just doing their job.
Were they? Was it their job to harass her? Eat her things? Make sure that Jesse didn’t go to school on time because his fees weren’t paid?
How did they sleep at night?
She chose to focus on Jesse. Her sweet boy. To focus on how hard he fought to be independent. She smiled when she thought of him refusing her to pack his lunch box because he was a big boy now.
A customer. She knew all her customers. This one worked at the bank across the street. She heard the boda boda men call him Manager. They called everyone that. This one looked like a manager. She was grateful that he always bought her bananas despite the fact that he always had a big note. She always had to struggle to find his change. He didn’t say much besides the courteous greeting and the courteous good bye. Her first sale of the day. The sun had started to creep up on her. She loved it’s warmth but hated what it brought with it. It stirred the council men from their slumber. It brought them to her.
Another customer. The kind one.
He was always smart. Always asked about her and her children. He looked just about Sara’s age. Maybe a year older. He was late today. Taxis had been problematic, he explained. Like clockwork, she was always sure he’d buy from her. He always had a loose note. As she packed his bananas, a wishful thought crossed her mind. This was the kind of man she hoped Sarah would end up with. Kind. Successful. Not like the company her oldest daughter kept. Not the boys from back home.
If Sara worked hard at school. She could be anything. Then she wouldn’t need to worry about Jesse as much. Maybe he could talk to her. She dismissed the thought the moment it appeared. She was being silly. He had better things to do. She would find a way.
She watched his facial expression change from calm to fear. She didn’t need to turn around to know what he had seen. Who he had seen. He would be in trouble too for buying from her. Supporting her. Keeping her on these streets.
She steadied the basket of bananas on her head. Thanked him and rushed off.
As he walked up to the office building that housed his business, he brushed past the yellow clad council officer. She was long gone by now.
She would be back tomorrow. She always was.