An African City: S2E3-Love, Grief and Jollof

girls in white 1

The girls are sitting in Nana Yaa’s living room dressed in all white. Nana Yaa enters the living room wearing a white dress and all the girls love her outfit except Ngozi, who feels her dress is too tight and revealing for a funeral ( I agree the neck line is plunging). Sade says since they are going to a funeral they have to showcase the highest of fashion for the occasion. Zainab asks if they are right to be wearing white to the funeral. Makena assures her that the deceased was over 80 and white is the appropriate colour. Ngozi says she heard it was black and white so she brought a black shawl just to be safe. Nana Yaa says the invitation also had a cloth requirement [the chief mourners usually make a cloth and have their friends and family members wear the same cloth as them at the funeral/or thanksgiving service]. Sade talks about how she refuses to pay 65 GHS (Ghana Cedis) a yard for a funeral cloth that has a dead persons face on it.

girls in white 2

At the funeral the girls see a professional mourner [in Akan culture  women are hired to cry on behalf of the family. They are very dramatic and sometimes say speeches about the deceased and how they will be missed. Learned in University this is like a form of poetry] crying over the coffin. Nana Yaa says that the lady sounds like how she feels at that moment. She tells the girls that it is weird for her to wake up and not have Fidel there but assures the girls that she will be alright. Nana Yaa talks about the funeral and how the family of the deceased could not decide on what colour to use for the funeral. The girls talk about how there should be a handbook on culture to help people know what to exactly follow in certain situations.

Nana Yaa panics that she hasn’t brought any money when she sees people in the church with big brown envelopes of money to give to the family. Ngozi hands her some money so she doesn’t have to worry. Ngozi asks Nana Yaa if Fidel is at the funeral and she says she doubts he will be there. The girls also ask her if Segun will be at the funeral and she says no, but that is a lie because she knows that he will be at this funeral. Sade is at the funeral busy flirting with a man she refers to as “Mr. Big Brown Envelope”. Zainab says she recognizes half of the people at the funeral from Tinder (didn’t know that GH people were using that app). Ngozi asks what Tinder is exactly and Makena tells her it is an app for hooking up. Zainab disagrees and says she uses Tinder for business connections (yeah I really doubt that).

Zainab sees a guy she went out on a date with and tries to hide under the pew so he wont see her. Apparently a few weeks before Zainab had gone on a date with Kofi, a 32 year old who claimed to be 6’2 on his social media page but when they met up he turned out to be 16 years old and 5’5. (I can’t believe this boy showed up dressed like a late 90’s rapper)

zainab rapper date

After the funeral is done Makena tells Ngozi that she needs to go home and prepare for her final interview at the law firm. Ngozi tells her that she will be fine and that she is praying for her. Makena makes a weird face and asks if Ngozi will be praying to “that guy” as she points to the picture of a white Jesus found on the church wall. Ngozi replies yes, that she will be praying to God. Makena points again to the picture and says how interesting it is that even in West Africa Jesus looks like Brad Pitt.

ngozi n makena

Outside the church Nana Yaa spots Segun standing outside as well. Nana Yaa is trying to redeem herself after being “out-twi’d” by Segun’s wife Kuukuwa (I have no idea why she cares so much about this). Nana Yaa approaches Segun with Zainab by her side.

nana yaa-zainab-funeral

Segun is surprised to see her. He calls over his wife and asks if she remembers Nana Yaa [The look Kuukuwa gave her! Im not sure if it was because of her revealing outfit or something else] and she says she does remember her from their one time meeting. Nana Yaa starts speaking in Twi telling Kuukuwa that she looks beautiful. Kuukuwa responds in English and thanks her for the compliment. Nana Yaa continues to speak in Twi about the deceased who was a judge that had known her since she was a child and how it was so said he had died. She even turns to Zainab to ask her if the situation is sad and Zainab being a good friend speaks in Twi as well to say this situation is very sad. Kuukuwa replies in English that it is very sad and asks to be excused because she sees some other people she must say hi to.

Segun n Kukuwaa

Segun asks Nana Yaa how she is doing and how it has been a long time since they last saw each other. Nana Yaa cant focus on what Segun is saying because she can hear Kuukuwa speaking a different language with other people. Nana Yaa asks Zainab what language Kuukuwa is speaking and finds out that not only can she speak Twi but she can speak, Ga, Fanti and Hausa. Nana Yaa is upset and wonders if Kuukwua thinks she is the United Nations of languages (the jealousy is too strong and not necessary)

Segun Kukuwaa Nana Yaa Zainab

The following day Makena has her final interview with the law firm (does it take this long to interview for a law firm? no wonder why they charge so much). The interviewer tells Makena that her Ghana Bar results and references from the London branch of the company are excellent and that she has a job with them. They tell her that she will be holding the same title and position that she did when she worked for the firm in London. He asks her what are her salary expectations.

maken- law office

Makena tells him that in London she made £5,000 a month ($7,000 US or 28,952 GHS Cedis). The interviewer is shocked and says the London office never informed him of those figures and that they had only budgeted for 2,000 GHS Cedis a month (£345.37 or $500.50 US) for the position she applied for. Makena is shocked at the amount, but the interviewer tells her that the living standards are lower in Accra and she is no longer in London and the position is not eligible for an expat salary but a local salary.

makena-lawoffice

That evening Sade met up with the man she was flirting with at the funeral who she calls Mr. Big Brown Envelope. She spends her time in his car kissing him.

nana yaa call

Nana Yaa is getting measured by a seamstress  in her house when she gets a phone call from Segun. She seems upset to see that he is calling her (but yet she wanted to see him at the funeral).

segun-calls

Segun tells her that it was good seeing her the other day at the funeral. He also talks to her about the fact that she could tell that him and Kuukuwa went through with the marriage. He tells Nana Yaa that it was just the traditional wedding which is only ceremonial and that they didn’t sign any documents. Segun tells Nana Yaa that it is important for him to let her know that fact.

girls after the call

Nana Yaa meets up with the girls to grab a bite to eat and she tells them what Segun told her on the phone. Zainab asks her why she even cares what Segun told her (I’m wondering the same thing). Ngozi says that traditional weddings are not real marriages [That is a lie. In Ghana  traditional wedding are real and valid if you don’t do a traditional wedding many dont consider you married] Makena says Ngozi’s statement is BS and that Segun and Kuukuwa are together and  she is shocked that after all the time Nana Yaa spent with Fidel didn’t help stop her feelings for Segun. Nana Yaa admits that being with Fidel didn’t help her get over Segun.

Zainab suggests Nana Yaa see a therapist and offers the card of one she visits when she is frustrated about business (I love that they have therapists in Ghana. So important and necessary). Zainab tells Nana Yaa that seeing a therapist will help her deal with her infatuation with Segun. Nana Yaa says no to the offer. Makena asks her why she is turning the offer down. Nana Yaa explains that they are in Ghana and it not acceptable for her to see a therapist because everyone will assume she is crazy. Zainab says she is a lil cray cray to still be thinking about Segun after all this time. Nana Yaa argues that Doctors in Accra are not discrete and tells the story of her father’s friend who is a Gynecologist and how he comes over to their house every Sunday to tell her father about the private matters of his patients. The Doctor tells her father about prominent women they know who visit him to treat all kinds of conditions like yeast infections.

girls dinner-expat pay

Makena decides to change the subject and talk about an email she has just received from the law firm about her salary demand. Makena talks about not being offered the same salary like she had in London and asks the girls if they are having the same issue with work. Sade says she is making the same amount she did in the US (when are we going to see Sade at work?) and has her income supplemented by the men she seduces like Mr. Big Brown Envelope. Nana Yaa tells Makena that she doesn’t make the same amount of money working for the radio station. Zainab says her sales in shea butter are great but the exchange rate is her struggle. Makena talks about how painful salary negotiations have been for her. Nana Yaa tells her not to take the job offer but Makena says she has to take the job because she has been unemployed for so long and has been living off her savings waiting for a job. Ngozi tells Makena that she was a local hire and took a salary cut as well. Makena wonders how she is suppose to make a life for herself with the small money the law firm wants to offer her (many people in Ghana live on less than the amount she was offered but let’s not really focus on that right now). Nana chimes in that she is wondering how to make a life with a broken heart. Everyone rolls their eyes at her statement. Zainab tells Nana Yaa to get over it. Nana Yaa seems hurt at Zainab’s words (but they are the truth she needs to get over it).

nana yaa therapy session

By the end of the week Nana Yaa decides to visit the therapist Dr. Garbrah. Nana Yaa reveals to him that she has been in therapy twice before in New York and the reason those times was Segun. She talks about being so happy with Segun until she lost it all and that she is back in Accra to get it all back. Nana Yaa admits that her break up with Fidel doesn’t hurt and that nothing has ever hurt her like her break up with Segun. Dr. Garbrah says she talks like someone who is grieving. He tells her that her relationship with Segun is dead and she has suffered a death in friendship, companionship and in love.

zainab-fu date

Zainab goes on another date with another online prospect. They are having a great time getting to know each other sharing and laughing  until the guy blurts out “I wanna fcuk u”. Zainab is disgusted and asks him if that usually works on dates.  The prospects of them being together died right on the spot.

makena- negotiations

Makena goes back to meet the head of the law firm to negotiate her salary. She tells him that choosing local vs expat salary is not fair but tells him that she will accept a local salary under certain conditions. She says she wants to have a starting bonus, an annual Christmas bonus, fuel coupons [companies give these to certain employees to help them pay for gas for their car] plane tickets to headquarters in London two times a year and an annual paid training session at Legon [University in Ghana]. He counteracts her offer and they go back and forth for a while negotiating the terms. Finally Makena counters with the idea of a starting bonus, Christmas bonus and fully covered training at Legon and he agrees to the deal. Makena is thrilled to be employed.

makena-job

Sade is in Mr. Big Brown Envelope’s car kissing when a car pulls up on them. It’s the police. They demand that both Sade and Mr. Big Brown Envelope step out of the car. They accuse them of fornicating and say they have photos to prove what they were doing in the car.  Envelope Man tells the police that they were just talking and doing nothing else. The police officers don’t believe him and say they can see that his trousers are open.

sade n police

One officer looks at Sade and calls her a “bad girl”.  Envelope Man tells the officer not to talk to her that way and they were just sitting in his car talking. One of the officers is upset and lunges at Sade asking her if they were fornicating (GH ppl like this word paa). The officer says he is not a fool and that he is arresting them both. Envelope Man claims that the Chief of Police is his friend and that he will call him right away. The police officer calls his bluff and tells him to call the Chief of Police at the police station and tell him that he was arrested for fornicating in public. The police arrest Sade and Envelope Man.

girls after sade arrest

Sade later meets up with the girls and tells them her ordeal. She tells them how ridiculous it was for her to be arrested for kissing in a parked car when the police wont come to your rescue if you are being robbed. She tells the girls that she had to dump Mr. Big Brown Envelope (she never learned his name) because they couldn’t look each other in the eye after the situation. Nana Yaa tells the girls that she has to leave for therapy. Zainab asks her how the sessions are going and Nana Yaa tells her that the Doctor has told her that she is grieving.

nana yaa jollof therapy

At her session, Dr. Garbrah asks Nana Yaa why she misses Segun. She tells the doctor of a time when Segun’s parents came to visit them in New York and how they came home late one night to find his parents still awake sitting around celebrating and being happy together and how at 3 am the four of them made Jollof Rice while listening to music with lots of laughter. The Doctor tells Nana Yaa that she doesn’t need Segun or his family to make Jollof Rice. That everyday she has the power to create her own Jollof Rice moments whether on her own or with others and that once she owns that, she owns the power to reduce her grief. Dr. Garbrah tells Nana Yaa to create her own Jollof Rice moments. Moments that are hers to keep forever (I love that. Im gonna write it on my wall).

Zainab-swinger date

Zainab is on another date with another online prospect. Things are going well. They are laughing and sharing great moments unit he asks her if she is a swinger. Zainab flat out tells him no.

zainab deletes app

The next day Zainab cancels her dating apps. She wonders if she will die alone but remembers that she built a company and will never truly be alone.

ngozi-pastor

Ngozi goes to church to talk to the Pastor about the picture of Jesus that looks like Brad Pitt. She tells him that having a picture of a white Jesus on the wall was not a good message for Africans. She demands that the Pastor take the picture down.

ngozi steals brad pitt

The Pastor kicks Ngozi out of the church for saying he should take Jesus’ picture down. Ngozi doesn’t let this stop her. She sneaks back into the church and takes down two pictures of the Brad Pitt looking Jesus and rides off on her bicycle (her riding off was too much for me).

nana yaa lies in bed

Nana Yaa lies in bed thinking about love, grief and Jollof. Her talk with Dr. Garbrah had inspired her to make her own Jollof moments. While in the kitchen eating the Jollof she just cooked, Segun calls her phone and Nana Yaa doesn’t answer and continues to enjoy her time with her Jollof.

nana yaa jollof at home

I really like this episode and how they discussed the stigma GH people have with therapy/therapists. I hope Nana Yaa is finally over Segun and can move on to better things. Ghana has fine men she shouldn’t limit herself like that. 

 

 

 

 

 

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