Sunday, 5 August 2018

The Reason I am Single and Happy - Part Thirty Three

Arouna assured me he was safe, He said he was not in any danger, but that he had struck a jackpot and decided to lie low. He said someone was to visit me in the morning on his behalf, and that I should not forget that he loved me more than his life. Then he stopped talking and for close to a minute I thought he had dropped. I was shocked to hear his voice. My heart was pounding fast and loud, and I guess he heard the sound of my beating heart.

Then he said ‘Mummy je t’aime’ in his deep heavy voice, and finally dropped. I did not say a word after he dropped. All the ladies who were listening to our conversation had stopped talking to their frottements, and they gathered round my bed. I don’t know why, but I burst into tears without saying a word. Multiple thoughts flooded my mind.

Was I falling in love for Arouna? No I better not. What if Arouna had died, would I have forgiven myself? He was a guy with a golden heart, but being seeing with Arouna outside the prison would have been the most dangerous thing for me. His madness for me was even not ending anytime soon. We had not gone intimate. I had ruined every opportunity us getting skin to skin with him, for many obvious reasons. I became more frightened. What all my cellmates were telling me about him being sincere etc.. was none of my business. They opened a meeting about criminals and love, how it is difficult for a criminal to fall in love, but when he does, he means it. They told me Arouna would never allow me date any other man, and that he will give me everything but make me miserable.

I had everything in me to change him, but I could NOT share my intimacy which was my pride with him. He was not forcing me in anyway, and I told my cellmates that he won’t force me against my wish, and I will make him to see reasons why he had to concentrate with his baby mamas and get married to one of them or the two of them, since nearly all his tribesmen are polygamist.

The meeting had just ended a little bit after 3 a.m, when everyone went back to her bed, and was trying to explain to their frottements about the mysterious Arouna/Henriette’s relationship, when we heard loud voices, “Ouvrez la porte toute de suite” – ‘open the door right away’.

That was a search team of warders. They had come to carry out the monthly or bi-monthly routine search, to get rid of cell phones and every illegal thing that had clandestinely entered the prison. Some smart sisters succeeded in hiding their phones inside empty bottles of skin lotion, which they had kept for the purpose. But there was really no time to hide much, so we opened the door, when they were already at the VRAC, and even the mami on duty was not aware that that there was going to be search.

I freely handed my phone to avoid being brutalized, and they completed their search at 9 a.m.
Arouna had sent someone as he promised, and I haven’t stopped thanking God for his kind heart. He sent me money, vegetable cooking oil, rice, beverages. Guess what? He had planted a smart phone inside the rice, as if he knew there was going to be a search. I told his envoy to tell him I had no phone, and thus could not be reached.

That evening, I received a bible and a note sealed in my name. Someone had probably helped him to write a love letter to me, and inside the letter, he indicated that the bible was used to transport my original sim card that was seized in the morning, and that there was a phone in the sealed bag of rice. I couldn’t tell anyone, because everyone was angry. Some successfully hid their phones, while others did not have time. I could not take the risk of brandishing the phone, or announcing that my sim card had been return. Whatever he did to have my sim from the number of phones that were seized that morning, only explained that Arouna was still in control of the jungle in abstentia.

Days passed, and I started using the phone. Then one evening, I got a call from another guy Sammy Dollard, who is still in jail, and who too was a gang man. We had been friends, especially with the many frottement scandals he had at SP17. He used to push drugs with Arouna, but with the tight security, his famehad gone down with his empty wallet.

Dollard said there was a certain guy there who wanted to have me. He said the guy was from a was a traveller, etc. I gave my approval for my number to be given to the guy, because I needed a friend.

Meanwhile the prison had become very difficult. Many of those Sparrow hawkers who used spray money on their frottements at SP 17 had been transferred to the Yaounde Kondengui Central prison. Others had been judged, their accounts frozen and their assets seized, and reality had dawned on them that they were not in a holiday resort, but were actually in PRISON for to pay for crimes they had allegedly committed.

Security had been reinforced and no contraband stuff could entire easily, even though they were still entering through some other means, but they had become scarce and those who were surviving from the sale of such stuff had become poor. The few ladies whose frottements were still up to the task were the envy of the others.


People had become self-conscious. We continued with our prayers, with series of Novena prayers. But many women had stopped attending morning prayers and devotions. They had created enmity among themselves. The enmity was mostly because of frottements. Either because you have taken my frottement or because you are a friend to the one who stole my friend, I will not talk to you.
This time, I was sent to bring peace into SP 17, where most women were not talking to each other. I am a born peace maker. I don’t stand enmity. I hate where enmity reigns, and I try as much as possible to avoid enmity.

I organised series of group chats, where I made my sisters in the cell to understand that no one among us was innocent. That we are guilty in one way or the order of the crimes that sent us to jail, and while in there, we must be each other’s keepers. 

For the Catholic Christians who had boycotted morning and evening prayers, I took them to the jewellery room where we held our prayers, and made peace. I did same for those of other denominations, and even though I couldn’t make peace for everyone, those who accepted to forgive their sisters and start all over again were happy.

Some said I could not change the world, but I told them I could change my world which was my surrounding, including them. I avoided to heap blames, and made everyone to understand that we could be happier in there, if we tolerated each other, without always blaming.

I started communicating with my new frottement William. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment because he was caught at the airport travelling with the passport of his sister’s husband who looks like him. He had succeeded to fool the immigration officers at the Douala international airport, but when he got to the Charles de Gaul International Airport; he was caught, sent back in handcuff. When he touched the Cameroonian soil, he was looked up at the immigration cell for a couple of days, before being sent to the Douala Central Prison, where he was given 6 months.

He was in his Fourth month when we met, and he was lucky to have been granted the opportunity of going out in the morning and coming back in the evening, I was 8 years older than him, but he was huge and looked more mature than his age.

He was such a gentleman, and since my application to be going out and coming in everyday was still pending the registrar’s signature, William was helping me with the updates, because he had the opportunity of talking to the office guards and knowing what was going on. He was so sweet, He was the kind of guy every woman would love to have by her, He was the loan son in a family of 8, and 5 of his sisters were abroad.
His father had died in 2005, and he was the designated successor. His mother is still alive in their family mansion here in Douala, where he was the king.

He was extra generous, and I truly loved him for everything about love, though I knew loving him was a highway to my early grave. Every evening when he came back, I had a parcel of roasted meat, chicken, or whatever he thought was good for me. For some reason, luck smiled on me with him, but Arouna got the news, and sent him threats. He had become invisible. He called only very late at night and you could not call him. If I asked where he was, he will ask me if I wanted t come and meet him, but he was aware of every move I made.

When he threatened William, and called me and told me that he was closer to me than I ever imagine and that I shouldn’t make him to commit murder and return to jail.

Dear friends, this is my true life story and my past. It has nothing to do with my present, but it is the reason why I am who I am today. Praise God who passes gold through fire to make it beautiful.

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