08 August 2017

The boy who brought six As to his family after bringing taboo

Death separated her from her first husband, birth separated her from the entire village, here is the story of the survival of a mother, Hawa Kolah and her son, Tubare.

Custom chose Hawa’s second husband when the first died. She was required to marry her late husband’s brother. The same Brifor custom rejected her son, Tubare, born to her second husband.

This time the explanation was that she was forbidden to give birth to a boy in her second marriage.

Real family and communal rejection were imminent and it came three months after Tubare’s birth. The breastfeeding mother was driven out of Baabli and wandered in unknown territories until finally settling in Biihee.

The communities in Wa, the capital of Upper West Region, are poor- but Biihee is a notorious exception. It is extremely poor.

When Manasseh Azure arrived there, Tubare’s mother was preparing supper with cassava leaves.

Life’s hardship buried her smile under sagging facial skin. She possessed the qualities of a recluse – quiet and surprised by any type of company.

The skeletal structure of her face made its presence known in bold bony contours to suggest a thread-bare survival.

Hawa poor mother

Her son is the center of her life. Her son is her sun.

And she has poured out all that is left of her ostracised family to ensuring her son becomes a respected member of his generation by giving him an education.

Tubare attended primary school in Biihe and as soon as he could hold a hoe, he became his mother’s only ’employee’ on the farm.

These two has scratched the earth for food and for funds for Tubare’s education right to junior high school in Biihe.

There are a thousand reasons to give up and settle down or even stop after JHS. But the mother’s hope remained the raw material used to find funds from farming to push her son through Nandom Senior High School.

There have been several stories of the humiliation of his deprivation in school. He begs to stay in school.

“There was a term I went to school without even gari in m chop box,” he remembered, saying he had to plead with the headmaster to spare him from being sacked for not paying school fees in time.

Tubare read Science in school, a curious option for students who say the course is hard.

Tubare sleeps on hard uncemented floors, does hard hoeing and lives a harsh life. Hard is nothing.

Tubare completed the Nandom Senior High School scoring A1 in six out of the eight subjects he wrote – a feat you would think is meant for glamorous upbringings.

Tubare SHS results

Finally, the boy unwanted by his family feels wanted. University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) has come knocking his doors with an admission offer. And Tubare fancies Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) offer could come calling too.

These are rare happy times in this family of two. Finally, an infrequent opportunity to bring some honour to her mother who has no idea of what her son’s engineering ambition means.

Only that it is good.

But even these happy times are ebbing away. Idealism is giving way to realism. The distant future is giving way to the difficult present.

How to pay for admission to the university and stay there for four years is slipping away from them. Hoes paid for JHS and hoes paid for SHS even if she scraped through.

Can hoes pay for university tuition?

Tubare and Hawa

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