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True Confession: Douala Girl and Papa 

By Brenda*

I used to visit this website for news from home (Cameroon) but I never expected to be checking as often as I now do; not to talk of even contributing to the site. It is partly due to homesickness, but also because it is a very interesting site.

When I first spotted the call for contributions to “True Confessions”, I did not immediately think it could be a perfect outlet for some of those secrets I have seen, experienced and kept as a woman. If I could dare say so, a woman’s life, especially the type with my exposure and education, is like an encyclopedia that cannot be exhaustively displayed on web pages.

The romantic side of a woman’s life is always loaded with tales that can turn the world upside down: uneventful dinner dates, quickies, one-night stands, jolly love affairs and adventures etc. With the coming of True Confessions, I know there are some guys out there waiting to take lessons on what women go through emotionally and what feminine emotional fantasies are all about. But I choose not to squander my maiden contribution to this beautiful website on lessons. I prefer to share a funny experience about a woman I despise with a passion.

I am a single mother living in the U.S. today but a little over 15 years ago, I was a high school girl in Kumba. I happened to be one of those lucky kids who grew in a home where bread and butter was served for breakfast and meat was available at every meal. Although my papa had a decent job and always provided our needs, he led an irresponsible lifestyle that compromised the unity of our family.

As could be predicted, he took a second wife after my mama ran away from home for fear that papa’s violence and cheating habits could take her to an early grave. I could only agree with mom because as far as my teenage mind could think, my pretty mother deserved a thousand times better than a bully and ‘woman-wrapper’ for a husband. Papa boozed a lot and, until recently, he was the type who spent time in some of those late night pubs out in Fiango.

By the time the new woman came, my big sister was lucky to have a suitor who moved her out of our family home. I was left all alone with my younger brother to face the new government that papa’s new mistress commandeered. The only reason I felt confident to stay home was the fact that papa had always been a supportive person when it came to academics and providing our needs.

One of the first tasks the new woman took up upon arrival was to tear down every other authority in the house. Being the eldest daughter in the house, she saw me as a rival for attention from her husband. Reasonably, she did not want to have another woman, be it an adolescent step-daughter, winning more attention and privileges from her husband. I understood all that enough and tried my best to tow the line. But often, she pushed it too far.

Though in upper sixth, I was old enough to understand that every young woman needed some self-confidence, space and encouragement to pursue her dreams with dignity and pride. I also knew I needed a little liberty to feel soothed about womanhood. I was ready to give her the necessary respect in return for her encouragement. But papa’s new woman was not ready for that.

Doing the house chores was not an issue for me. At cockcrow I knew I had morning chores to do around the house. After school, I knew I had to hurry home to get things done quickly enough so I could join my friends for evening studies. But all these never seemed to please my step mother enough. At some point, she tried to get papa to perceive me as evil but the old man was too distracted by booze to take her seriously.

Then she came up with the idea of accusing me of flirting around with my mates as well as sleeping with one of the garage boys across from the house at Kossala. Papa still did not give as much of a damn knowing how tough I had been on him and his nightly escapades. Besides, the old man seemed so busy on his own affairs to be taking new lessons about a daughter he had known for close to two decades.

Having mounted several plots without success, she resorted to passing injunctions on food and outings. For the first time I heard someone say “my pot” in my father’s house with firm warnings that I had no right to serve food from her pot whenever she cooked. I was smart enough to survive that. With regards to outings, she was just too unfortunate that papa was the very person who registered me for evening classes granting me due authorization to return home by 8 p.m. Despite her bossy attitude, I still succeeded to hold my head high, at least, thanks to papa.

Over three months after her arrival, I was bemused when, in her stupidity and shortsightedness, she convinced papa and brought in her pretty niece from Douala to live in the house with us. I sensed a remote bid to neutralize my influence. Papa was not aware of this hidden agenda considering that his woman had suggested that her niece be brought over to start a small business while her travel documents were being processed for her to leave for Germany. Little did papa’s woman know she was nailing her own coffin.

I must admit that the new rival brought up against me was clearly smarter than her aunt. An unemployed university graduate with about the same physique as me, the Douala girl seemed sharper when it came to diverting a man’s attention from other women. She was beautiful with very innocent looks, had a sweet and polite tongue and above all, she was a very wonderful cook.

Luckily enough for me, papa was not the type to lose focus on his responsibilities towards a daughter who was doing relatively well at school and whom he wanted to someday study medicine abroad. So the evil plan to eclipse me from paternal blessings failed. But unfortunately for papa’s second woman, unlike she had anticipated, the Douala girl took so short a time to establish her own roots in the house before anyone else could notice.

Soon after the arrival of the Douala girl, papa became unusually lenient with everyone. In fact, he was always home soon after work. He could hardly hold back his excitement one evening when he returned home from work and was served plantains and very spicy bongo tchobi. Unlike could be expected, papa ordered drinks for everyone in cheerful response to the good treat.

Although his second woman took credit for the delicious meal, papa seemed to have sensed, rightly, that the Douala girl had a hand in the recipe. Willingly he accelerated plans to start a business outfit for the Douala girl. He even joked at some point that a restaurant would make a great idea, suggesting that he was enjoying the ‘change’ in the cooking at home. To my utter amazement, my foolish step mother thought she had succeeded to bring papa under her full control.

In less than no time, a fashion and jewelry shop was up and running at Kumba Market under the supervision of the Douala girl. So did papa’s routine change. While the second woman was busy working at home, papa made it a point of duty to call on the Douala girl at lunchtime and also to pick her up from the shop at the close of the day. On some days, the two would drive first to Fiango for some ‘pepperish’ stuff before returning home with the most innocent of looks.

Though rumours were reaching me about my father and the new ‘sister’ in the house being spotted in dark corners, I chose to keep my calm and observe more. Papa’s foolish woman was also beginning to shift attention from me to the extent that she too could perceive the unusual fondness between the two. But she seemed to lack the initiative to investigate and trail them down.

Anyway, the bombshell exploded one evening during the week leading to Easter. I cannot exactly remember what took me to Buea Road that evening but I know I saw a crowd gathered around Azi Motel. Curious as I was, I went closer only to find the Douala girl held in a vice-like grip by her aunt (papa’s second woman) with some men trying to pull the two apart. Despite the appeals from bystanders, the Douala girl kept cursing while her aunt kept pounding blows.

I looked around hoping to catch a glimpse of papa in the shadows but he was not in sight. “Young girls dem for today!” one woman sighed, “how you go do di sleep with your own auntie e massa?” Without guessing, I knew what had happened at the motel to spark the fight. I sneaked immediately from the scene and headed home. Papa was not yet there.

Later that very night, the Douala girl’s aunt threw all of her belongings out of the house. She was not allowed to step foot in the house ever again. She seemed to have made some friends in Kumba, and managed to hang around in the dust city for a few more weeks. However, I guess she sensed her aunt was ready to commit murder if it came to that, so she fled.

I later gathered that she had relocated to nearby Mbanga – about 30 minutes by train from Kumba. She was living alone in a nice apartment and still doing jewelry business. My old man had found a juicy game he wasn’t ready to let go even because of a mistress.

About six months later, papa probably got tired of sneaking now and then to Mbanga, where his heart really was, and decided to send the woman in the house packing, so that he could free the space for the Douala girl. There was resistance, and it was quite ugly, but eventually she too lost the will to fight on.

* Name withheld on request

 

You Too Could Contribute a ´True Confession´!

Do you have an extraordinary experience you would like to share with the public? Are you having an emotional burden that you would like to unload? Are you anxious to break the chains of a dark secret that has been holding you down? If that is the case, then the “True Confession” section of this website is the place to do it.

We created this section because we know you have a story you are dying to tell, but don’t have the appropriate forum to do it. To tell your story, all you need to do is to write it down, email it to us and we will publish it, only editing for purposes of language, clarity and avoiding defamation.

We will withhold your identity on request.

Please start writing that remarkable experience of yours and email the completed story to: webmaster@cameroonpostline.com

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