Duodu and I had been friends for years and during those years of our lives, I realised he had the penchant for taking what did not belong to him.
He could go into my school bag and take my pocket money, books and many other things without my permission.
Until I found out about those missing monies and items and confronted him, he never spoke up.
I have always told him his actions were tantamount to stealing but he felt offended anytime I said that.
The surprising thing was that he started doing the same thing to our mates in the class. One day, however, turned out to be the worst day for Duodu.
On that fateful day, Duodu’s mother sent him to the market to buy some foodstuffs to prepare supper. Among the list of items were tomatoes.
When Duodu was buying from the tomato seller, he saw an amount of GH¢10 on her table and took it. He finished buying the tomatoes and left.
He walked a few kilometres away from the tomato seller when he heard her shouting, “My money, my money has been stolen oooo!” Nobody imagined that Duodu, a good-looking and innocent boy, could have taken the money until the unexpected happened.
He made a grave mistake by putting the stolen money in his left back pocket where he had placed the mobile phone his mother had given to him. The phone rang and he reached out for it.
Unfortunately, in the process, the money fell down and everybody saw it. What even gave him up was that he panicked when he bent to pick the money. He also looked directly at the tomato seller with a feeling of guilt.
The tomatoes seller immediately knew Duodu was the one who stole the money.
She then shouted: “Julooo ei” in Ga, which means “thief”. The market women shouted, ‘Thief, thief’.
The tomato seller, along some of the market women, run after Duodu who took to his heels.
Since he was scared and trembling, he could not ran as fast as he could so the market women caught up with him, but he was saved by the bell when one of the women, Auntie Barbara, a close friend of his mother made him out and pleaded on his behalf.
That was a narrow escape for Duodu. When he reached home, his mother who had been waiting all this while realised he did not buy all the items she had asked him to buy.
She then asked angrily, “Duodu, where are all the things? By the way, why are you sweating like that. Were you chased by a monster?”
“Mom, you are asking too many questions,” he retorted. Just as Duodu was exchanging words with his mother, Auntie Barbara entered and told his mother all that had happened.
After his mom listened to the story, she felt sad and out of humiliation, decided to move from that neighbourhood.
Duodu’s mother did not say anything to him after that incident but he noticed that she was so hurt. That day, he saw her weeping in her room quietly and that was when Duodu resolved that he would never hurt his mother again.
Marilyn Ansaaku-Appea and Erica Wiredu,
Prince of Peace International.