When we brought you the story of Pili Hussein, the first Tanzanian female miner who made her colleague male miners believe she was a man for close to a decade, we said it was the most intriguing story popping up in recent times. But with Myjoyonline coming up with this tale of Memunatu Bakuri, we concluded that hers is even more intriguing!
Memunatu Bakuri, a final years student of Brifo High School has lost two chances of graduating with her mates, as she has not been able to gather GHc50 to register for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASCCE).
Memunatu is second of five children in a family from Ducie in the Wa East district of the Upper West region. With her father already late, and her mother selling firewood to take care of herself and her younger siblings, no hope of financial assistance existed for her.
But instead of giving up the fight to be educated, she took a very determined decision to succeed. Memunatu decided to work her way through menial labour; putting her hands and head to use. She took up the difficult tasks of pounding fufu and carrying loads (kayayei) to gather the funds she needed to pay her fees, provide herself with other items such as school uniform, sandals, books, etc., as well as take care of her other basic needs.
When the vacation is short like 3 weeks, Memunatu Bakuri works as a chop bar attendant for 7 cedis daily wage. And when the vacation is a much longer like three months, she carries load for what best placed persons would call a penitence. But the poor girl has not been able to earn enough to reserve GHc50 at the time of WASSCE registration, two times in a row.
She made GH₵1,300 last year when she travelled down to Accra to work as a head porter. She used the money to pay her her final year school fees- only she was GH₵50 short. If she had carried just a little more… If she had charged just a little higher… If she had stayed just a little longer – just a little longer, may be she could have made that extra.
She had asked one of her school masters to lend her the money with a promise of paying him back during the vacation but, according to Memunatu, the master said he had no money. So she once again missed the senior certificate exams.
However, Memunatu Bakuri’s high determination still kept her on. She went back to the drawing board or more accurately – the pounding floor, beating cassava and plantain with much the same fury with which life is giving her a beating. Thump! thump! thump! the familiar sound of pestles is the rhythm of work rang as Memuna developed her biceps daily, with a continual resolve that she will never miss the 2018 WASSCE because of GH₵50.
Joy News Upper West regional correspondent Rafiq Salam found her at work once again during the last holiday. Her chop bar madam Saforo Seidu who recognised the young woman’s determination said Memuna has been coming to work in her shop for six years now, and she had always reserves a job spot for her whenever she comes looking for money.
This simply implies that the 20-year-old has been ‘pounding out’ her fees right from junior high school till today!