Unexpected Joy At Dawn by Alex Agyei Agyiri is written in two parts – parts 1 and 2, in this article we will be summarizing part 1’s chapter 1 to chapter 5.
It’s 4 am on the morning of a Monday in Accra, Ghana. A young man enters his bedroom to see the lifeless body of his beloved. A young boy, Nii Tackie, is terrified and in a state of panic when he realizes that Massa is dead.
His screams catch people’s attention, including his friends. In the midst of the tension, it is easy to recall the words of his doctor regarding Massa’s condition. The doctor had said that Massa has just several months longer.
Just a few days before, a close friend suggested that he see a herbalist. In his mind, Odeefo Nkansah’s “God is beyond Science” at Gomoa Dago. Massa’s condition is a serious issue.
Nii Tackie is happy to discover that Massa is breathing. The elderly lady attempts to smile despite her discomfort. She is worried about the cost of her treatment.
Nii Tackie is trying to conceal his debts from her, despite having outstanding debts at the bank where he is employed at. He tells her about his friend’s recommendation to go for a herbalist.
Nii Tackie sets out to empty the chamber pot down the drain. On the streets, there are the sounds of gunshots, an indication of fear in Accra.
In fear of being hit by unintentional bullets, the man rushes back into the room after cleaning out the excrement of Massa. He sits at the bed beside Massa’s table and drifts off to sleep.
It’s 8 am the same day at Illera, Nigeria. Mama Orojo and Ibuk are working on an evangelical mission within the city. Both women belong to Amen Kristi Church. Amen, Kristi Church. Mama Orojo becomes nostalgic at the appearance of an immigration official. When she is asked by Ibuk why she is gazing at the immigration official, she replies:
‘anytime I see an immigration officer, I’m reminded of my past’.
After that, Mama Orojo tells Ibuk about the past she’s brought back. About 15 years earlier, Mama Orojo came to Lagos from Ghana at the time that the Ghanaian government adopted a law requiring any foreigners who do not have resident permits should be removed from the country.
This could have occurred when there was a Nigerian civil conflict. Her grandparents had emigrated to Ghana several years prior. Mama Orojo left Ghana with her parents and left her mother and brother behind.
When she arrived in Nigeria, her parents passed away. They were left without a family. In Nigeria, she struggled to make ends meet with what little money she had on her create an impression on the world with a flourishing construction business and a confectionary shop being her proof of it.
Their mission of evangelicalism in the town isn’t as successful as they would like it to be. A lot of people are not interested in their Sahm brotherhood.
Mama, as well as Ibuk, move into Tom Monday’s house. He’s an old man who they’ve been preaching the gospel. Tom Monday is a widower with two children.
His daughter, who is 28 years old, has different opinions from his. He believes she has been under the influence of her husband, a member of the Sahm (a political-religious brotherhood). Mama reads every page of her Bible in preparation for a meeting with Tom.
The chapter is split between Lagos in the first chapter and Accra. In Lagos, the authorities are contemplating the expulsion of foreigners from Nigeria. The current government has also launched total war against waywardness.
Five days remain until the 25-day deadline for every person who is a foreigner to quit the country. The street movements indicate adherence to the deadline. The aliens have left and bringing their possessions.
The setting is changed to Ghana, in which Massa, along with Nii Tackie, is in the middle of a chat. Massa is clearly active and more attractive than the unhealthy version that was featured in the opening chapter.
Massa is asked by Nii Tackie about the number of drinks he’s been to. The reader discovers that they first met at a drinking event. Massa refers to him as the nickname she had given him, “my young banker”.
Nii Tackie informs Massa of a drink they’re enjoying in the present and describes it as “SPECIAL” and has just two of them at the table, separated from the outside world.
It is obvious that the two love each other with a passion. Nii Tackie nourishes her porridge made from corn dough that was given to him by Linda who is a junior colleague working with Linda. Nii Tackie wished Massa was able to keep her recent energy and mood.
It’s 10:30 on a morning of a Tuesday in Accra, Ghana. The reader discovers Nii Tackie’s daily schedule and the absence of experienced and knowledgeable hands in diverse Ghanaian sectors (education banking, education, etc.) due to the departure of many of its citizens to foreign nations.
This chapter recounts the experience during the beginning of Jerry Rawlings’ revolutionary government and its numerous reforms. It also explores Nii Tackie’s routine activities, his banking job, his part-time teaching position, and also his work as a credit collection agent for Susu Credit Union. These jobs are part-time to earn a living and pay for Massa’s hospital expenses.
Despite his youth and lack of experience, Moses Nii Tackie has risen to the position of Assistant Manager of the Expense Bank.
At the Expense Bank, he and the Bank Manager look over a selection of applications for loans. One of these is Aaron Tsuru’s Ant Hill Project. Nii Tackie is a fan of Aaron’s Ant Hill Project because of its innovativeness and ability to address the issue of the rising building cost for the country.
However, his profit-oriented boss rejects the idea based on the fact that the bank’s policy does not allow for the development of such projects. Nii Tackie attempts to convince his boss of the positives of the project, but the Manager is not willing to compromise. Linda, a typist at the bank, comes in with the newspaper.
The headlines are about the expulsion of aliens taking place in Nigeria of around three million people, from which 2 million of them were Ghanaians. The bank’s Manager says (in an expression that suggests he’s got Nii Tackie in his mind) that if he gets his way, he’ll expel all aliens from the bank to retaliate.
Nii Tackie is worried about the repeat of what transpired at the hands of Ghana fifteen years ago. Nii Tackie is worried that he could eventually be kicked out of Ghana. Although he was born in Ghana and was given the Ga name, and was born in Ghana, he is thought to be an alien because of his tribal markings and Nigerian lineage.
Because of the economic reality, Nii Tackie has always dreamed of going to Lagos; however, Massa opposes the move. Nii Tackie is hoping that Massa’s will improve so that they can achieve a consensus.
Linda pesters Nii Tackie to go to her house. However, Nii Tackie says she isn’t in the mood at the moment.
Nii Tackie rushes out of the bank just before closing for a three-story remedial school, where he teaches students Economics to prepare them for the G.C.E. examination. He walks for five kilometers to get there. He arrives early.
The headmaster is unhappy about his tardiness and the violation of the contract that he signed to instruct students. Nii Tackie asks for a shift of his classes to afternoons that are later in the afternoon for convenience.
Nii Tackie goes to the market to earn 10 cents per trader to pay Susu to Susu Credit Union. The market is nearly empty, and drought is forming. The petrol supply is in short supply and roads that are in bad shape.
The government’s decision to eliminate the fifty centaurs from circulation is taking a toll on women who trade. One woman complains at the sight of Nii Tackie that she has lost 10000 cedis in the process. Another trader Auntie Joe was killed by a heart attack due to losing forty thousand cedis.
Nii Tackie visits the home at the residence of Susu Credit Union leader. He discovers that the leader has fled to Nigeria to seek greener pastures after he stole the money of the Union. The fugitive leaves no funds for his family members to live on.
Nii Tackie also learns about the fact that the Secretary of the Union has been sacked, which automatically places Nii Tackie as being the only member of the Union left. In pity for the family who has lost its way, Nii Tackie gives only ten cents on his person to his wife, the chairman.
Nii Tackie arrives home to discover Massa crying. She vomited on her cloth. He begins to wash her mess.
In Lagos, Mama Orojo and Ibuk remain engaged in a conversation together with Tom Monday. The old man appears to be interested in Mama Orujo.
The conversation has turned fascinating. The conversation has moved between gospel and business. In both cases, Mama Orojo and Tom Monday discuss their businesses. If Mama Orojo had not come to Tom Monday as an evangelist, Tom Monday would have proposed to her in a matter of minutes.
Ibuk joins in the discussion and leads them back to the main reason for the meeting. They discuss death, its causes, as well as eternity. In their conversation, Tom Monday tells Mama Orojo that he’ll be in Lagos in the next week. The former says she will do her best to be there for him during his trip.