Dr. Stella Essilfie picked up the phone again and checked the time. It was just past 3am. She gave up trying to go back to sleep, got up and walked to the veranda of her sixth floor apartment at Jefferson Close on the outskirts of Baltimore, which gave her a breathtaking view of La Guardia Airport in Virginia. But after a few minutes she gave up on that too, went to the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror. A big tall lady with a beautiful face and well crafted body looked back at her.
She didn’t need anyone to tell her that she was extremely good looking. And brilliant. Even though she had scored very good grades in WASSCE, she was not admitted to any of the medical schools in Ghana. Badly disappointed, she spent two whole days crying at home.
Then, thankfully, Dr. Ken Aryeetey, her mother’s childhood friend, showed up at home by chance, and advised her to take the Science degree course to which she had been admitted. ‘A degree in science prepares you well for postgraduate medicine’, he said.
‘Especially if you major in Chemistry’. So she did that, and scored a first class in Chemistry, and easily got admission to medical school in the University of Maryland Although her dad, a wealthy land surveyor, was capable of paying for her studies, she was given a university scholarship for her performance in the first year’s exams, which was renewed every year as she maintained high grades. Because she spent a good part of her free time working as a volunteer in the Paediatric Department of the University Hospital, she was given a locum job when she completed her exams, whilst also doing postgraduate work in Paediatrics. She was now a qualified Paediatrician, with a well paid job which she enjoyed. Her parents had come to her graduation, a really proud moment for them.
Yet as she stood in front of the mirror, she wondered why everything seemed to go wrong for her in the area of relationships. In the second year, she dated a black South African who was also doing postgraduate medicine.
He was very good company. Apart from making her laugh he engaged her in discussions on medical issues. Unfortunately he was full of hate for white people, and continually talked about how blacks should take revenge on whites. And he got drunk very often, explaining that because of what the white man had done to him and his people, it was the only way of keeping sane. Stella dropped him, as he was becoming more of a liability.
The following year, she met Kwasi Nti, a Ghanaian doctor whose parents, both doctors, had given birth to him in Washington. They had quite a nice relationship, and both of them wished for a long term relationship. But Kwasi was a spoilt daddy’s and mummy’s child.
He refused to get involved in any household chores, claiming that he could afford to employ others to cook and clean for him. And although he loved Ghanaian food and was a huge Black Stars fan, he was adamant on spending his life in America. And he liked spending on clothes and restaurants, with a substantial part of the money coming from his parents. Eventually they agreed to break the relationship, but remained friends.
Stella went out with a few other Ghanaian guys, but nothing serious came out of those. Then she met Danny Senyah, a Ghanaian doctor working in Washington who was also in his final year of training in surgery. He proudly called himself a poor village boy who had gone so far through hard work and perseverance. He was hoping to work for a few years after completing his studies, then he would return to Ghana to set up a clinic whilst teaching at a medical school.