Rags to Riches
- January 31, 2020
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Young Writers
Rags to Riches
by Jaida Roberts
“Mére, there is a new job to work at the local theatre! If you apply, you could be getting over 150 francs a week! Mére, s’il vous plaît, for a better education!” pleaded Delphine.
“Delphine, I’m sure Cameroon will soon have free education. We just have to wait and see!”
Delphine Beau was an eleven-year-old girl from Douala, Cameroon. She lived with her mum, Yvonne Beau, and her three sisters, Enjeck Beau, Joaddan Beau, and Maylee Beau. Her father had died of testicular cancer when Delphine was three years old. Since then, she had lived with her mum and her three sisters. Her mum was a trader in the local market and made less than thirty-two franc a day. They were very poor and lived in a small shack near the local farm. Delphine and her sisters went to ‘Douala Girls’ Government College’ which was a few blocks away from their house. Delphine loved school but longed for better education, which she believed she was not getting at her school. She especially loved art; it was her best subject. Delphine, in year seven, learnt how to draw three-dimensional circles and squares, as well as triangles. And that was what they did mostly in art. She felt that those were too easy for her and she thought that she didn’t get to test her creative ability in art because they never went further.
So that day, when she came back from school, she started a conversation with her mum while washing her uniform.
“Mére, there is a new job to work at the local theatre! If you apply, you could be getting over 150 franc a week! Mére, s’il vous plait, for a better education!” pleaded Delphine.
“Delphine, I’m sure Cameroon will soon have free education. We just have to wait and see!” Her mum never really cared about her children. She was very frustrated about her poor status and having to raise the children all by herself and so always took it out on them. She believed if the government could not provide free education, she could not bother herself to work too hard to make so much more money to train girls. “After all, they are only going to end up in some man’s kitchen,” she often told herself.
“But mére, I dream of becoming a famous artist one day. If we draw cerceles et carré all day, when will I ever learn to draw properly?” asked Delphine.
“Delphine!” said Mrs Beau angrily, “Draw something, draw something extraordinary! Tomorrow, I’ll see it! If it is nice, I can probably do something with it to make it worth a lot of money!” sneered Mrs Beau.
The next day, Delphine barely listened in class! She was too busy working on a drawing to show to her mother. She drew an abstract painting that was a blue whirlpool of thoughts. It was like an optical illusion that could trick the mind. She brought it home to show her mum.
“Delphine! C’est ce que to peux dessiner? C’ela peut faire beaucoup d’argent!” exclaimed Mrs. Beau.
“I told you!” replied Delphine proudly, “I can draw! Now, can I go to a better school?”
“No! I tricked you!” replied her mother distastefully. “I am going to sell this piece at the market and keep the money for myself!” answered Mrs Beau.
“Mum! Why would you do this?!” cried Delphine, “I thought you cared about us!”
“Ha! That’s your thought! Whoever made you think I cared about you? How can I care for three children all alone with no help from anyone?” yelled Mrs Beau.
he next day came. It was a Saturday, and there was no school. Mrs Beau was outside fetching a bucket of water to shower. Delphine used that as a chance to go to her mum’s room and sign her name on her drawing. Suddenly, she heard the sound of footsteps as she settled down to sign her name. Luckily, it wasn’t her mum that entered the room, but her sister, Joaddan. She quickly penned her name as Joaddan asked, “What are you doing?”
“Joaddan, maman veut vendre mon dessin pour gagner beaucoup d’argent et elle ne nous donnera même pas une meilleure école,” reported Delphine.
“Delphine, I didn’t hear a word you just said because, you know I don’t speak French as you and the others do, so aure voir!” replied Joaddan. Delphine and Joaddan left the room just as their mum came in to shower.
When Mrs Beau left for work with the painting on Monday, Delphine secretly left the shack and instead of going to school, she followed her mum to work without her mum knowing. She was very careful as she moved because the governor was in town. She was quite surprised, as she trailed her mum to work, to see the governor come down from his car and walk up to her mum. Her mum presented the painting to the governor.
“How did my mum know the governor?” wondered Delphine. Just then she could hear the governor gasped in delight as he looked at the picture.
“What a beautiful painting! Who drew this?” asked the governor.
Just as her mum was going to say, “I drew it,”, she jumped and stood in front of her mum. Delphine’s mum was surprised to find her there.
“I drew it, sir!” said Delphine. “My mum took it away from me and wants to sell it here for a lot of money. She said she’ll use the money for herself and not to give my sisters and me a better life or education!” spilt Delphine.
“Well, you are a gifted child and do not deserve to be treated like this! Come live with me, my child. You may bring your sisters along too if you wish! But in the meantime, I need to buy your painting!” said the governor.
The mum said, “It is about 1200 franc that is if you want a cheap cost, but if-” she was interrupted.
“You may have it for free sir,” replied Delphine.
“Thank you; I love things like this. You are a lucky child, I will transform you from rags to riches,” concluded the governor.
“But can I also come and live at your house? Surely, you will need someone to take care of these children,” said Mrs Beau.
“I definitely do not need someone like you. The children cannot be kept with a mother like you. The government is taking over their education from now,” replied the governor as he got back into his car with Delphine.
Ever since, Delphine occupied her time after school drawing paintings while she attended an amazing and quality school, ‘Cameroon International Secondary School’ with her sisters. Delphine is now learning to draw portraits and the art of cubism.
s’il vous plait – (please),
C’est ce que to peux dessiner- (is that what you can draw)?
cerceles et carré – (circles and squares)
C’est ce que to peux dessiner? C’ela peut faire beaucoup d’argent – (this can make a lot of money)
Jaida Roberts is an eleven year – old a Pupil of Corona School Victoria Island. This piece is her submission for the Jordan Hill January 2020 Writing Challenge.