On Saturdays, Kojo gets a different view of the world. Perched on his daddy’s shoulders he looks out from way up high. He no longer has to worry about the uneven ground below him, the misplaced stones, or wet tar. He feels the steady, strong pace that moves him along through the familiar sights and sounds of our neighboring streets. He can see clearly above the fences, into windows and past gates that are usually out of reach.
Kojo Daddy, as he is known, has no fear. He moves freely past borders, across busy streets, and interrupts conversations I am not able to. It’s hard for me to keep up. I watch as they pass the beauty salon. Evon comes out with a big smile to meet Kojo’s Daddy. I can tell she has been wondering and making up stories about where he might come from or whether he exists at all.
We make it to the big mosque minutes before the call to prayer. Kojo and I usually wait and listen from across busy Tro Tro street. Today I watch as Kojo Daddy, bravely crosses the intersection and tramples on the stone path at the side of the mosque. With Kojo on his shoulders, he peers into the mosque in search of the muezzin who sings everyday perfectly off key. His faithful song reaches us through the amplified speakers even when we are out of sight. Kojo Daddy talks to the men washing their hands and feet.
The speaker sparks. The call to prayer begins with a soft vowel from deep inside the throat. Kojo and I have visited the mosque countless times. We never get that close. Kojo’s position allows him to see inside for the first time. The man with the yellow striped football jersey, sips some water, clears his throat, takes a deep breath and begins. The notes are so familiar but tonight they seem to be strung together differently.
I stand at the intersection of Tro Tro and Manhia Street. The smell of cumin from Tasty Mabel’s fried fish is carried along by a cool breeze from the hill above. I see the profiles of both Kojo and Daddy illuminated from the lights inside the sacred space. Kojo is looking out at the world today from way up high and, at this moment, so am I.