God I beg

Prayer stalwarts say that God answers prayers that are scripture based – we should avoid the blabber of words. That He prefers prayers that are consistent – thus we ought to keep knocking. And that midnights are the best times to seek God in prayer – we should beat sleep and stay up to pray. 

However, there come certain days when the spirit indeed wills to pray – long consistent scripture based prayers in the quiet hours of the night, yet the flesh is weak. Sometimes, all we can manage are murmurs and whisperings, for elaborate wordings fail us. 

On such days when we are torn apart and weary, and all we can manage are the one-sentence prayers: 

       “God I beg” or  “God help me” or  “God have mercy on me” 

For on those days, our memories fail to reconcile with Bible verses. Our strength is feeble, our pain very real.

All we have on those days is the faith that we have a father above who hears us even when our words are whispers and one sentence prayers. Because we believe we have a father who wants us to call Him on the day of trouble – even when words are few – He will come to the rescue.

So until the days when long prayers enriched with Bible verses return, and flesh brought to a low , I will call anyhow and anyway I can to my father who hears, sees and feels me each day! For He will come through! This I am certain!

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How to strike and conduct life changing and mind stimulating conversations with persons of migrant backgrounds.

Developed by the Immaculate Centre for Impeccable Migrant Studies 

Approved and certified by the Institute of Quality International Communications (IQIC) 

As much as we celebrate the worldwide success of these guidelines, we advise our users to approach these guidelines with utmost precision. Especially in Europe where migrants might prove difficult to engage with. 

For the best use experience, we advise targeting migrants that are visually easy to identify, for example persons with darker skins tones, with too colourful clothing and or with hair textures on the extreme ends of curly and straight.  

Begin with our guide and ask the questions we have developed with our stakeholders and tested on most streets in Europe. As our studies have shown, most migrants are very serious-minded persons and do not enjoy comical interactions nor humour filled conversations. Many of our users report that starting such conversations with a stern face is bound to bring the best of results. 

Now to the guidelines: 

  • First ask them where they migrated from because it really is the only way to strike a conversation with a migrant. It is the most important piece of information you need to establish, to possess and build on. How can you establish a bond with them if you have no idea of their national affiliation? (Hint) If it is obvious, they are from Africa, get straight to the point and ask which part of Africa they are from. Ask by what means they travelled, so far from their motherland and whether it was by the sea, through the desert, or by foot to reach these lands of their dreams. 


  •  Second, share with them all you know about migrants. tell them about every other migrant you know, have known and will know. For those experiences helps position you as one with the understanding for the things of migrants. In telling them this rich compilation of information, you are bound to discover all the common things you have with them. Because the experiences of one foreigner is really not far from another. 


  • Third, remind them in conversation of how interesting their cultures are and how you believe in the authenticity of their culture. Affirm their culture by sharing the book you read, film you watched or restaurant you visited affiliated to their culture.  


  •  Fourth, slow speak. It has been proven that even when a human being does not understand a language and you slow speak it is bound to spark a particular part of their brain known for the ability to understand any language even those never heard before. This is a particular identified trait especially identified in the brain of migrants. 


  • Fifth, now that many grounds have been established, ask them if they do not miss home or even better, to tell you more about how life was at home. For home is home. For everyone. There is a never dying unique fondness to the migrant’s home. Peer into the details. Ask about family and friends. Ask when they return home. 


These five ways as seen and covered on international television with phenomenal results published in numerous international journals and now brought to you in these five easy steps are bound to dive you into transformative educational conversations and learnings with migrants.  

Persons who have used these guidelines have reported tremendous one-sided conversations that have lingered on their minds for years. 

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A new light



A voice not accustomed to shouting was doing more than it was used to. Had I forgotten something in the bank? I wondered. Even then, the person was referring to me by my first name. I turned  in the direction of the strained voice. The face of the tall dark masculine frame in the blue linen piece did not strike familiarity with the faces I knew.

“Marian, how are you doing?” he continued. His voice toned down now as the distance between us had immensely decreased.

I raised my eyebrows, hoping to show how lost I was in the situation.

“Am well, but do I know you from somewhere? I am sorry, but my memory fails me” I responded hoping not to sound rude.

The man, clean shaved, overshadowing me now, called my name again. Maybe hoping that this time it would bring back every memory I had lost of him.

My memory was slow even as I stared intensely in his face. It was slower than expected. The task seemed difficult. Poring over all the places and people I had met in my life, to put the face before me in a context. A familiar context that reflected the same joy the man standing before me expressed.

“Don’t you recognize me?” his voice low and reflecting disappointment.

“It’s me, Edward Boateng”

“Edward?” “Edward?” I questioned myself.

There are two Edwards I’ve known my life; one I had been with in Primary and Junior High School in Kintampo and the other from my former church in Nkawkaw. The one from Nkawkaw could not possibly have become darker and taller in the past two years since I saw him.

“Herrh Edward, Dancing ball, is that you?!!!” I shouted at the pleasant surprise.

A laughter grew out of the smile stamped on his face.

“The dancing ball!” I screamed again, jumping up to hug him. Drawing an audience from curious passers-by. We hugged each other; each soul filled with uncontainable laughter.

When we had drowned ourselves in hugs and laughter, he asked me what I was doing there and where I was off to.

“I came to the bank to make some cash deposits”

On days when I know I will be making cash deposits, for security reasons, I use public transport instead of my car I explained.

As the working day had ended, partly for him as well, he offered to take me home. He, however, had to drive to employees at a construction site to pay their weekly earnings.

Edward and I had lost contact with each other for over a decade after the BECE. We both left Kintampo to Accra immediately after the exams. Though I knew he was in Accra, I had no idea of how to get in touch with him. My social media search had neither yielded results, nor had my enquiry from friends. And so, I gave up on the quest.

In Kintampo, as we had been the children of employees of the Municipal office, we had lived close to each other. The bungalows’ children, we were called. There was hardly a day I did not see Edward. During the weekdays, if not at school, we would hang out with the other children in the area after school. On the weekends, we undertook mini adventures, making up all sorts of games, climbing all sorts of trees and chasing all sorts of tiny living things. On Sundays, we ended up in the same children’s service class. We had shared many meals together, some in my house, some in his or someone from the area.

The name “the dancing ball” was given to him by me, Ariana, and Shakina two other girl-friends, in our class. Edward loved to dance. He did not care the genre or place. Sometimes, when we were walking home from school, and we got somewhere with music on loudspeakers, he would immediately take to dancing.

Back then, he was so rotund, and constantly received the familiar insults from other children. “Your face like a balloon”, “Your cheeks like a balloon”, “Balloon”. He never flinched at those insults or fought back when he was abused. He mostly laughed it off. The girls and I thought calling him a ball was maybe better than a balloon. A dancing ball like the one from the discos.

Maybe he liked the name, we never did ask him. We gave it to him. Whenever, he would engage in such open acts of dance, we would cheer him on “the dancing ball, the dancing ball” clapping our hands in sync to our chants. He, having the time of his life, making those out of tune moves.

The man I sat by, who drove the white Nissan Navara, was nothing like the boy I had known and had been unable to recognize. His dark skin had an even tone. He looked healthy. Obviously, from the outward appearance, he was doing very well. According to the catch-up stories, he and his elder sister had set up a construction company as soon as he finished Senior High School. They had started by taking small contracts for building projects. Over the years, they had won a couple of major contracts, which had elevated them to a company with 30 employees.

My eyes sparkled as he shared their stories of resilience, growth, and faith. Edward, the boy who had once peed in his pants and was called to the front of the class for the act. I could hardly believe my eyes, nor my ears. All matured, grown and definitely did not look like a ball or balloon as we had nicknamed him.

After we left the construction site, he asked me to have dinner with him. As I had nothing else to do, I agreed. Sitting in the plush oriental decorated Chinese Peking restaurant, I was so captured by this new Edward, his openness, his laughter, by the person he had become and who I had known him to be. Though he had not been the most intelligent or best looking physically in school, those things had never stopped him from being who he had wanted to be. Looking back to those times on the streets, him dancing was an expression of himself telling the world he would do what he would, regardless of what the world thought of him.

I think I fell in love that evening, maybe the soothing ambience made it easier. I think Edward as well. After the main course, he held my hand and expressed how delighted he was to see me. He had been thinking a lot about me recently, wondering where I was. Of course, he found it weird it had taken such a long time for us to get back in contact.

We left the restaurant after three hours of hearty conversations and soul pleasing food. Dropping me off at my gate, he left me with a warm embrace. I left with a whiff of his wood inspired cologne. A pleasant smile stamped my face as I waved him goodbye, looking forward to future contact.

As I plumped into my couch that night, resting my tired body, I scrolled to my phone contacts and dialled Shakina.

“Shakina, guess who I saw today!” intentionally missing the necessary greetings required for phone calls.

Shakina and I had been able to stay connected over the years as we ended up in the same Senior High School.

The confused silence then her mutters interlaced with gurgles from her happy baby did not distract me.

I continued the conversation.

“Edward from our class!” I spat out.

“You mean pee-pee Edward?” Shakina blathered out.

“Oh, do you have to call him that” I questioned.

“Ah but you too you were calling him pee-pee Edward then what happened?” she answered.

“We were children then Shakina, those things are not necessary now, we are all adults now” I continued.

“You and who?” she replied in laughter!

I shared with her how the reunion had been, and everything Edward had been to me for the past hours. What I had seen as magical and sparkling failed to bring light to Shakina’s tone.

When I had exhausted myself and could not tolerate her teasing and the recall of old stories about Edward, I called it a day. We left the conversation, she, teasing me in squeaky laughter of falling in love. Unable to fathom Edward in a new light, to see who he was now.

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The dark side of love

While pondering on the next topic for my weekly blogpost, the writing prompt “the dark side of love” became my next most likely choice. However, to write about the dark side of love has proven a challenging task. Is there anything like a dark side to love? It has been hard to draw a conclusion. Love, I believe, is defined by God. God is love. He chose to love us when we did not know Him and has committed to love each one of His creations, even if we do not love Him back. Love in itself has pure intent. It is not evil. It is neither filled with selfish intent nor misery. Love is selfless. It is then not what we indulge ourselves in (falling in love) and see in romantic films. Loving is tough, especially for us humans. For it never gives up and never loses hope. Love is a complex subject.

Anyhow, on Monday evening, my thoughts shifted to another topic. Scrolling over my Instagram, I came across the story of Cheslie Kryst, the 2019 Miss USA pageant, who died after jumping from her high-rise flat. I had no idea who she was and find it unfortunate that her death led me to her beautiful soul. The situation puzzled me as I scrolled through her Instagram page. I kept asking myself, but why? What was it that made her jump with an intent to end it all? But what was I expecting, signs and hints of her decision from her Instagram page? A help sign?

I do not know her and do not know her situation. I have been for the past days saddened by the loss. A great loss to the world. She was contributing so much of herself to others and her purpose. But her thoughts had succeeded in convincing her that her situation, whatever or whichever it was, the ultimate path to relief was death. Which is untrue.

Why did she not ask for help? If she could have, she would have. Considering especially how the subject of depression cannot be mentioned or discussed openly, especially among black folks. In my experience, when the subject of suicide comes up, it is said to be an act committed by fools. How can one feel comfortable to discuss such thoughts freely? We are also as a society very judgemental when it comes to the sharing of weaknesses, failures and mistakes, that one would rather deal silently alone with the torment.

There is nothing normal about a young person taking their lives. It is time we worked actively in making that non-acceptable. And stop the judging and passing of silly comments over such incidents of depression and suicide.

Everyone has a purpose in this life. Maybe it is to be a source of encouragement. Perhaps it is to sing or to dance to bring sooth to others. We are all worthy of our purposes, regardless of what teachers, family, or society has said. One of the toughest things above loving is to be “close” with someone, and yet they are unable to confide their weaknesses to you.

Thoughts are powerful. Thoughts drive actions. Our thoughts make us who we are. Our thoughts can drive us to purpose or destruction. Each thought has to be reviewed and placed in submission to Jesus.

When the thought says you are alone, you are not loved, you are a mistake, you are a failure.

Challenge them. They are lies.

God loves you. He expresses His love through people.

God made you according to Him. He calls you, His treasure.

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How I came here

With two bags, two suitcases of clothes to be precise. 

They were overweight. Re-arranged at the airport. 

The lucky making it across the sea with me. 

Years of clothes, clothes that held memories I didn’t want to let go. 

Why so many clothes? You may ask. 

Have you been to those retail shops? 

A blouse costs 30 euros, 30 euros! 

Clothes are expensive. 

The last thing I want is my money running out on shopping sprees. 

But they were primarily summer clothes. 

Yes, two bags full of clothes for the summer. 

To dwell in a country of four seasons. 

A country where the winters are coldie coldie coldie as my son describes coldness. 

What was I thinking? 

Was I prepared for this new life? Or refusing to face it truthfully? 

I didn’t even have a winter jacket. My confidence drowned in the summer semester, typed boldly on my admission letter. 

“Why is it so cold?” I asked the administrator at the international students’ office when I arrived to register as a student. 

“I thought it is summer” I added. 

If she did answer my strange and stupid question, I don’t remember what she said. 

Here I was, expecting an April to be summer. 

Yes, the same German April that does what it likes to be sunny and warm. 

Don’t marvel, but that was the superpower I had. 

Things turning around my way and being just as I wanted, even the weather. 

Funny, isn’t it? 

When I look back, I wonder, what was I thinking? 

Why didn’t I check the weather? 

Why didn’t I ask what to bring along? 

I’d been to Germany before. Even that June, Summer had been coldie. 

Was my self-inflicted decision to return home only when I had finished my two years of studies what I was running away from? 

Maybe that was why I had packed two suitcases of tee-shirts, blouses, dresses, loafers and sandals for 2 years of summer, winter, autumn, and spring hoping, just hoping that they may all be summer for me. 

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Just Mercy

Last year I read The Sun Does Shine, a true story about Anthony Ray Hinton. He was held in maximum prison precisely on death row for over 30 years for a crime he didn’t commit. That story did a lot to my spirit. I cried. I was angry. I was blown away by the injustice in the justice system, mostly because the story was non-fictional. It taught me the power of hope. It taught me the power of the mind. It pushed me to look out for and support the Equal Justice Initiative, www.eji.org.

Here are my thoughts on The Sun Does Shine.

Since 2020, I start my year with David Goggin’s Can’t Hurt Me and Joyce Meyer’s The Battlefield Of The Mind. In the first week of this year, I picked up Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson while book hunting. I had bookmarked it last year as a want-to- read, but not really ready to read about more injustice and heart-breaking true stories. Seeing the book in the bookshop made it seem it was time to face the truth.

So, I picked it up.

Maybe The Sun Does Shine did prepare me for Just Mercy, I only cried once 🙂 while reading Just Mercy. I just could not help it, I broke down in the part about children on death row. So, I refuse to use this post to rant about the jailing and killing of black adults and children. But it is hard to now know this truth about the systems made to kill hope, and destroy lives based on the errors of society. Some children’s destinies have already been determined by the law systems even before they reach their adulthood – poverty, jail, then death.

That is just dark. Makes me sad, but Bryan Stevenson’s work gives me hope. It makes me realize it is possible to overcome darkness.

So instead of totally ranting, I choose to join forces with the heroes like Bryan Stevenson in my little way with my little light to help bring light to the places where evil brings darkness.

It’s really unfair that the US spends so much money on everything around the world, but the lives of US citizens who could contribute to the US but most importantly also see their dreams come true. People being made to pay extremely for being poor, black, or sick. That is bad.

In the case of the Walter McMillan, the majority of Monroeville would rather see him dead than benefit from all that he was to their town. Why were they keen, and the systems easily manipulated to kill people.

Evil is evil can’t fight that, it is senseless. It looks forward to robbing, killing, and destroying lives.

This book has made me stick to accepting that things really can be defined as being light or darkness.

Doing nothing about the injustice means choosing darkness. A lesson I only recently learnt.

But no matter how much darkness proceeds, light will win the moment we step up.

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Reading The sun does shine by Anthony Ray Hinton

“This is not fiction”, “This is not fiction” were the words I kept repeating to myself while listening to and reading this book. Anthony Ray Hinton is a man who was wrongly accused of two counts of murder and sentenced to death row. I have been emotionally battled in the three days of reading this story. I could not hold back the tears, the anger, the laughter, the joy this book embodied. In a place where hope is not meant to be nurtured, how do you find and keep hope and hold on for thirty years. What was the motivation of the state of Alabama in keeping an innocent man in jail? The scary part of all this is that the person who committed the crimes went on carrying them. What was the point to be proven? I realise the 80s was a critical period for blacks in Alabama where if black people could not be openly oppressed then the “legal” ways of lynching were devised.

The sun does shine has taught me to reflect critically on and appreciate the power of the mind. It is possible to not allow your physical or visible circumstances to kill your soul. If Ray had given up, his story would have never been told. Never give up.

“Hope to keep on fighting, to keep on living, to believe that you can change, or your situation can change. Remember none of us are the worst thing we have done, and right now, wherever you are, whoever you are, you can reach out to your fellow man or woman and bring your own light to the dark places.”

“I want you to know that I’m fixing to go. I’m leaving here. It took me thirty years to get to this moment. It may take thirty-one years for you. It may take thirty-two or thirty-three or thirty-five years, but you need to hold on. You need to hold on to your hope. If you have hope, you have everything.”

I’ve never been one for the death row because I believe no one is beyond redemption. This book makes that also clear. I need to be more supportive of initiatives such as Equal Justice Initiative. I think there is no greater calling then Byran Stevenson’s work, but then again, why does he have to be doing such work. Why should the state not be doing everything in its power to ensure no (innocent) human being ends up on death row. Justice should not be a preserve of the rich. Perhacs was never motivated by Ray’s innocence. Money was his motivation. He wanted to cash out on Ray and even render his mother homeless.

“To be sure, the death sentence must never be carried out in a way that allows the innocent to die.”

“They said it was a waste of time. A stay was granted one day before my hearing, and the attorney general said in his brief that I should be blocked from establishing my innocence because it would “waste three days or two days of taxpayer money.”

I like that the book gives voice to Henry Hays and how (black) hate is passed on from generation to generation. This is very well visible today, and I wonder the benefits this hatred yields for such families. Imagine how much black people could contribute to the US if they were not prejudiced by systems driven by hate.

“McGregor passed away, and he wrote a book before he died. He mentions me in the book and says how evil I am. How clever a killer I was. How he knew just from looking at me that I was guilty. I forgive him. Someone taught him to be racist, just as someone taught Henry Hays.”

May we not give up in any situation we find ourselves, but also remember to stand up to those who believe they hold the keys to our lives. May our lives be filled with people like Lester and Bryan, and never give up hope like Ray.

“Life is a crazy, strange mix of tragedy and sorrow and triumph and joy.”

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Finding my woman

It is so, that there are a thousand and one instructions on how women are to live. What women are to do with their bodies. What she is to do with her toenails to the tip of her hair. From the external to the internal organs, there are laws, regulations, expectations, and advice on how she is to look, work, be paid, behave, speak, date, and breath. And these come from every angle. The radical feminists, the liberal feminists, the conservationists, religion, family, the list is countless. For they are provided on the premise of aiding the woman navigate life. There is always something she needs to do or is not doing. And that is the reason women tend to inherit blame or are awarded the blame when situations like child loss, divorce, job loss, childlessness etc. happen. The general belief is that she could have done A, B and C to counter these situations.

Well, with so many voices telling me what I am to do with my body, my voice, my hair, my mind, etc. in which breath do I find out what I want? What I want, what I want to be, what I want to look like, what makes me happy? Where is the space to nurture those thoughts and fulfil the person God created me to be? As much as society has expectations, mostly outrageous I dare say, it behoves on me as a human being to find out my desires for my life. Do I have expectations of myself? Do I want to work because society expects me to? Do I desire children because it is expected of me? How many children do I want to have? To what extent and levels can I pursue formalized education? What can I wear today? As I ask these questions, I realise there are provided responses from concerned parties.

“What is the essence of a woman who desires no children?”

“A woman should not desire for much in her future, she will be provided for by her husband.”

“A woman does not dress like that.”

And these are statements that have literally flown into my body through my ear.

If everyone and society has these expectations of me, at what point do I start to live out my expectations? That is, if I have asked and know what my desires are. Am I leaning only towards what society expects, concerned about what will happen if I do not conform?

What do I want?

Do I really want that?

Or am I pursuing that because it is what is expected of my kind?

Great! When what I desire aligns with the world’s expectations of me.

But what if my desires do not conform? Will I still pursue them?

Will I keep finding my woman, even when I know I will be challenged and despised?

Down here, there are no easy roads, but better to be on the road chosen.

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What afternoon runs taught me

I enjoy morning runs, I believed they were the ultimate until I went on an afternoon run. My running goal for this year is 600 km. Though I am 70% in and with a good chance to reach this goal, I decided mid-August to commit more to the goal and be consistent.

Respect is what I have for people I see on a jog or run on a hot, sun-burning day. Only respect. Why would someone go on a run when the weather is so hot when they could do morning runs? Hello?? However, last week, I had to go three times on afternoon runs since those were the only time slots for me to get a run in. It was an experience. It was different. And this is what I learnt.

Morning runs are easier. The weather is right. There are many doing the same, and so I was never alone.

Afternoon runs on those warm sunny 25 degrees plus days are not easy. The body gets heated up. There was so much dryness in my throat. My body was pushed beyond its comfort zone. I had to convince myself to keep going. And it was not what everyone was doing.

Though I was uncomfortable, I was amazed that my body pushed through. So, my body can do afternoon runs, can survive afternoon runs. An interesting discovery. And until I put myself in this place of discomfort. I never knew I could.

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Hate Underlined

About two decades ago, when I was in Junior High School, I had a classmate who consistently provoked me. In a conversation with Kizito, a classmate, I complained to him about this classmate of ours.

“I hate this annoying classmate of ours”.

Kizito’s face blew in surprise.

He was alarmed.

“Never say that again,” he replied with the seriousness of a headmistress.

I asked him why? Because that guy was annoying. For one, he had punched me in the stomach for no valid reason.

Kizito asked me if I knew the meaning of hate?

He said, “When you hate someone, it means that you want them dead, to not exist”.

I paused. Well, that did make me feel sorry for saying that. I could not stand the guy, but I did not want him to die. In my need to express my dislike, I guess it had been translated by the use of hate as my desire to see him die.

Hate. The seed we plant in us and nurture till it bears fruits. Only it is a plant that sinks its roots deep into us and poisons us.

Hate. It is what we choose and justify based on the way others are. Luckily, there is always a reason to choose it.

Hate. It is what we pass on to our children, in hints, conversations and our crossing to the other side of the street.

Hate. It is why we fall sick. It is the poison we bury our soul in, so our enemy may die.

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She wanted sweet too – just like the others.

For though everyone called her strong she knew she was only playing the part they wanted. She was not strong. Not even a bit of what they expected of her. For there were some who deserved to have it sweet and some, like her, with no sweetness.

She had once tried that sweetness too, tempted by the stories she had heard. In the secret of darkness where no one could see her. But it kept ringing in her head even when she tried it, that her place was between the rocks.

For she felt wrong while she lay there, doing nothing and letting the drips of honey fall on her tongue.

Sweet tasted sweet and that was it.

Maybe if she had stayed and drowned her mind‘s taunts in the sea, maybe just maybe she would have become what all who dripped in honey became. Sweet.

And now she is something between sour and bitter – for her tongue no longer remembers what sweet tastes like.

Yet she yearns for it. She dreams of it.

That someday she will not have to pretend. Not pretend to be strong but be strong because she is. And be sweet because she is.

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Everything Done Wrong

Who else did not know that I was not the only one? I knew it. But I dreaded the thought of having to end up as Mamaa, alone, without a man. That was the real reason why I held on to him even though he did nothing for me or the children. Wasn’t I the one who paid for everything from my table top? The small table top as he called it. He was the man and head of the house who brought in no bread. Two weeks after the birth of Mamley, our second child, he came home one evening with stories brewed from his belly. In short, he quit working, or he had been sacked by Amuzu, his master. What could I do? I did not want the children to grow up without their father and for their sake he stayed. Isn’t it late now? Does it matter now? Who would care for them now anyway? I pray Mamley becomes a better woman, with a strength greater than mine, and Nii a man unlike his father.

On the floor I lay, it felt so cold, its coldness agreed to the way I felt of the world. I could hardly move or breathe. As the moments passed by, breathing seemed like something I had never done before. My eyes are closed but my ears not. I can still hear the screams from Mamley and Junior, begging him to stop. The creaking blades of the fan and his voice above it all.

What had I done wrong? All I wanted was to turn on the fan to ease myself of the room’s warmth. Though my eyes are closed I can still see him. The crippling hate burning in his eyes, the root of which I cannot seem to fathom. I did everything I could for him didn’t I? Maybe it was not enough. Certainly it had not been enough. I did everything right or perhaps tried to do everything right but nothing good had found me.

I was born in Kotobabi, in Accra. Mamaa, my mother, sold Jollof and Plain rice by the street near the big gutter in Kotobabi. However, before she owned the table top, she had to carry her food on her head through the area beckoning to those who could and could not afford to buy her food. Mamaa was one of the uncountable women of my father, Krong. Till today, I have met Krong three times. The last of which was an actual conversation between two people unlike the previous two. A conversation about how he could get money from me, to support his drinking I presumed.

I was thirteen the first time I met Krong. Mamaa had then already helped me establish my own food selling business. I started helping Mamaa when I was six, carrying the stew and salad on my head while Mamaa carried the Jollof, Plain rice, plates and cutlery for our customers. Later, when I was eight Mamaa made me carry an ice chest where I sold water, Fanta and coke. Mamaa told me school was not for me. Maybe that is why I never took it seriously. I never gave my best. But how could I have possibly given it my best when I was always tired or sleepy in class. I had to carry the ice chest right after school and make sure I sold everything for the day before returning home. Sometimes I could stay out as long as 10pm or till most of the Trotros (mini buses) at the Kotobabi station were gone. When I got home, I would sometimes help Mamaa to cook and wash the dishes after dinner before going to bed. Midnight was often the time I could hug my mat on the floor and dream my tiredness away. Well that was on a good day when Uncle Oko did not visit.

When Uncle Oko came, he and Mamaa made so much noise that sleeping was impossible. Three taps on the door, Mamaa would check if I was asleep before letting him in. I was awake each time Uncle Oko came in. I only closed my eyes breathing like I was asleep. His visits had become part of my night though unwanted.

Uncle Oko lived at the far end of the compound house we lived in with his wife Auntie Aggie. I often wondered how he could always come into our room without his wife knowing. Maybe if she did she never said it or asked Mamaa about it. She was very nice to me and always called me “hardworking girl” when she saw me. And when she sent me she often made me keep the change. Maybe Mamaa did it for money, how could I tell? We never talked about such things. She was my mother who only told me what I was to do and what I must not do as a child. How could I then have told her that the day she left to Kumasi, leaving me alone, a man came into our room that night. How could I have told her that this man held on tightly to my mouth, preventing me from screaming, tore my pant and raped me. I could not tell her the first time it happened nor the second time nor could I tell her it was Uncle Oko who had done that to me. He told me he would kill me if he even heard a rumour about it from anyone.

And when it happened again for the third time I knew I had to either leave the house, tell Mamaa or find a way to protect myself the next time he came. That night when Mamaa left me alone, I knew what nightfall would mean. Coming back home was no option for me, neither could I sleep at the station.

At the station, there were other girls and boys who also sold pure water, ice cream and fried yam. Amina was about three years older than me. She came to Accra three years ago from Kukuom, a village in the Northern region to learn a trade and make money. Well that is what the woman who brought her said. After a couple of days, she found out the trade she was to learn was carrying goods for other people and earning a 10 percent share of profits made. She tried her best to serve her “employer” until she had had enough of the unfairness. She ran away from Makola market to Malata market to start selling pure water by herself from the little money she had saved. She slept at the Malata market in front of Qiks supermarket. The owner of the supermarket allowed her to sleep there for a meagre fee of 2 Ghana Cedis per week. I confided in Amina. Amina assured me I could sleep with her. Though I had never slept outside before, the experience did not seem new to me. I fell asleep as soon as she laid out the cardboard for me. The next thing I felt was a tap on my back at 4am urging me to wake up. The day had already started.

Later in the evening when Mamaa was home, I received the beating of my life. She had been informed I did not sleep at home; by who I could not tell. My explanations were irrelevant. That evening I wondered if Mamaa probably knew about what Uncle Oko did to me. And if she did why would she beat me instead? I could not understand the depth of anger she waged against me. Interestingly, since that day the visits stopped. Uncle Oko never came by again, neither when Mamaa was around or not around. I did not bother trying to find the explanations to this new freedom. Life proceeded as usual.

I had grown up with Mamaa alone. We never had relatives coming to visit. Neither did Mamaa ever talk to me about Krong, all she told me was how stupid she had been to have had such a man in her life. As I said, the first time I met him, I was thirteen. I was sitting by my table top when a man struggling to stand still came to me. Fumbling, he tried to explain to me the tale of how he became my father. Not that he was interested in having a relationship with me, he only wanted me to know this and remember to tell my mother that I had finally met him.

Two years later I saw him again for the third time. This time he claimed he had come to me as a father to a daughter. With a request. He wanted me to give him money since he had suddenly lost his job. He told me no matter what my mother had said or what the world said, he was my father. He was right. But what was the use of a father I had met thrice in my life? I gave him the excuse I always gave to such requests. I live in debt. That was the last I saw of him.

I tried as hard as I could to make sure I concentrated on making a living from selling my food. Sometimes it was difficult, most men would buy food on credit leaving me without money. When I decided to be strict they avoided buying food from me. I had to sometimes also purchase the ingredients on credit which came with extra costs. There were some good days when I could go home without debts. Later Amina taught me how to cook Waakye which helped me gain more money than the usual Jollof and Plain rice. I was then able to save some money and move away from Mamaa to my own place at Abavana Down. During the day, I would sell my regular Jollof, Plain rice and Waakye and then sell tea and fried eggs in front of my new home in the evenings.

I had seen him a couple of times before the first time we spoke. He was one of the several men who came to sit at Baba Musa’s Tyre repair shop to play draft. The first time we talked he asked me if I had a husband and if not he would like to marry me. Of course I laughed. He had not been the first. I had become used to these utterances and took none serious. The first time I had taken such an utterance serious, I ended up being chased and hooted by the wife of the man in the middle of Malata market.

I started to take him serious when he would come to me each day to greet his “new wife”. He asked me to visit him of which I did. During the visit, he assured me he was ready to really marry me and be my husband. I was happy. At least I would have my own man. During the following days he would come visit me and spend some time chatting with me while I served customers. I would also make sure as a good wife to be, he never left my table hungry. He never offered to pay for the food I served him and I also never asked. After all it was my duty as a woman to make sure my husband to be was always satisfied. I also often visited him well only when he called for me to. Maybe if I had paid him surprise visits I would have found out I was on a list, the list of his numerous lovers. He told me he was an apprentice in the popular fitting shop in Abavana Down, Amuzu and Sons. I never doubted him, so I never visited him at work either. After a couple of visits, I got pregnant with our first son Nii Junior. I became a mother at eighteen.

That was when everything changed.

We decided or perhaps I decided that it was time we moved in together as a couple. He said it was better to move into my place as it was more spacious and better for a child. After he moved in I hardly saw him until late at night when he would come home sometimes reeking of alcohol and wanting to be served as a king with food and sex. There was nothing I could say no to. He hardly held or played with Nii. But he wasn’t the only man who had no relationship with his children, it was normal of most men, I thought. And after all he was my husband, though he had not performed the rites as he said he would but I was better off than Mamaa who had no man to live with her.

A year later came Mamley. Unlike my first birth this was a total challenge, I had to be operated upon and this really affected my business and life in general. I was the ultimate source of provision at home and I found it hard to get back to my table top as fast as I had done with Nii. The money I had tucked away when I left to the hospital had been used for things he would not explain. On top of that were the rumours the gossips in my house kept circulating about him bringing other women into the house when I was away. But I do not take gossip seriously, I never did.

In the course of recovering from my caesarean section while at home, he came home one afternoon to tell me he had quit his job. Though he never brought in any money home for the children nor for the rent or housekeep I felt heartbroken. I could not return to work anytime soon. Things became hard. I had to depend on my neighbours to help me in feeding the children and my husband. Money borrowed was used to buy food for us and alcohol for my husband.

After a month of staying at home, I had to return to selling my food. It was during this time that another change in his behavior started. Anytime I came home he would accuse me of having spent time flirting with the men who came to buy food. And for each time I tried to explain an incident he would end up so angry beating me for even having to explain to him. He called me all sorts of names in front of the children and did not care what he did to me in their presence. Sometimes he would beat me then rape me in front of the children. I felt ashamed. The neighbours sometimes came to intercede but that did not stop his behaviour. I wondered what I ever did wrong? I tried each time to be better, spending less time at the table top and coming home earlier but this brought home no peace. I assumed perhaps he felt threatened as the head because he had no job. I tried my best to be a good wife. Even on days when he would be nice to the children or me, it turned out it was only because he wanted a favour from me.

On that fateful night, as I had always done. I slept on the raffia mat with Mamley and Nii. The warmth of the day had carried on into the evening heating up the room such that we were all profusely sweating. It was impossible for me in my condition to cope with such heat and I was sure the children would wake up with heat rashes the following morning. He was lying on the bed. I got up to turn the fan on when he shouted, instructing me not to. I explained to him the room was warm and we were all sweating. He asked me what I meant by all since he was not sweating and I was only telling lies to defy him. He got up and plugged the cord for the fan out. I decided to defy him. The children were already up then. I plugged the cord back in and turned the fan on. He suddenly rushed up from the bed and strongly shoved me aside. I hit the bed and fell. All I could hear then was him telling me how disrespectful I had been to him as he kicked and slapped me in turns. I closed my eyes.

As my last breath fades, I hope the little one in me makes it and I hope that someday Mamley is stronger, stronger to choose when to stay or leave and brave to speak out when she must. I pray Nii is more of a man than his father ever was. I pray that they end up in a home that loves, hopes and prays and above all they do everything right unlike their mother.

Image Source:  wikipedia.com

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The Future is Female!

The first time I saw this statement was on a T-Shirt. The words bit me.  It sounds offensive, doesn’t it? What is this even meant to mean, I thought? I googled. I found varying opinions and reviews on this statement. So, what does this statement even mean?

Initially I assumed it meant simply the future belonged to females.  Where would the men be then? What would happen to our men, our fathers, sons and brothers? Would they go extinct?  What sort of a world would that be?

The first time “The future is female” statement was seen was in 1975 on a T-Shirt in the United States, during a period in the US noted as the second wave of feminism. It became more popular when Hillary Clinton used it as the title of her Book and when she run to be voted as the US President.

How is the future female?

I stand for women empowerment; but when I first saw that statement, I found it outrageous. Why so? I am female so if the future would be or belong to females it should make me happy shouldn’t it? As I later realised, the reason this statement made me uneasy was because the world often places one class as dominant (gender, race etc) over the other. So, what made it outrageous was the quick comparison to the male gender my mind made, thinking that empowering females meant a “de-powering” or “un-empowering” of males which is a totally wrong perspective to have as a feminist, I should confess.

Therefore, the assumption that once a woman is empowered somehow “un-powers” or displaces a man, is untrue. This might be the reason why in certain cultures or societies female empowerment is faced with strong opposition.

What if the statement was edited to be “if today is male, the future is female”? Does it make it more tolerable? If gender equality cannot be achieved today how about tomorrow? And if it will be achieved tomorrow, how will we get there?

Accepting the future as female.

I describe myself as one who believes that women are capable of making decisions about their bodies, should be enabled and empowered to be all they desire to be. I am one who believes that women should be allowed to be everything they want to be and even more.

But then there is society, there is religion and culture which often stands in the way of what a woman must be or permitted to do. And with time, as one with an interest in such issues, I have come to accept that what often impedes a woman’s empowerment is herself.

I think when women begin to limit themselves, hold back and avoid pursuing certain jobs or education because society decides who must take up what to whose benefit therein lies the greatest defeat to women empowerment. Using my life as an example, though I am currently in a field predominantly male, after high school I had a keen interest in Mechanics (mechanical engineering) and got an offer from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to study it. I however did not pursue it as I was informed of the low employment options for females in this area in Ghana.

Looking back, I question myself as to what other opportunities I have missed out on because it looked addressed to males or society felt it was not in my place to pursue them.

The biggest challenge to preparing for a future that is female in my opinion is believing in the voices of society, culture or family and starting to pursue less of oneself and believing that you are incapable. Therein lies the true threat to women empowerment. The fact that in another household a woman can be a medical practitioner and in another household another though equally capable, drops out of school because she accepts that a woman will no matter what end up in the kitchen is sad.

The future is female might seem impossible and perhaps only one for dreamers. But what if as outrageous as it sounds, the limitations to women to be Leaders, Entrepreneurs, mothers and function fully as professionals and receive Renumeration just as men can only be taken away if this statement is pursued today. If today belongs to the men tomorrow can be ours if we work on breaking down the varying barriers to women’s financial freedom, illiteracy and self believe.

Image Source: Edward Kimmel from Takoma Park, MD – Women’s March 0832

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Decolonising the Mind

If you have ever read the book Decolonising the mind by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, you might have a fair idea of his criticism of the use of colonial language in various African art forms such as African literature. If you have not you should read it because it is an insightful critical view into how colonialism has played an effective role in downplaying the African culture and ourselves as carriers of culture.

Colonialism theoretically ended on the day Ghanaian independence was demanded, did it not? So why is there a constant reflection into the past when the British ruled Ghana and how does it even affect us now?  A lot I would say!  The past four years has been a personal journey of discovering and rediscovering myself. It has been a journey of continually finding out who I am in relation to my African roots and identifying myself in answering the questions, who am I? and where am I from? This journey has found me in many intellectual gatherings, made me ask several rhetorical questions and enlightened me continually on valuing my traditional roots.

The White Man’s Burden of bringing Colonies to Civilisation

It has also taught me how much of my mind is emancipated and which parts continuously pays homage to the colonial masters that do not theoretically exist. This reminds me of the story about the horse that was chained for a couple of days and set free but continued to stay in the same place. When and where did my colonisation start? In school, in the Ghanaian education system that places little emphasis on the native language and places a higher emphasis on English. It started when we were asked not to speak our own mother tongues in school. It started when I had to cut all of my hair and make it short because it was a waste of time and stood in the way of seriousness. It continued when corporal punishment was meted out to students who spoke their own MOTHER TONGUES in school. Then I was unconsciously being mentally indoctrinated with the values of placing another country’s culture over my own. It continued on radio where one radio station is held in high esteem because they offer their programs in English with presenters who have British or American accents though they were born and raised in Ghana. It was when I got laughed at for being too “local” for listening to radio stations that transmitted in my mother tongue.  It was when I was praised for speaking fluent English but never got applauded for being able to read in my native language. It is the wearing of three-piece suits in the scorching sun because it is the only definition of smartness that is accepted in my country. It is simply found in the everyday downplaying of everything originally Ghanaian and glorifying another’s culture.

In my opinion, the current form of colonialism (British rule) is subtle and ubiquitous. It is always looking to make my roots feel inferior, to encourage me to seek out products and things that would make me talk, feel or look everything but what I am meant to be. It is detrimental. This “detrimentality” for example associates intelligence with speaking a British accented-English, therefore once a student cannot confidently express themselves in English, they are labelled dumb.  We are measuring the value of our human capital not on smartness or intelligence but on the ability to rattle a language in an accent that is not ours.

Why are we not proud that we can read and write our own mother tongues?  I celebrate my father, for the many ways he tried to immerse and educate us into the Akan and Kwahu cultures. Thanks to my father I can read and write in Asante Twi and Kwahu Twi and thanks to him I was not given a British or Bible name which I am now so grateful for. It was not always like this especially if you are constantly asked what or where your English (“slave”) name is. He did his best, what about me? 

A few days ago, I tried to put my son to sleep, and I often sing Lullabies to him in English and German. On that day I said why not try something new in my own language, shockingly I realized I knew no lullaby in my own native language. I know one in Ga but not in my native tongue! It made me sad, I wondered, what would I be passing on to my son culturally, was my fathers’ efforts in vain?

How can a people find themselves when they abhor everything that is theirs? There are several varying arguments concerning the adoption of English as a Ghanaian language, one says that it is now our language and should be used as such. Where does our culture fit in there? How does singing “dashing through the snow” bring me any closer to my Akan culture? I was singing about snow even when I knew not what it was. My opinion is this: until I am not asked to write an exam to prove my English skills internationally and as far as I am not classified as a native English speaker, English is not my language.

Non Native forever

My simple question is why must the native language suffer over English? Why does our current family and educational values place our Mother Tongues as second class to English?

The subject of language is only an aspect of the colonisation of culture. On the other hand, I think certain countries like Ghana have a harder time recovering from the sentiments of colonisation. It is often seen as a positive thing to downplay our own to live up to the expectations of a foreign culture. Let me cite India’s as the best example, India is a country that severely suffered from the British division and colonization but today their language and culture is being transferred in all forms across the world through their people. It is also unfair to do such a comparison as we are totally different people with different histories, but why is our culture so downplayed especially by its people?

What is killing our culture?

I think one of the things is the adoption of religions that sees everything traditional as evil and not acceptable. I think it is us not believing in and holding our traditions with value and not passing them on. It is the introduction of English first to our offspring and later our mother tongues. It is the educational system that does not allow our relationships with our cultures to be nurtured. It is the refusal to support our own in every form of art, science inventions because we have been told we are not good enough. It is allowing others to tell our stories in ways that best suits them and us buying these stories to support these storytellers.

The only way forward would be a continual emancipation of our minds from this form of colonialism and placing our traditional values above others and just being proud of who we are and where we come from no matter what the world says!

*I own no rights to any of the images used in my posts, if I fail to rightly attribute where I should have kindly note it was not intentional.

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The tales of the traveller 

(Inspired by Thomas Frimpong & Eric Agyeman’s song – Menenam Mu)

The tales of the traveller should only be told by those who have walked those paths. For those who have never taken those paths assume it is an easy feat.

A fairytale of sorts.

The dares of the life of the traveller are many – and before one knows it, the traveller has been catapulted to a place where the return home is treacherous.

The traveller will see what must not be seen. The traveller will sleep where one must not sleep. The traveller will hear what must not be heard. However, many are the lures that keep the traveller fixated on the path where return is another new dream. For whatever negative the traveller encounters, he will comfort himself, mostly with the brightness of a future, which is the better day to come.

The curse of the gold that needs to be returned to its home pushes the traveller further into many unthinkable feats. Before he knows it, the traveller is convinced return can only be possible with the cursed gold.  

Though cursed, the gold must build a home – a home he may never live in but contented it sits empty, surrounded by grass. And that’s even a happy ending. With the gold, he must ensure no one is left behind. Even if he must sleep in hunger or on a bed that tires his bones. It must be done.

As the elders say, the bird that fails to fly will sleep in hunger. And thus, the traveller must keep gathering, even where food is farthest from their nest. 

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How to choose a church

Looking for a church? I wrote this “sort of” how-to-guide, inspired because I moved to a new city and on the quest for a new church. Perhaps you are also in my situation, or you are new to Christ and Christianity, or simply need a new church, I hope this piece provides some helpful points for finding and choosing a church.

Over the past years, I have had to move to new cities a couple of times. My approach in the past often started with a Google search and making enquiries on social media or within social – circles. However, I believe finding a church requires some sitting down and reflection on our basis for finding a church. We need to ask and answer some key questions. This can be described as a pre-planning phase as well as a “getting to know self” stage.

Here are three questions I believe we need to set out time to reflect on and find the answers to.

  • Why do I go to church, or why should I go to church?

The Bible is clear in Hebrews 10:25 to not stop going to church. We are advised to always go to church so that we stay spurred on in our walk with Christ. Church is the place to be stirred up in love, faith, and joy and the place to stir up our gifts and all other good works (Hebrews 10:24).

Do not stop going to church meetings. Some people do stop. But help each other to be strong. You must do it all the more as you see the Great Day coming closer. Hebrews 10:25 (WE)

This question however is a personal one, like our relationship with Christ. It is necessary we ask ourselves why and find the answers. Maybe you have been on the church routine long enough and need to refresh those reasons. Some of us have been in church since we were babies. It was how we spent time together as a family, the only weekly family activity or event. For some, church was where we discovered us, our gifts, and what God had to say about us. For some, church was and has always been there. “I chose this church because it is the nearest to my home”, “A friend invited me to church, I liked it and I stayed”, “The church music was good”, “The pastor preaches such a sermon here”.

Yes, these are all great reasons to attend church, but why do we go to church? What convicts us to stay in church?

Because we are going to need that conviction when the friend leaves, when the music becomes bad, when the new pastor has no prophetic sermons and when everything tells us it is time to take a break or leave.

Another question, which may be helpful in finding answers to the above, would be finding out what you require from a church.

  • What do I need from a church?

Everyone has some needs that need to be met. They could be physical, financial, spiritual, etc. At some point, hopefully, when it comes to the church, our needs are in par with Christ. As a new believer, the need could be to learn more about the foundations of the faith. Other needs could be: to be loved and encouraged, to explore talents, to have a family, etc. Someone may join a church with the need for a job or livelihood. There are people who found their first jobs or business contracts in church. Someone may join with the need for spiritual growth. As unique as our relationships with God are, so are our needs when it comes to church. Finding the answers helps us to know if our needs are being met, and if not, ensure they are being met. It helps with the resolve to stay in and connected to church when we do not feel like it.

Hopefully, now we know why we go to church and what we require from the church. Another question, that might not cross our minds, is the expectations of the church. Church should be a two-way-relationship, where we receive from the church, and we give to the church as well.

  • What does the church need from me?

No church leader desires a rebellious congregation or a congregation that refuses to align with church goals. There are churches that are not eager to accept anyone as a member. They desire committed members who will dedicate themselves to the growth and wellbeing of the church. When we become members of a church, we are submitting to the church authority. We are submitting to its rules and doctrines. The church may need financial and time commitments as well as skills commitment. We need to be ready and consider this as well. Every church requires dedicated and consistent members. Is that something we can do or are willing to do? Considering factors such as location of the church, the make-up of the church, the stage (new or old) the church is in, what sacrifices would we need to make to help the church. Are we ready to partake in church events and go out of our comfort zones when the church’s needs are to be met?

Church does not belong to the church leadership. The church is us, and we all make up the body of Christ. As it is explained in 1 Corinthians 12, all parts are important. Those visible and those behind the scenes. As much it is significant for the visible to be hard-working, those behind the scenes are influential for making it all come together.

The final but the first thing to consider and the most significant part of this self-reflection is to pray. Pray. It is great to know why we go to church, what we need from church, and what we can offer to the church. However, God knows us best. Pray and put every request before God, including this quest for a church. We need to pray for a church that meets His desires for this glorious person He created us to be. That He directs us in finding a church where we will grow to know Him more and be all we are expected to be.

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Grateful for the little things

In times such as these, when a lot is happening in and around us, it is a good thing to take 2 minutes out of your day to bring joy to your heart. To stir up hope in your heart and be grateful for what you have and have experienced thus far.

One of the ways I bring joy to my heart is to list the little things that neither cost me nor need my intervention to happen. Yet their occurrence brings or has brought joy many times to my heart.

What are some of the little things that bring joy to your heart and stirs up hope?

Here are my list of little things that make me happy:

  1. The warmness of the morning or spring sun on my skin
  2. The kindness of a stranger – when a stranger offers to help me or offers me their seat
  3. My son laughing in his sleep at night
  4. A hug and kiss from my son
  5. A smile from my son
  6. Seeing my son happy
  7. Wearing my hair in an afro-puff
  8. A heart-to-heart conversation with a friend
  9. Singing with a friend or a group like in church
  10. A clear night, lit with stars and the moon
  11. The chirping of birds in the morning
  12. The sound of children playing

I hope this list inspires you to think about the little things that makes you happy.

Take a few minutes, some paper or just your thoughts and try to see how many you come up with.

And see how your heart swells with joy. 

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That we all may be one

St. Louis senior high school commemorates 70 years of existence this year. This milestone stirs up varied emotions in many old girls. Buried experiences and life events that happened on the St. Louis campus come alive. Over the past weeks, my Alma matter has been a constant feature on my mind as well. Mostly due to the flood of photos on my Facebook timeline from old girls thrilled about this grand milestone.

The question I’ve asked myself repeatedly is “how did St. Louis contribute to my life”? I wanted to write a random Facebook post “The 7 things I am grateful for as an old girl of St. Louis” with the answers I found. Truth be told, I struggled to find those 7 points. 2022 also marks 20 years since I left Louis (but I am not that old.😉). One might argue that with two decades past, my memory may need a little more than rejuvenation. However, my struggle was that my challenges and bad experiences were easier to reach than the things of gratitude.

Nevertheless, on Saturday 19th February 2022, at the launch of the anniversary celebration, I came across a photo of an old girl, Sally with Father Nkrumah (a former priest of the school). This photo instantly located and opened every can of good experiences hidden in memory. Father Nkrumah was such a kind-hearted person and blunt with his opinions. He educated me during conversations on campus streets of the meaning and origin of my name “Nana Kesewaa” and did not forget to add the lessons of the origin of the Kwahu. He was always ready to impart knowledge, regardless of the location. 

Now let me share some things, I am grateful for as an old student of St. Louis.

The educational infrastructure: As a science student, I was privileged to be in the best science class (Science B). Most importantly, I count it a blessing to have been in a school that had highly equipped labs where we could have practical sessions in Biology, Physics, and Chemistry. To experience everything we read come alive in our hands.

The amazing teachers: I cannot forget the phenomenal teachers we had. Mr. Addae Mununkum left me with a positive impression of his personality, my English literature teachers Maa Adongo and Maa Christi and how they imprinted the love for literature on my heart. Mr. Bawuah, for his patience in teaching Chemistry and his dry jokes in class. Maa Vero and another teacher whose name I fail to recall taught us life skills with such a heart of humour.

Skills & purpose development: I am grateful for the opportunities we were given to develop the necessary skills as well as our gifts in the many student clubs and sport groups. I enjoyed being in the drama group “Faith in Action” and also singing with the Sweet Melodians. Then as well, being part of the Green Earth organisation, evangelizing about the need to keep the earth green. The opportunities were incredibly vast, and key to developing our life purpose as well as positioning us as positive contributors to society.

Leadership Skills: I was privileged to be a prefect in my final year. This experience as a leader taught me a lot about myself and people, of course. It taught me to be respectful of others. How I became an assistant Compound Overseer is also a story for another day.

Community and Sisterhood: My favourite moments on campus were the morning assemblies each weekday before class, the protestant church services in the dining hall and entertainment nights on Saturdays. Those moments reflected the community nurtured by girls from different parts of the world brought together by a vision for wholesome girl education. This was highly reflective in the way we communicated with each other on campus. We formed bonds that moved beyond friendship into sisterhood and community.

The culture of hugs: What more can be said about Louis girls and the culture of hugs? I am grateful I learned this expression of love and friendship primarily in Louis. Hugs were the preferred and most common form of salutation on campus.

Responsibility: Each girl gets assigned some responsibility every term. It was expected of us to be diligent in our duties and contribute to the “running” of the school. Though I did not appreciate the areas I was assigned in my early years (toilets and bathrooms), I knew they had to be clean before I sat in the classroom each day. If it was not up to standard, I would be asked to do it again. At an early age we were taught how to deal with such tasks as well as manage time.

The amazing people: I think the greatest blessing of St. Louis was the people I was privileged to meet. The many personalities I got to learn from. Even at the age of 14, 15,16,17 some people so stood out in their personalities and focus on life. They were an inspiration to many by their kindness, calmness, intelligence, resilience, assertiveness and (not to cut the list short), boldness.

I strongly believe it was God’s will that I find myself in St. Louis, and that it nurtures me into who I am today. As we thank God for the existence of this school, I am grateful for the many experiences I made, the good and the bad and the wonderful people I met, students and teachers alike.

On this day, let us also  remember the incredible souls such as Sheila Mensah and Alberta who are not with us to mark this day. God’s peace be with them.

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