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.

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.

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.