Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Closed to business?

I've so many things I want to write about and that's beginning to limit me as I don't know where to start...I was in Zambia recently and the whole trip can write me a book!
I think I'll start with the my most recent interesting experience right here in Ghana...

So yesterday, I was to meet some people at the Accra Mall. The plan was for me to use the ATM before we set out on our mission for the day - which was not centred around the mall.
I was surprised to encounter a plastic barrier at the Spintex road entrance. The security guard at post told me the mall opens at 9am for which reason I would not be allowed entry. I found this especially strange as I could see cars moving up and down within the mall. I mean, how did they get in?
I asked the security guard why this directive. I don't know what it was about me that made him act someways ( how else can I put this? Haha) towards me.
I suspect it had something to do with the car I was driving, the English I was speaking and my size....Who is this small girl who is feeling so cool riding ( I wasn't feeling cool o, I was just being me) her sugar daddy's car (I was driving my dad's car) and thinking she has a right to understand why she cannot be allowed to park.
Anyways, his answer to my question was that it was an order from above and he was only doing his work. All this while, I noticed he signaled any car that lined up behind me to use the motorway entrance. At a point in time, he shifted another of the barriers to allow another car inside. The whole thing was like he had something personal against me.
I asked why he was directing other cars to the other entrance and asked if it was open. He said he could not tell me whether or not it was open, but I could go check....which didn't make sense. I told him I needed a definite answer from him as that road was a one-way and encountering a closed gate might mean I'll have to take a longer route to get back to where I wanted to be. His attitude was very appalling...It was like he had meant me and wanted to teach me a lesson.
When I heard him speak Ewe to the occupants of the car he allowed in, I got down from my car, and gave him a nice lecture on humility in Ewe. On how he should not create impressions of people based on prejudice and what he sees and then go on and use that to decide how to respond to them. I told him this world is very small, and he has no idea where he'll meet me and need my help just as I have no idea where I'll meet him and need his help for which reason I'm being polite with him. I told him not to allow the English I speak cause him to feel intimidated and respond the way he did. He tried arguing that he never insulted me and I made it clear to him I never said he insulted me, but that his attitude towards me was just wrong. In the end, he apologised. I could see the pain in his eyes as he said he was sorry which to me was evidence that everything I said was true.
By this point, one of the people I was to meet, who had entered the mall through the other entrance walked down to the Spintex entrance and expressed surprise as the other gate was open to all cars.
We drove in through the other gate and one of the people I was going to meet, was parked inside the mall although I arrived at the mall about 20 minutes before her!
As we talked about this encounter, another security guard heard us and invited himself to be part of our conversation. He said the rule was to prevent people from using the mall car park as a car park....I'm tired of saying "this doesn't make sense" but it really  made no sense to me.
How would closing the Spintex road entrance and opening the motorway entrance stop people from parking their cars in the mall and going off elsewhere to carry out their business? When I said this kind of thinking was backwards, he took offence and said I'd insulted him...I explained to him that wasn't in reference to him, but to the givers of the directive.
To cut a long story short, I went into the mall building which to my surprise was open. If a mall has functioning ATMs which are accessible before 9am, why do you prevent access to the mall car park because the shops are not opening?
I remember Logical Reasoning was a topic taught as part of Core Maths in SSS....hehehe. I'm just saying.
We have a long way to go in this Ghana o. God have mercy on us!
End of story one :)


Saturday, 17 October 2015

First Aid

Sometime in early August, I was called back to the office in the middle of conducting monitoring visits. Reason - I'd been selected to undergo first aid training at the West African Rescue Association.  I liked the idea and I must say I enjoyed the training. I came back feeling ready to save any life especially through CPR.
A little over two hours ago, on my way back from the same monitoring visits I'd been recalled from, somewhere before Nkonya in the Volta Region, there was this gentleman dressed in Electricity Company of Ghana overalls by the side of the road. He was furiously flagging down our car. We stopped. He was standing by an ECG truck. He managed to tell us that two of his colleagues had been electrocuted and will need assistance in being conveyed to the hospital.  The fact that their own company had turned the power on while they were working is worth mentioning.

I was scared. As he went to bring them, we began to make room in the car. I was seated alone behind. I was getting more scared.  I kept wondering if I was going to end up having to be in such close proximity with someone who's probably already dead. I however knew there was no way we could drive away because of fear. Earlier in the trip, we'd been stopped by a man who wanted a lift as part of his journey to Hohoe. We told him we were on official assignment and so couldn't offer him a ride. I felt so terrible as we drove off, but there was not much I could do about that.
This situation was however different. It'll take the devil himself to drive away from such a situation with the excuse of being on official assignment.

The first of the victims was responsive as I could tell he was aware of his surroundings. The second, was unresponsive. As the guy struggled to get the second unresponsive victim into our car, I knew his chances of making it alive to the hospital were dwindling. I asked him to put the guy down on the ground and I jumped out to start giving chest compressions. I hadn't even thought about the fact that I'd have to give mouth to mouth resuscitation to someone I didn't know. By the time I was nearing 30 compressions,  another gentleman was by my side whom I think was part of the ECG team. I instructed him on how to do the mouth to mouth which he did. I continued with the compressions but I was getting scared and I felt my compressions were not strong enough although I noticed a little responsiveness as the compressions went on. I showed my boss how to do it and handed over to him as I reached for my first aid handbook from my bag, flipping through to see if there was any other thing I should be doing.
By this point, I was a bit in shock myself at this unexpected situation. I flipped through so many times but couldn't figure out what I was looking for.
I rushed back to continue CPR when I noticed he'd been left unattended for a second. I was praying,  compressing,  giving instructions and confused all at once! An empty taxi turned up by this time and the people who'd turned up at the scene all felt we should be transporting him to the hospital. I asked if they were sure he was breathing and the guy giving the mouth to mouth was certain of that. I, because of fear didn't want to to look too closely at the one I was trying to save. I didn't want to find out if he was dead or alive. I felt the best option was to go on with the CPR until he came around fully but I also wanted him to be with the experts within the shortest possible time as I knew there was nothing like an ambulance going to turn up with paramedics. I advised the men to continue attempting CPR in the taxi though it wouldn't be as effective. They sped off to the hospital and we continued our journey.

The first victim had already been sent to the hospital while we were attending to the second.
When we got to a filling station to top up,  a taxi driver approached to ask "what happened to the other guy?"
Apparently, he was the one who transported the first victim.
I kept praying for this guy through the journey till I was confident God had heard and would answer.
I didn't take anybody's contact because I didn't want to hear bad news.... I must confess. I would rather work on the assumption that he made it than face the opposite fact.

We'd planned to set off on our journey at 6am, we ended up leaving around 6:30am. We made an unplanned stop over in one of our intervention communities as well. I've been asking myself if it was all part of a divine plan for us to be at that spot at the time we were because one minute could have made a difference in us missing the guy who flagged us down.

After this experience,  I came out with three resolves:
1. I'm going to make sure my company gets an AED as part of our first aid kit. I'll also look into getting one for personal first aid use.
2. I'm going to work on keeping fit so I wouldn't need a stronger person to assist me if I have to do CPR
3. I'm going to advice all I know to learn the basics of first aid

This experience has shown me how fickle this life is. One minute, you're here going about life. The next, you're treading that thin line between life and death...... Another reminder to live each day as if it were my last. Another reminder that this life I live here is just the dress rehearsal for the real deal - ETERNITY. The big question is, are you reading this, ready for eternity?

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Disbelieving faith?

This is going to be short....I still don't know how to title it yet. Hopefully a title will come to mind by the time I'm done writing.
So I was just listening (yes, listening) to the book of Acts as I worked (multitasking is my thing ;P ) Acts 12 caught my attention. That's the chapter where King Herod Agrippa began to persecute believers in Christ....So our very own Peter was caught and thrown in prison...
Acts 12:5 says "But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him."
I am certain they were praying for his release...
Now, let's jump to verse 15...
What was the reaction of the people who were earnestly praying for Peter's release when Rhoda opened the door, saw Peter, closed it in his face and excitedly ran back to tell the church that their prayer had been answered?

"You're out of your mind!"

They concluded she was crazy.
Now, Rhoda knew what she'd seen and she wasn't going to be convinced that she was crazy (some people can make you doubt what you know to be true and I believe the church could have easily had some of us...)
Anyways, so Rhoda wasn't going to have her mind toyed with so she insisted. And what was the church's reaction to her insistence?
Rhoda was no longer out of her mind. They now believed...but,
"It must be his [Peter's] angel"
Now, I don't know if that meant they assumed Peter dead and had taken the form of an angel...All I know is, they were certain it was not Peter in the human form standing at the door....and this is what got me.
How many times have I not been like the church which was earnestly praying for Peter?
How many times have I not earnestly prayed to God on a subject, have Him answer me and then express profound surprise at the result I'd been praying for? It's not as if I do not have the faith required to see my prayer answered.
It is more like surprise at having God answer a faith based prayer. Sometimes, it's got to do with the speed with which God answers. Other times, it's as if I was just praying out of duty and was not expecting God to answer (which is is not the case) in the way in which He did answer.
Anyways, got to go back to work.
Just some running commentary on what was going through my ears :) ... and a good way to update my blog :)

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The Seedy Presumption - 8

I can't believe how sad I feel knowing this is the last post in the series!! Seriously, what's wrong with me? :D
I know it was quite an abrupt end but don't forget I was working within a word limit...It's up to me now to carry it forward...I pray the time to do this avails itself soon. Till then, enjoy the read :)

It had been two weeks since Akwesi’s room. I’d been avoiding him since then primarily because of what the Prophet said on the last day of his prescribed fast.
“The Lord didn’t reveal the meaning of the vision, but He told me something more in addition.”
I held my breath in anticipation and saw Mama’s eyes grow wider.
“He told me that the seed has already been planted in the physical.”
My heart dropped into the very pit of my stomach, from out of nowhere, the meaning of the Prophet’s vision stood out to me. I swallowed, kept my composure and mentally scolded myself,
“Stop the presumptions, Anima!”
“Man of God, what does this mean?”
I wondered if Mama had not heard what he’d said about God not revealing the meaning to him.
“Mrs Anim, if you really want me to work at getting the full revelation, I’ll strongly advise you to sign on to the 21 days assisted fast for divine revelation. It is free. But you’ll be required to sow a 500 cedis free will offering into the ministry when the revelation comes.”
“Alright Prophet, I’ll find the money and come back soon.”
On the way back home, I was torn between telling Mama my understanding of the vision. At least that would save her a considerable sum of money. And then I laughed at myself. Since when did I start believing in such things as visions? Since when did I even start decoding visions? My heart however still remained in the very pit of my stomach and I instinctively reached to touch it.
“Why did you laugh?”
“Did I laugh?”
She shook her head as if I was losing my mind and flagged down a taxi. Once we were seated in the taxi, she turned to face me,
“Yes? I asked a question.”
“It was nothing, Mama.”
“The time will soon come when I won’t be the one dragging you to church.”

I remained silent. I had just one question for God, and I waited for the solitude of my room to ask aloud,
“God, if you’re really up there, why did you not stop this seed from being planted? I thought you reveal to redeem.”
I nervously laughed and scolded myself,
“Stop the presumption, Anima!”

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Seedy Presumption - 7

We're almost there! The last bit of the story will be posted after this particular one....and I must say it's been nice seeing my reader stats increase since I started posting this particular series (If I can call it that) though the absence of feedback leaves me wondering what exactly readers think of what they read :(
Here goes part 7....

The sudden change in temperature when we stepped out of the office felt like I’d just stepped out of an ice box into an oven. I was excited when Mama said she had to go to the market before heading home, releasing me to take the lead. I’d been dreading the taxi ride back home as I suspected she was going to go on and on about the need for me to take the fast serious.
I made my way to Akwesi’s. He burst into laughter on sighting me.
“What’s funny?”
“I see you took my advice to get serious with God to heart.”
“Why?”
 “What’s up with the scarf on your head?”
“Oh, I forgot to take this off! It’s not even mine.” I reached for the scarf and folded it into my handbag.
“You should wear scarves more often.”
“Why?”
“It gave you this afrocentric look. Put it back on and go look in the mirror.”
“No, I’m not doing that. Where’s everyone?”
I asked, as I climbed the stairs heading for his room. The silence was deafening.
“Mum has a class and Akua has been at her boyfriend’s end since Friday.”
His voice followed me up to the landing,
“Why don’t we sit in the living room and watch some TV?”
“I want to use the mirror in your room first.”
“What for?”
“You asked me to put the scarf back on and to look in the mirror.” I rolled my eyes at him in exasperation.
He shook his head and followed me upstairs. I led us into his room and standing in front of the mirror, took out the blue and white striped scarf Mr. Personal Assistant had given me. He sat at the foot of his bed behind me while I took my time to fix the scarf just as I’d seen a natural hair vlogger teach on TV.  I spoke to my reflection,
“I guess this is what you meant by afrocentric.”
He came up behind me and kissed my neck in response. I held my breath and slowly released it in a bid to calm my nerves. I’d always wondered what it would feel like to be kissed, especially by him. Between the time I turned to face him and the time our lips met, my thoughts ran from Elma to Mama and then Papa. Even the Prophet and Mr. Personal Assistant found space in my crowded mind. I had enough time to even wonder if these were the thoughts I was supposed to be thinking. I broke it off and asked,
“Does this equate to cheating on Elma?”
“No, it doesn’t.”
I wanted to ask why, but his lips found mine again. There was a voice screaming in my head, telling me to put an end to this. My mind went back to my earlier thoughts. I reasoned Elma out of my thoughts – Akwesi said it wasn’t cheating. Mama and Papa – well, they’d never told me to not kiss a guy. My earlier prayers to God – He’s supposed to be a forgiving father right? And where in the Bible does it say kissing is sin anyways? I broke it off again.
“Does the Bible talk about this?”
He slowly let out his breath before answering no. I still knew this wasn’t right, but his hands were doing things that left me feeling a way I’d never felt before and there was a part of me that wanted to know if it could feel any better. He turned me around and eased me onto the bed while still standing. His eyes were fixed on mine and a crooked smile formed around his lips as he unbuckled his belt and pulled down his jeans, revealing his Mickey Mouse boxer shorts. A nervous laughter escaped my lips.“What are we doing?” The last thing I remembered before my brains stopped functioning was the feel of his palms against my bare skin.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Seedy Presumption - 6

The story continues...

Mama had obviously already briefed the Prophet. We went straight into prayer mode, but not before I was handed a scarf to cover my head. There was no time to waste. It was supposed to be a fifteen minute session. I prayed along, thanking God for touching Papa’s heart on the issue of my education. I however had questions for him. Like why does he allow Papa to act the way he does most of the times? Why couldn’t we just live as one happy family with no need to go see Prophets and Men of God every now and then? I told him that he was making it hard for me to always believe he was real. Mine were silent prayers. I could hear the others though I couldn’t make out what they’d been praying as they’d been speaking in strange languages. Mama’s sounded like a cross between French and Chinese. I stifled a giggle. After a few minutes, the Prophet silenced all of us. He had a word for me.
“Anima, as I was praying, the Lord opened my eyes and I saw something.” The way he said it sent some panic through me. “Don’t worry my daughter, the Lord reveals to redeem.” He sensed my panic and made an effort to calm me down. He turned to Mama, “The devil knows what lies ahead of your daughter. That is why he wants to stop her from going forward. But he is a liar!”
“Oh yes he is!” Mr Personal Assistant piped from his position beside the Prophet, accompanying it with a loud clap.
The Prophet signalled him to get him a glass of water and continued while waiting for it, “I saw three big mountains between her and her future.” His eyes were back on Mama as he reached for the water and gulped it down, pausing for his words to make impact.
“As she struggled to climb the first mountain, I saw a seed planted in the spiritual realm. It yielded a wonderful harvest before she got to the mountain top but nobody wanted to harvest it.
“Man of God, what could this mean?” Mama was anxious and I must admit I was also anxious to hear what he had to say.
“I wasn’t shown the meaning, but let’s keep praying for revelation.”
He turned to face me. “We are going to pray for the next five minutes and scatter all mountains in your path, my daughter.” He signalled for me to draw nearer, and laid his hands on my head when I got before him. I noticed Mr Personal Assistant dash to stand behind me from the corner of my eye as the Prophet kept pushing my head backwards. It felt like he wanted me to fall down. The harder he pushed, the firmer I dug the sole of my feet into the ground.
“My daughter, if you do not allow the Spirit to move, our prayers will not work o.”
I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but there was no way I was going to allow myself to be pushed to the ground. After what seemed like eternity, he abruptly ended the prayers. “This one requires fasting in addition. I’ll join you to fast for three days. I rarely do that for free, but I’ll do that for you my daughter.”
His eyes were closed as he spoke. He called Mama forward to join me, laid hands on both of us and said a short prayer after which we were dismissed. “Come back on the last day of the fast. We will pray together and everything will be over.”
“Thank you Prophet. May the almighty God continue to bless you.”
Mr Personal Assistant was at her side with the Love Offering container. She reached for her bag, took out some money, dropped it in and turned to face me, “Anima, say thank you to the Man of God.”
“Thank you Man of God”, I repeated, feeling like a toddler saying thank you for a lollipop.

“All praise to the Almighty,” he answered.

Monday, 15 June 2015

The Seedy Presumption - 5

Continued from Part 4....

I wasn’t sure I heard right. “What did you say, Papa?
“Your mother made some sense, although I still stand by my views. I’m not as bad as you two think”, His gaze was back on me, “I’m just patiently waiting to tell you two “I told you so””, and with that, he got up and left for work, skipping his breakfast.
“Didn’t I tell you that my God doesn’t disappoint?”
I nodded in agreement. Papa’s opening remark was however not lost on me. He was clear about it. His mind was long made up before our prayer session. There was no point in reminding Mama of this. I was however not ready for her next statement.
“Hurry up and get ready. I spoke with the Prophet earlier in the morning. He wants us to come in for a special session.”
“Oh Mama! Why don’t you call him and let him know there’s no need for us to pray again. The problem has been solved.” I had been looking forward to catch up on my lost hours of sleep.

Situated on the outskirts of Accra, our journey to The Lord’s Vineyard Philanthropic Miracles Ministry involved three car changes and three hours on the road, one of which was spent battling the terrible Monday morning traffic. We made our way to the prophet’s personal assistant who was suited up in a glass cubicle in front of his mentor’s office, drenched in sweat. He noticed the look of confusion on my face as he looked up from his diary to confirm our appointment. With a knowing smile, he explained without my asking, “Our AC’s sickness has come again o. We are trusting God to touch someone’s heart to meet the ministry at its point of need.”
I only nodded in reply. He turned to Mama,
“Mrs. Anim, the Prophet will soon call for you. He wants me to let you know that the Lord has laid it upon his heart to not charge any consultation fees today from 8am to 9:45am, and you are blessed to have your appointment fall within this timeframe. Just feel free to drop whatever seed the Lord lays on your heart in the Love Offering container when you go in to see him.”
Mama turned to face me, “This our God is a miracle worker.”
“Yes he is.” Saving 100 cedis through this waiver was a miracle.
We waited our turn in the stuffy reception with the AC spewing out hot air with each swing. After about ten minutes, Mr Personal Assistant came out of his cubicle to lead us in. I was surprised when he didn’t excuse himself.

Sobering Reminder

I don't know why I feel like it's morally wrong to be posting part 5 of the story seeing as we're in a state of mourning here in Ghana. Mourning the lives of scores of people who began the week having not the faintest idea they were going to end up not just dead, but burnt beyond recognition....
This is a reminder to me that this life we live is but a vapor. Here today, gone tomorrow.....
A reminder to live each day as if it were my last. A reminder to not hold grudges. A reminder to not keep putting off what I know needs to be done because a time will come when my maker will call me home....And I might end up in the wrong home if I lose sight of the fact that home could be eternal life or eternal damnation....sobering but important reminder these few days have been.
Even as those of us who count ourselves lucky go on and on about how God saved and delivered us from the floods or whatever form of death could have had us mute by now, I find myself asking myself this - Are we implying by our gratitude for life that those who died did something wrong? And what about those of them who have been called to eternal life? Why do we always look at death from the lens of negativity?...It's a question I've asked myself many times. I guess I'm rambling now. I'll just end it here... 

Friday, 29 May 2015

The Seedy Presumption - 4

In a bid to prevent this from running until part 20 :D , I've decided to make my postings longer...

The warm feel of Akwesi’s arms around my neck brought me back to the present.
“Forgive me dear, that was Elma. She’s helping me edit my literature review.
“I’m not complaining am I? Girlfriends always come before best friends.
“You’re so cute when you act jealous.” He punched my arms.
“Well, I’m not acting it. I actually am.” That was a fact but I put on my “I’m kidding look” and he let it pass.
“So you’re coming to the university next semester? This is the best news I’ve heard all day. I’m really glad your father has changed his mind.”
“You lie.”
“Huh?”
“You couldn’t be happier than Mama. You should have seen her display of gratitude to our Father in heaven.”
I got up to act out how Mama had stood with her hands lifted and her gaze fixed upwards praising God. When we were done laughing our hearts out, I remembered the second part of his statement.
“No, he’s not had a change of mind.”
He was momentarily lost. “Who’s not had a change of – oh you mean your father? I’m sure he’ll come around.”
I replied with a short laugh, “I’m also sure the pope will be renouncing his Catholic faith and moving to The Lord’s Vineyard Philanthropic Miracles Ministry tomorrow.
“Anima, your thought process –“
I cut him off, “-is amazing. Yes, I know. But seriously, that’s Mama’s newest discovery.”
“You seem down all of a sudden. Why?”
“Because I have a strong conviction she will be taking me there for prayers so he comes around as you said. I just know it. And I’m dreading it. I only accompany her on Sundays, but this is my own case and I’m going to have to be there all week.”
“You presume too much sometimes, Anima. And maybe, just maybe, if you start taking God serious along with her, things will turn around.”
I wasn’t expecting this from Akwesi who only goes to church on Christmas day and Easter Sunday.
“What did you say?”
“You heard me, Anima. I think you’re being too dismissive of God. Maybe he’s allowing all these to happen so you take him more serious.”
The calmness with which he said this irked me more than the words.
“Can we talk about anything but this?”
“I see I struck the wrong chord. Forgive me. I was just being frank with you.”
He did however change the subject, and we spent another hour talking about everything but my situation. I made to head home when the mosquitoes began to bite.
“I’ve to get going. He’s already in a bad mood.”
Akwesi got to his feet and held his hands out to help me up. We walked in silence up to my front gate. He cupped my face in his hands and assured me, “Everything will be alright.”
I smiled and gave him a quick hug before letting myself in.
Mama was waiting for me when I got in.
“Where’s he? Does he know?”
My voice was barely a whisper.
“Asleep. I spoke to him. He seems to be coming around.”
“Really? What did he say?”
“He said I’d made sense and that he’ll sleep over it. My daughter, we need to pray hard about this. Hurry up and take a rest. I’ll wake you up at midnight.”
“Mama –“
“No excuses”,
She cut me off. I remembered what Akwesi had said earlier and kept my mouth shut. I did join her for three hours of prayers from midnight. The next morning, Papa called for a short meeting before heading off to work.
“Anima, I heard you and your mother praying the Holy Spirit over my head last night”, he let out a chortle.
“Do not ascribe my decision on this issue to him”, he continued with a sly smile, “I made up my mind long before your prayer session started.”
It sounded as if he were going to say he had had a change of mind. That I would be going off to the university in a few weeks. But knowing Papa, I couldn’t allow myself to dwell on that possibility. I glanced at Mama who was wringing her fingers in anticipation. He looked at me while speaking, “I still stand by my words. You’re too young to be let out into the world.”
I didn’t know I had any hope left in me after his opening remarks until I felt my chest constrict in disappointment at this. The tears began to well and I was blinking wildly to hold them back. He turned to face Mama,
“She’ll be going to the university.” 

Monday, 25 May 2015

The Seedy Presumption - 3

Here goes part 3....

Papa was the one to break the news of my results. That particular day had been good in every sense of the word.
I’d been lying on the sofa, flicking channels between CNN and BBC – the only two Papa-approved channels I was permitted to watch when he burst in with a wide grin. He called for Mama.  When all three of us were together, he announced,
“The paper I’m holding in my hands is Anima’s SSSCE result slip.”
I gasped and broke out into a cold sweat. I didn’t know the results were in, and I couldn’t tell if he had been all grins because I’d failed and given him occasion to lash out at Mama and me.
“But Papa, the exams council has not announced release of the results,” I managed once I got over the unexpectedness of the news.
“Yes, my daughter, but you’ve forgotten I am the headmaster of the best secondary school in the country. I have access to classified information such as this long before the general public is informed.”
I noticed the look on Mama’s face when Papa referred to me as “my daughter”. That was such a rarity.
“I know you’re itching to know what you got.”
He handed the slip to Mama who briefly glanced at it and announced as she handed it over to me,
“All I see are A’s.” She looked up at him for confirmation.
“You saw well, my wife. All she got were A’s”
I reached for the slip, noticing how he did not comment on her reading abilities. I scanned through and confirmed my grades. I sprang from the sofa and threw my arms around the two of them, bursting into tears of joy.
Papa had an announcement to make later that evening during supper. “University is not for teenagers, my daughter,”
His opening statement caused my heart to sink into the very pit of my stomach. He continued between slurps of soup, “I entered the university at the age of 25 and if the things I saw 25 years ago are anything to go by, taking into account what has become of the world in this modern age, I have decided that you will not apply to go in there until you turn twenty.”
I sat and stared at him, unable to bring myself to continue with my meal. My disappointment was sealed by the fact that he’d been sober while making these pronouncements. I wasn’t given the option of holding on to hope that it was the matured palm wine from under his bed doing the talking and that a different pronouncement would be made when it wore off. That was the only day I wished him drunk.
“What would she be doing for the next three years, Daniel?” I nodded in agreement, waiting for his answer.
“Oh, that will not be a problem at all. She will continue to do what she’s been doing the last six months as she awaited her results – she’ll read wide and update herself on current affairs.”
He paused, taking time to chew through his serving of the chicken Mama had specially prepared in celebration of my results.
“For three years? I think that’s too much Dan.”
“By the time she gets to the university, she would be ready to face the world. She has not complained, has she?”
He looked at me and I quickly filled my mouth with food. My mind had gone into overdrive mode trying to process all he’d said and even though he’d been in a good mood, I knew better than to express my misgivings about his decision without carefully selecting my words.
 “I still think three years is too long for her to sit at home doing nothing.”
“I think so too, Papa.”
“This is not about what you two think. This is about what’s best for you, Anima. Ask your mother why she dropped out of her very first year of secondary school.”
“Daniel, do I embarrass you?”
Papa avoided the question.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Seedy Presumption - 2

So, (why do I almost always begin my sentences with conjunctions?) Anyways, back to what I was going to say...I've had a few of my ghost readers (ghost because they refuse to comment) ask me in person when I'm going to post a continuation....so here goes. And please, do share with your friends and comment ooooo tom! haha

Mama went back to grinding the spices she’d been at before I came in with my news and back to singing in an attempt to silence the sounds of my room being trashed. I pulled a stool and sat by her in silence. I caught tear drops falling into the wegba and its contents.
“Let me help you.” I reached out to take the tapoli from her, wondering, why she wouldn't use the blender which was still in the carton in which she bought it on the shelf. She gently pushed my hands aside, “Go on out and breathe some fresh air. Dinner will be ready by the time you return.” Her smile didn’t hide the pain in her eyes. I didn’t want to leave her but I figured she wanted privacy to calm him down.
“Alright, Mama. I’ll be back before it gets dark.”
The sun had let down on its earlier fury, and the sticky stillness that came along with it had given way to a cool breeze. I wasn’t sure where I was going. I let my feet lead as I consciously took my mind off my parents and allowed it to be filled with thoughts of Akwesi. He’d become my escape – The other half of my world which made sense.
He called me beautiful. Papa said I was an ugly daughter of a bitch. I instinctively reached for my left cheek where Papa’s palms landed when I was stupid enough to ask him if he was impliedly a dog the first time he called me that. Everything had been perfect in my eyes up until that point.
“Anima!”
Akwesi’s voice pierced through my thoughts. I looked up to see him relaxed on one of the wooden park benches in the woods behind his home. The sight of him resulted in a warm fuzzy feeling in my stomach. I never used to feel that way until a few months ago.
“Where to?”
I hadn’t decided where I was heading when I left home, but judging from where I found myself, I knew my feet had been leading me to him.
“I guess I was coming to see you.”
“You guess?”He got up and hugged me.
I laughed and took my seat by him, resting my head on his shoulder.“Guess what?”
“Anima, I’m never able to accurately guess your thoughts. Spare me the torture,” he grinned. “You’re just too smart for me.”
“Akwesi paaa, you can be dramatic papa. What’s the torture in taking a guess?” I raised my head to look him in the face.
“You’d never know until you’re me and I’m you,” he said, making funny faces at me.
“Ok, I’ll spare you the torture.”
“I’m all ears.”
“I got admitted to the university to study Chemistry!” It took a while for the news to sink in. I watched the confusion in his eyes turn to joy.
“You applied?”  
I nodded with a smile.
“I thought your father was against it?”
He did not wait for an answer. “Was that not what he said? That you’re too young to be let out into the world? That there are too many dangerous people out there and you’re not ready to face them?” His phone rang before I could answer. Signalling me to hold on, he answered,
“Hello Elma! Oh no, I’m not busy, we can talk.”
I frowned, feigning disapproval at this interruption. He got up and kept walking back and forth. I could catch bits and pieces of his side of the conversation. It had to do with his thesis. Why would Elma be discussing that with him though? My mind drifted and I smiled at the memory of what once caused me many days and nights of tears and heartache......

To be continued...

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Seedy Presumption - 1

So finally, I've convinced myself to post my short story which I'd entered into the commonwealth short story competition...
Comments welcome :)

Mama was ecstatic. She could hardly contain herself as I told her the news. She snatched the letter from me as I spoke, and squinted to make meaning of the words. The smell of her favourite palmnut soup wafted through the kitchen. After a stream of grammatical blunders, she got the first sentence right. “We are ple- pleased to offer you a place in our a- award win- winning school of sc- sc- sciences to st- study-”
“Chemistry,” I ended for her
She frantically handed the letter back to me, shot out of her seat, raised both hands in the air and with all her might, screamed,
“There is a God ooooo, there is a God!”
She broke into the only dance she knew. Bobo, our dog, ran towards her assuming “our” dinner was ready. I shook my head in laughter at the sight.
She sat back down, loosened the tip of her waist cloth and started to dab at her eyes long before the tears welled and began to roll down her cheeks. I knew they were tears of joy, but I still asked,
“Mama, what is it?”
I knelt beside and wrapped my arms around her. She composed herself and burst into a song.
I have a God who never fails
Who never fails
Who never fails
Forever more”
The words of the song came to me by rote. Unlike mine, Mama’s voice was smooth and velvety. I started to sing along with her, but stopped after my efforts to match her pitch perfect voice resulted in a parched throat, drawing tears from my eyes. I laughed at myself and opted to clap along to the rest of the song.
He stumbled out from the bedroom into the kitchen where Mama and I had been celebrating looking dazed. We had woken him up. He stood watching us for a while, and when none of us offered the explanation he’d been expecting, asked,
“What’s going on here?”
He shifted his gaze from Mama to me. I turned to look at Mama. She batted her eyelids at me, a sign I’ve come to understand to mean things would be better off if he is left out of the know.
“It’s nothing, Papa.”
“It’s nothing eh”, he drawled. “What’s that in your hands?” He walked towards me and reached for the letter.
“Nothing, Papa.”
I hurriedly folded and placed it in the scoop of my arms and backed away from him. He kept approaching till I had my back against the wall. Mama spoke up.
“Anima, give it to him.”
I shook my head to the rhythmic no no no going on inside my head, and ducked beneath his arms when he lunged for it. He didn’t see it coming. I looked back to watch him struggle to maintain his balance. I rushed into my room, threw the letter under my bed and rushed out in time, crouching behind Mama to watch him collect himself. He did not notice me, and headed straight to my room, cursing beneath his breath. His words were jumbled, but I caught what he’d been saying.
“Good for nothing daughter of a whore.”
When he first used that line on me, I cried till my head ached and my eyes swelled and hurt like they’d been rubbed with sandpaper. That was almost 5 years ago. The beginning of what I’ve come to realise is a nightmare Mama and I might never wake up from. I wish I could say it didn’t hurt anymore to hear him reduce us to nothing but a whore and her daughter. That would be a lie. It no longer hurt as much as it used to. But the ache to have the man I love and call Papa affirm me was always there, deep down in my heart. Even when episodes such as this do not happen, I look at him and know I’ve lost him. Mama doesn’t like to talk about it, but I see the pain in her eyes. I hear the fervency with which she prays to a God she never believed in until her husband drove her into his loving arms. At least it seemed to be working for her. I was yet to feel the love of this God. This God who could sit up there and look down as a once loving father and husband metamorphosed into something I was yet to find the right words to describe.
“God’s ways are not our ways,” That was what she told me the first time I tried to reason my thoughts out with her.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Every disadvantage has an advantage...or so they say..

Ok, so sometime last week, I saw an email from the Commonwealth writers in my inbox and my heartbeat rate quadrupled. I knew it had something to do with the short story I'd entered into their 2015 competition. I wasn't really expecting to go far when I entered it, but I was still bummed to see the words "We regret that your story has not been successful on this occasion..."
Anyways, I've been thinking, and I think I'm going to self publish that particular short story. That might just be what will get me to get started on the sequel seeing as I've not written a single sentence since I entered the story in November last year....To whet your appetites, I'm going to post the first few paragraphs (or more appropriately, pages) as my next post to see if anyone will be interested enough to want to read on.
I'm really hoping everyone reading will be excited enough to buy the book when I share the link....No worries, it will be very affordable ;)
Oh, and please note this is a totally random post. I had no plans to put up a post today neither did I have any plans to share part of the story when I started this post. That idea popped up as I typed :D
Let's pray I don't change my mind!

Monday, 23 February 2015

on being nappy haired


A few days ago, I walked into a certain high commission's offices to submit a visa application. The receptionist took my passport, looked at my data page, raised her head up to look me in the face and this (to the best of my recollection) was what ensued:

Receptionist (R): Is that your own hair? (pointing to my picture in the passport)
Me: Yes
R: Are you sure?
Me: Yes.
R: You looked nicer like this (pointing to my picture in the passport) than now.
I must say at this point that now was me in a natural haired pony.
I only smiled and willed her to go on with the reason why I was standing in front of her. She got the hint and got on with her job - which was to review my documents ( why does that have to be the job of the receptionist though?) but it seemed like my present looks were haunting her and she couldn't hold it in any more. So the dialogue restarted.

R: I'm sure other people have told you same.
Me: Told me what?
R: That you looked nicer with your hair like this ( referring to picture in passport)
Me: No, no one has. ( I still managed to have a genuine smile on my face)
R: Why? Have you gone to join some church? (implying that I was wearing my hair in it's natural state as a result of religious compulsion)
Me: No I haven't.

This was when she resolved to get back to her work.
When all was said and done, she handed my documents back to me and repeated something along the lines of
"You looked nicer with your hair permed"
I replied "I wish I had the time to show you all the pictures of  me in my natural hair for you to decide yourself", thanked her and walked away.

The  week before this encounter, I had another natural hair dilemma. I was to be a bridesmaid for a very dear friend. When she told me that she wanted us (the bridesmaids) to wear a certain kind of hair weave, I told her NOTHING was going to make me wear a weave and that I intend to wear my hair natural. She accepted my decision. My interaction with one of the other bridesmaids however confirmed my suspicion - that they were all worried I was going to "spoil" the day with my hair. No,  she didn't say this in plain words but she was making snide remarks like "Madam NATURAL Hair" "So what are we going to do to our NATURAL Hair for the wedding?"

All this just made me ask myself - when are we going to accept ourselves as we were made? I have said it and I'll say it again, that  I have no issues with perming one's hair or wearing weaves. I wore my hair in perms for 5 years and I've worn weaves a few times and will wear if I FEEL LIKE wearing. That means I'm not a natural hair nazi. But when I have permed hair and weave nazis acting all superior, then I feel like tutoring them on self acceptance. I do not need straight hair to look and feel beautiful!!!!
In fact, I'm going to attach a picture of me in my natural hair to this post :p ...make that 2!
Anyone who thinks I'm not beautiful enough wearing my  natural hair can go burn the Atlantic for all I care :p

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Devoted things...

I know anyone who's looking forward to a post from me will be expecting me to finish "Bill's Story" and get it done and over with...sorry to disappoint.
Sometime in December last year, I was having my quiet time and I decided to share my journal post for that day. After typing it up, I changed my mind. I just came across it this morning and I feel like sharing it so here goes :)

This post is me sharing my quiet time. I’m using the 2014 Our Daily Bread. I  was reading today’s Bible reading which was taken from Joshua 7:1-13 and before I got to the end of the reading, I knew I had to share my thoughts on it.
As I read, I asked myself, “what are the devoted things?” since they are what caused the Lord to be very angry with the Israelites. I didn’t really stop to research around what they consisted of, but when I got to  verse 4, a light bulb went off in my head, and I started to relate some things in my life as being equal to taking stuff which should have been devoted to God and turning around just like the Israelites did when things went wrong as a result of this to ask God “why?”.
 How many times have we not as Christians gone before God to ask him “Why?” just like Joshua did? He went before God, and asked him “Why?”.  I mean, God is sovereign. He knows everything and Joshua just didn’t get it! Why will this sovereign God allow his people to be defeated and to run away from their enemies? I cannot even begin to recount the number of times I’ve asked God “Why?” questions. My journal will be a testimony to that fact...but reading this today, I realised that just like the Israelites, I took stuff I should have devoted to God, made them mine and when things weren’t going as planned, I began to question God.
Sin is not only about the big things. Sin also consists of me refusing to completely hand over the reins to God. Choosing what I devote to him and what I do all by myself without his involvement....and choosing to bring him in later.

God’s reply to Joshua is so telling! He said they have devoted themselves to destruction! I don’t know if it was a play on words, but it’s poignant to note that taking God’s devoted things amounts to devoting myself for destruction. When instead of devoting my time to loving my Heavenly Father, I devote it to pleasing myself, I am devoting myself for destruction. I know it sounds so basic, but there is so much truth behind those words. The solution was for the Israelites to take away the devoted things from amongst them. God said they could not face their enemies until they did that. Father, my prayer is for your Holy Spirit to open my eyes to the things in my life that make it impossible for me to face the enemy so that I can take them away.