It’s two minutes to February 2011. I am in Takoradi.
And so what??
Oh!! I came here for national service and please, Takoradi is the place to be. But heck, who wants to know anyway? A certain girl called Afua Mary. You wait and see!!
I went to church the day after I arrived here, thanks to my wonderful host family, the Akwetteys and I loved it. It wasn’t the sermon ooh. You know, inside Ghanaian churches, right in the middle of the service, some handsome guy behind the pulpit could just tell the whole congregation to get up and welcome ourselves, shaking whichever kind hands are thrust at you. Here go people shaking hands like nobody’s business, amidst singing songs like “We are together agaaaaaaiiiinn” and something something something. Young men who came to church for extra-curricular activities leap at the chance to walk straight up to that fair lady in the corner and give her a long-plotted hug, signed in the name of the church. After all, we are putting up our innocent polished faces and welcoming each other, no bi so??
Ahaa!! This is what I was saying. I drove straight into Takoradi late on Wednesday feeling tired and stressed. Accra spat me out like a 21st Century Jonah, me naa my life was never the same again. So when I got here, I was looking for adventure and something to cheer me up. Straight to church after work on Thursday!!
So in the middle of all the “Shake my hand”, “pat me on the back”, “give me a hug”, “welcome me to church”, I was looking for somebody to steal my affection and tell me I am in the right place. The right city and the right church. You know how finding a new church you can trust can be a task!!
I shook a couple of hands, fake-smiled at a couple of people and said a few hellos here and there. I was returning to my seat in the second row in front when someone tugged at my hand. I turned eye-level and saw nobody. And who is this adorable little girl I see when I look down?? She came all the way from the back to shake my hand and wasn’t she shy?? Immediately my eyes met hers, she squeaked her face with the back of one hand and turned embarrassingly away, smiling to herself. She was even too young to be running here on her own and I was glad that if there was any genuine hand I shook, it was hers. And she’s hardly five years old. Ohhh, she made my day!! So I’ll be at Covenant Family Charismatic Church for the next six months, ok? Just in case the witches are looking for me. I will drop my address later.
Ahaa, so this is the city of Fantes. When I was growing up, I had this strong affection for Fantes and their way of doing things, not least how they speak. So being here is a dream come true, really. (herh, this one don’t tell anyone oo!! I even told a few people that I thought I was going to marry a Fante one day…hey it’s okay!! Your ears itch you too much, ahba!) Every Fante sentence is closed by an English word or two, you see. And I jumped straight into the pot to find out that even their names are like that.
So this is me passing by a large house where a woman keeps yelling on top of her voice, “Afua Merlly, Afua Merlly, Afua Merlly yeeh”. Yes, you got that right. It was Mary she wanted to say. And some bubbly little girl came skipping out of the house, amused at the sweet smell of her name all over the neighbourhood. For me, this is the perfect: WELCOME TO TAKORADI!!
So I’ll be blogging from Ghana, yes. But I am now in the oil city and I’ll be giving you Fante kenkey, sea fish fried, octopus and news from the Western Region. Hopefully, by the time I have to leave this place, if I ever do, I will get a few more converts to love this T’di. Ahaa, that’s the shorthand which we like to spoil ourselves pronouncing as Taadi. And people, I should get a camera soon, don’t you see? So that I can serve you original Ghana pictures too. I didn’t hear an Amen to that!!
I love Ghana, Lawd!!