Okay oo. I have been chatting up Gifty Abena Otiwaa Arhin!! Wow, stupendous name for a marvellous lady, ha! She’s turned out to be the greatest fan of this blog and she keeps telling me the oohhs and aaahhhs. So I was like, Ok, why don’t you just guest-blog for me once? And people, I have been laughing saaa. She’s going to be our resident guest blogger from outside GH. I thought Ghana-lovers were few!! So, from the Ghanaian Diaspora, Abena says:
I have waayy too many memories of Ghana o, but I’ll try and write about the ones that are particularly vivid in my mind. First let’s start with the asoma asoma.
Asoma Asoma.. ooo charley, this was an exercise on its own o. No wonder I had such great metabolism. After school, you get a cup and make some quick gari soakings, and then right after that, the asoma asoma begins. The errand-running! Go buy me some tomatoes from the woman at the pipe, Go ask the neighbors for some “egya” to light the coal pot.
Were you one of those kids who forgot about the things you were supposed to buy the minute you arrive at the store? Well, I was one of those kids, and I remember when I was about six years old, and my Twi wasn’t all that great, and my aunt asked me to buy “kawu” ( that grey-ish thing that is added to okro soup to make it extra slimy, at least I think that’s its purpose). So I went to the woman at the store near our house, and the minute I arrived at the store, I forgot why I was sent to the store in the first place. But I refused to turn around and ask my aunt again, so I proceeded anyway and I said to the woman at the store:
–“ Maame meretɔ adeɛ” ( how I came up with kalikway, I don’t know)
— “Wotɔ deɛn??”
–“Wose wotɔ deɛn?”
–“eii.. na deɛn so ne kalikway”
** by this time the woman is just laughing at me and asking the people around if they know a thing called “kalikway”. So the woman decides to actually ask my aunt what she asked me to buy. She takes a couple of steps forward and yells my aunt’s name, and my aunt opens her bedroom’s back window and answers. (can you say close-knit neighborhood?)
–“Sister Akos, deɛn na wosoma akora yi sɛ ɔnbɛtɔ?”
–“Ooohh kawu. *laughs again** ɔbaayɛ ɔse ɔtɔ kalikway”
And that was how I got my very first nickname.. kalikway. From then on, my aunt made me pronounce every item before leaving the house to buy them.
Oohh sweet, amazing, tasty Ghanaian food. I haven’t had some Ghanaian dishes before like tuo zaafi, but the ones that I’ve had are pretty delicious like fufuo. Ok, now I know there are some rare Ghanaian species out there who don’t like fufuo, and I always say to them, what soup did u eat the fufuo with for you to not like it? Because the awesomeness of fufuo depends mostly on the tastiness of the soup. If the soup is bland, then the whole meal will be bland, but if the soup is chicken soup (GH style not these Campell chicken soup in a can) or nkatekwan or nkate konto with angwa (tr:snails) then I don’t see how anybody cannot like fufuo. (yes it’s fufuo.. fufu is the brofolized version). Then you have ampesie and nkontomire stew, yɔɔ kɛ gari ( noo oo all you asante and akyem people it’s yɔɔ kɛ gari not yɔɔ kɔ gari, hehe don’t worry I always thought it was the latter too), jollof rice, waakye, hausa koko, koose, tea-bread, tom brown ( why is it called tom brown?), nyaadowa stew, mpihu aka mpotompoto, omotuo, palm-nut soup, yɔɔyi, etc, the list goes on. By the way, am I the only one who thinks that okro stew/soup tastes much better when it’s a day old? On the first day I always prefer to eat banku with pepper instead of okro stew.
Aww games. I think girls had more variety in games than boys. We had ampe, those hand games like Robert Mansa goalkeeper number one, we also had those bam bam bambaleeya games, skipping rope, oh and of course “nkuro” where we practiced our cooking skills with empty cans of tinned tomatoes, sand, and anything. The songs we sang along with these games were the best! For example “bam bam bambaleeya” what exactly does that mean? Aha nobody really knows. Check out this post by Esi Cleland on Ghanaian childhood songs. The post and the comments say it all.
I grew up with my aunt, grandmom, and a million cousins in one huge house. ( well not really a million but close to). It gets even worse during the school vacations when other cousins come over to spend the vacations. Sometimes I went over to spend my vacation with my other aunts and uncles and cousins in Accra. Good times there as well…. Going to Nandos, Frankies, etc, and then at the end of the vacation you return with provisions like Kalypo (eii does Kalypo still exist?? ) . Aahha and whenever school re-opened you flex small with your provisions. I remember one time I returned to school with these flower-shaped wrist watch and a fruit-scented eraser, and a soft bendable ruler. Ahaha the way I made new friends eh… nyɛ small.
Oooohh Ghana..good times…good times.. The place where I learned how to ride a bike and fell into a bush while learning it. (yep I have the scar on my right leg to prove it). The place where I had amazing time-managing skills (one of the rare benefits of ECG’s on and off wahala, u learn to finish all of your homework while the sun is shining, and iron all of your school uniforms when the power comes back on). The place that would forever be my home. I miss you like harmattan pawpaw (why do Ghanaians say that eh? I need to try harmattan pawpaw and see how it tastes like)