GHANIAN CHRISTMAS THOUGHTS

      

                A GHANIAN CHRISTMAS SADNESS!

       While many of us are anxiously waiting or opening our Christmas gifts, in Ghana, a family anxiously awaits the tense news of a loved ones’ condition. My good friend, Kwame, sent money to his family for two chickens. One to be eaten on their Happy Christmas Day & the other on the next day, Boxing Day.  The chickens were costing $28.00 each in American money.  Meanwhile, his youngest daughter, Abena (Tuesday’s child), is taken to hospital with upper & lower GI complaints.  Luckily the Happy Christmas money has bought medical care, instead of annual chickens for these days.  The child would have died, without the medical attention, as she is already too weak.  In a poor part of the world children die all the time, due to unclean drinking water.  In these streams, clothes are washed, as well as their bodies, etc.  Kwame explained that they take their drinking water from the top of stream.  It is not boiled, as he explained, “As what good is it, as children are in school 8 hrs. a day.”  That water is not treated or boiled. It is hard to survive in Ghana. Staying alive in Africa is a “Miracle”, as Kwame says.! Being poor in Ghana, is a death sentence!  No money, no medical care!  Kwame’s three sisters died recently.  Money could not reach the one soon enough.  She died awaiting medical attention!  So sad! The other two sisters’ death may have been preventable, as well. We here in this country, do not always appreciate the simple necessities, that sustain life in each & everyone of us!  As Kwame is the tree of his tribe, everyone looks to him for help.  It is overwhelming, as he tries to save his family, singlehandedly!

So now, we wait.  We know that the Christ Child, will sustain & direct us, what ever the outcome.  We pray that this 6 year olds’ precious life will be spared.  So as we celebrate this joyous season, let us not forget the less fortunate among us!  Please offer prayers for little Abena & the many angels like her!

            MERRY CHRISTMAS!   AFE HYIAPAOO!

 A GHANIAN CHRISTMAS

Christmas in Ghana & other parts of Africa, are celebrated pretty much the same, as an American Christmas.  Names of things are changed as well as available products for the season. From the first week in Advent, churches & homes are decorated for Christmas! The day after Christmas is Boxing Day, as celebrated in other countries of English influence.  Their Santa Claus is called Father Christmas, who brings gifts to place under a fir tree in the corner of the home. He places other gifts in the childrens’ stockings. Decorations include pine branches, festive seasonal flowers on the tree with some bought decorations.  It is warm & sometimes rainy at this time of year. A prosperous cocoa harvest ensures extra money to spare.  All the farmers & miners come home to celebrate with family on Christmas Eve. School children are on holiday. On Christmas Eve, they walk down the streets singing carols & shouting “Christ is Coming!” In church, a pageant is prepared, for the evening. The church is decorated with pine & palm trees with lighted candles on the branches. Everyone dresses in native or Western dress. The Ghanians go to church bringing gifts or “love offerings to place on the altar, by communion table. Hymns are sung.  Then they visit families & friends after the service. On Christmas Day, everyone dresses as angels & sing Christmas Carols. They will also attend church again. The Ghanians are faithful worshippers & attend church every day! After the service, everyone returns home. A feast is served consisting of rice, meats, porridge, okra soup or stew & a yam paste called fufu. Fufu is eaten by placing hand in dough & dipping the fufu in the stew.   It is served outside the house. They also will visit friends, as we do.

Boxing Day, the celebration continues. A feast continues on this day. On New Years Eve, fireworks begin & end on New Year’s Day!

 

ADDING A PERSONAL NOTE!

Last year, I purchased clothing & other items for the family.  I asked Kwame’s wife for measurements. Little Kofi aged 7 years at that time, had a waist size of a 4 year old. No wonder they need a “Miracle”!  If starvation doesn’t kill them, the unclean water will. Now the hardship is that DADA has been gone for 6 years.  The children tell Kwame that they don’t remember him anymore. Such a sacrifice to leave loved ones & come to a new world to work, so they will have food. Now bringing them to America is blocked by the Embassy, as they were too poor to get legal documentation of their marriage. The church recognizes the marriage. We have come so far that a church’s word is not good enough!  Heaven help us!

  

           GHANIAN NAMING SYSTEM

Day of week child is born:

            FEMALE        MALE

SUNDAY-   Akosua         Kwasi

M0NDAY-   Adwoa          Kwadwa        

TUESDAY-  Abena          Kwabena  

WEDNESDAY- Akua       Kwaku

THURSDAY- Yaa           Yaw

FRIDAY- Afuah            Kofi

SATURDAY-Ama          Kwame

POETRY

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A GHANAIAN BOY’S VISION STALLED

 This Ghanian boy’s invitation to America,

Took a life’s span of 18 years,

Waiting, Hoping, Longing for the invitation-

Oh, so near, He’s yearning for the chance,

To make a better life-“Only in America-

You can work if you want to!” “AMERICA!”

A steady job, money to feed & clothe his family,

Yet, he must leave all of that behind-

His homeland of Ghana with familiar sights, sg0942[1]

Flora of African Mahogany, Giant Cotton, & Sapele trees,

Disappearing with slash & burn practices,

A family, a baby so small to remember-

Her Da-Da at all.

His sisters, brothers, all rely on him!

Now, migration to America at last,

But still FIVE years later, emptiness & loneliness,

His constant companion-

Where Home has become New Jersey, USA,

Established, working, assimilating into the culture,

But still, Dreams of his homeland, his family,

Haunt his every waking hour,

Like ghosts trampling on his chest.

His mind wanders to the days gone-by.

To verdant lush fields, savannahs, & streams,

Too poor sometimes to eat, but yet

He longs to be home again,

To see all the familiar places.

Feels loss of family, surroundings,

Worry, “Did my baby eat today?”

Separation devours & consumes him,

Til’ eating & sleeping become less,

I’m in a better place, but are THEY?

“LORD ABOVE, I pray-

Bring my loved ones to me!

Ease the restrictions to let them pass! ”

Too many years have passed by,

I age, as I wait for yet another invitation-

For my family, Please let it happen!

Or I’ll wither & die,

My family once again hungry,

No money for medical attention,

My deprivation & loss will have been in vain.

I have only bought time, time, time!

For nature’s inevitable outcome!

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RAMBLINGS

 
  

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 KWAME

 For many years, there was a young man from Ghana, that dreamed of coming to America.  His name was KWAME.  He lived in the seacoast city of Accra.  He wanted a better life for his family, which included extended family members.  As we spoke, he talked about the poverty in his country.  He was the one that everyone depended on, to make a good living in America.  “If I don’t work, they don’t eat.”  “In America, he says, You want work, you find work!” Kwame sends a good portion of his income to his family.  He had left a wife with three children, four years ago. “The little one was on her mother’s breast, when I left”, he explained.  It occurred to me that it was a beautiful way to describe the age of the child.  He tells me that it took 20 years to get a Visa. Now, his wife is waiting for an invitation, to seek a Visa for the family, to come here.  They have not seen each other, since he left his home.  The little one tells him on the phone, “Da-Da come home.  We miss you!” 

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 I have never seen such a hard working man, who is now about 46 years old.  He is rarely idle, has a beautiful smile, always appears happy.  I have to wonder about our culture of plenty, compared to this man, without the presence of his family, deprivation, very poor, thankful for litterly crumbs, to be alive, to be in America.  Kwame loves to use the expression “AMERICA”! for every mechanical device, portions of food, our “PLENTY!”
  It is blustery winter now & is very cold.  Kwame peddles his bicycle to my house in all kinds of weather.  He was wearing a thin windbreaker/vest, oversized pants & sneakers.  I gave him my husband’s heavy overcoat & other items for he & his family.  He was so thrilled to get everything.  Somethings, I was going to throw out.  He has a humongous barrel, filled with clothes, food, that he will send to his family in Ghana.  It will cost $50.00 to send across the ocean.  998460-p441

The QUESTION?   How did I come to meet this beautiful Christian man from Africa?  He knows his bible, as he quotes from it, in reference to his life.  “Anything is possible” with God!  He believes it, too.  This child of God, is a Presbyterian, but I want to change that, so we can go to church & choir practice together.  First, he has to get a driver’s license.  We are working on that!

Not to digress anymore, I contacted an agency to send a male home aide, to help me with my terminally ill husband, who is now in Hospice Care. God does answer prayer!  He sent me this wonderful angel, who not only takes good care of my husband, but also looks after me.  He is with me for a few hours in the morning & at night.  He cares for someone else, also, that provided housing for him.  After a snowstorm hit us at the beach, he called in afternoon & said, “Mama, You alright?  Do you need anything?”  I assured him that I was fine. He now worries about Mama.

Kwame hopes to get naturalized soon. He wants to be a citizen!  I think that this country’s people will be proud to add Kwame’s name to the citizenship list, who still believes the American dream (only in America), & will be an asset to citizenry.

I am trying to find a way to bring this family together soon.!  THIS ONE IS A KEEPER!