Akwaaba from Ejisu!

Ejisu Street SignWelcome to the Blog of my travels to the Motherland. I arrived in Accra, Ghana several weeks ago, and it has taken me this long (over 5 weeks) to get this Blog rolling. This is mostly due to technological challenges, the first being a laptop that was on the verge of crashing even as I left Seattle, and the second being the location of my living space, which allows only a 2G (remember those?) internet connection. Faced with these obstacles, it has taken patience, ingenuity and some small amount of luck to get to where I am today – launching Episode 1 of the Mother in the Motherland Blog. Welcome. Akwaaba!

I am currently residing just outside the town of Ejisu, which is about 11km from the city of Kumasi, which in turn is about 270km (168mi) from the Ghana capital city of Accra. To understand the significance of where I am, you must first know that Ghana is a country, as the United States is a country. It is located in the continent of Africa, as North America is a continent. The country of Ghana is a West African country, located on the bottom side of the left hump of land that you see as you gaze at a map of the African continent. Ghana is only a few hundred miles from the Equator, which accounts for the average temperature being 70-90 degrees. There is a dry season and there is a wet season; we are currently in the dry season, and it is very hot most days, relieved by occasional violent but brief thunderstorms, during which we usually lose power.

The country of Ghana is composed of 10 Regions, as the United States is composed of 50 states. The Region in which I reside is the Ashanti Region, and the main language spoken is Twi, which I have found is not pronounced “twee”, but rather a whistling of the breath through the upper teeth which I have yet to master. So I will call the language by its alternate name of Ashanti, language of the Akan people. The capital of the Ashanti Region is Kumasi, which houses the palace of the King, and which was the primary focus of battles with the British over this very important Region in Ghana. The history of the Ashanti people is one of fighting and valor and glory; if you were to investigate, you would find the story of a proud and colorful people, along with the fascinating story the Golden Stool and the first Queen Mother, Yaa Asantewaa. And you would also find that Ejisu, my town, is the home of Yaa Asantewaa, and as such holds an important place in Ashanti history.

I encourage you to study at least the history of Ejisu, and to understand the place and customs of this town so you can begin to understand the rich history that is all around me. The town itself is made up of many sections: the old city, the more modern areas, the rural sections, and the places of new housing development. There is a surprise around every corner and friendly smiles on every face. And I am, and will always be “Abroni”, the foreigner – both welcome by the vendors as I struggle to purchase food, and enjoyed by the children who follow me down the street chanting my “name.” I readily admit that I very much enjoy living here among these interesting and industrious people.

Yaa Asantawaa

Yaa Asantawaa, First Queen Mother