The Hostel Manager, The Programmer and Me ;)

Tadaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!

So as you may have noticed, I recently acquired a brand new name! Rosa Antoinette ( Kuukua Annang Asante ( here’s the part where I do my happy dance and display all my 32 and couple more teeth lol.) Yes, I got married to a very beautiful person Francis Asante. Anyone who has met this man will understand how easy it was for me to  “fall” for him, and how privileged I am to share life with him . I am still working on finding the words to describe how I feel, God really outdid himself on this one. Maybe I will share that in another post.Right now I just want to share a bit of my joy, and some pictures  with you.

How we met…

Put simply, we were sold the same room at a hostel by a crook of a hostel manager called Pa George ( Shout outs to all the GIJ alumnae who can relate- Anthony Jackson, Jemila, Ini and the rest!). This was in 2010 I think, when I was studying for a Diploma in Communication Studies at the Ghana Institute of Journalism, and he was studying Computer Science at Ashesi University which was then located at Labone.

When it was time for us to move in, my roommate Araba and I were shown a room which was already being occupied by Francis and his roommate Henry! Of course I was angry, but my mother was angrier, you should have seen how she lashed out at the old man. Pa George eventually gave Araba and I a new room ( a better deal actually, thanks to Mama) but I had to meet the guys who “stole” our room and I did meet one of them – The One. We became friends, very good friends,(ok we dated, but you know our parents don’t like hearing tins like that ah)  and well, here we are now!

Lesson: In all things give thanks – even for the Pa Georges of your life! lol

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These young vendors made magic happen for me. I’d totally recommend them to you, check them out 0n instagram!

Photography: The MemoryLane Crew

Kente Dress: Zoya_ 233

Hair: RevUp Salon Gh

MakeUp: Lamisi MakeUp Artistry

Little Matters

“He’s only a friend!” screamed Enam, “How many times will I have to explain this to you Judah? I can’t suddenly stop seeing my friends just because I am getting married to you!”

” Look, I know he is your friend. But how many of your friends call and text you at least ten times in a day?” Judah enquired, calmly. She wasn’t even looking at him. Her anger had driven her small eyes into a near squint as she stared at the cream ceramic floor tiles, and tiny beads of sweat had begun to form on her light skinned pimpled forehead. She wasn’t listening. It annoyed him when she didn’t pay attention to him and she knew it.

“I call you up at lunch and you are on the phone. An hour after lunch, you’re still on the phone! Judah continued, his calmness quickly dissipating, revealing his pent up frustration.  “Two hours after lunch, you’re still on the phone! Tell me what you want me to think!” He bellowed.

Enam’s anger sent violent spasms through her little body, the tiny beads of sweat that formed on her forehead were now drawing little stream paths down her face. Her lips were tightly pressed together as though she was trying to prevent her words from pouring out.  But Judah would not stop talking and that sent her brain reeling and her senses out the door.

” You really want me to tell you what to think? Ehnn?  Think about this Twum, think about the facts that you practically blackmailed me into accepting your proposal, that you were not man enough to ask me in private because you were scared of rejection, and so you chose your family as the audience! And how could I say no at such a performance? Think Twum, think about the fact that your ego and jealousy will end this marriage even before it begins!”

Enam knew her words would hurt Judah deeply, but she couldn’t stop herself from getting her pain off her chest. It was selfish, she knew that, but she could not help it. And now a giant wave of painful relief washed over her forcing tears to her eyes. She stopped pacing around Judah’s plush Villagio living room and muttered her apology. “I am sorry Twum” she said.

Judah was not listening, or was he? He wasn’t sure he had heard Enam. Did she just say he blackmailed her? He saw her tears. He could never think straight when she cried. Her tears just broke something in him so that he could not think right .  He walked to her and held her hands. Enam tried to get away from him but he held her more tightly and pulled her to his chest.  And they just stood in a silent embrace, Enam quietly sobbing and Judah trying to make sense of what had just happened.

Enam was the first to hear her phone ring, she could tell who it was even without getting to the phone because she had assigned special ringtones to some of her contacts. Actually, only two of her contacts, Judah and Percy- the cause of this argument.

“Well, aren’t you going to pick up?” Judah said, pulling away from their embrace. “It’s him again, isn’t it?

“How does that concern you?,”  retorted Enam, “You always have to ruin everything!”

Judah’s eyes widened at her accusation, but he said nothing. He simply folded his arms across his chest and leaned on the door frame to the dining area and watched her.

Enam fidgeted a little, as she rummaged through charger cables, the case for her glasses, her glasses, key holders and ID cards while looking for the phone, which was still ringing, in her bag. Just when she reached it, it stopped ringing. Enam almost breathed a sigh of relief. She could feel Judah’s stare burning through the back of her head. He was watching her every move. She was glad she didn’t have to answer the call, or give him the satisfaction that his suspicion had any credibility.

But the phone rang again.

“Enam won’t you answer your call?”

“ Leave me alone Judah.”

“I know it’s him again, you’ve been here for two hours and that’s the fifth time your phone is ringing.”

Enam threw him an angry glance.

“Yes, I’ve been counting Enam, if that means I am jealous and over protective, then so be it!” Judah walked to the couch where Enam sat. He had left his jacket there earlier. He picked it up and turned to head towards his bedroom.

“Hello?” Enam answered the call. “Hello”

“Oh so now it’s poor network?” Judah scorned. “At least be original dear!”

“Judah, do you mind? I am trying to have a conversation here.”

Judah just sighed exasperatedly and headed for the bedroom. He could still hear what she was saying on the phone. Single worded responses to whatever he was saying at the other end of the line.

“Yes… I understand… Ok… Bye”

Judah picked his car keys from the bedside table and came back to the living room.
“ Are you ready to leave now?”

It wasn’t a question. Enam knew that, he was asking her to leave. She deserved it.

“Yes” she mumbled and headed out to the car ahead of him.

They drove in absolute silence to Enam’s Hostel, The Green Leaf.  Even the radio was off, the only sound in the car were the soft hum of Judah’s Audi A4 engine and their inhale and exhale of breath. Judah would periodically let out a loud sigh. Enam knew what his sighs meant. He was hurting.  She fought the tears that were stinging her eyes willing them not to fall as she stared out at the streets of Osu.

***

‘S’ is for Struggle

Mansa stared at the pregnancy test stick in her hand. Any woman would be happy, but tears quickly formed in the corners of her eyes as she looked down at the forming + sign on the stick. It was positive.  She loved kids, but after 4 miscarriages and two still births in her six years of marriage to Bentum, the concept of child birth sent shivers down her spine.  Perhaps she wasn’t destined to be a mother.

That is why she had taken Sister Yayra’s advise about taking contraceptives –  against her catholic religious beliefs, and without Bentum’s knowledge. She is quite a character, that Yayra. On a Sunday she could easily pass for a nun at the St. Xavier Catholic Church. You should she see how sanctimoniously she kneels to take her holy communion, and how she judges and condemns to hell ladies  who dare show up with their dress lengths above their knees.

Sometimes Mansa found it hard to believe that this same Sister Yayra is the one who told her so much about witches and evil spirits who were preventing her from giving birth and recommended numerous suspicious  looking -talisman- wearing “men of God” who had solutions to every problem under the sun.

 Mansa usually  takes everything Sister Yayra  said with a pinch of salt and mostly ignores her unsolicited advice but she  heeded to taking contraceptives mainly because she was tired of the cycle of anti-climaxes of near parenthood that had marred her marriage.And just when she was settling into her new belief that she was sterile, this happens.

The door bell rang, snapping Mansa out of her pensive mood. Bentum was home. Mansa hid the stick she was still holding in the drug cabinet in the bathroom and headed  downstairs to meet her husband.


The pungent smell of the hot Binatone iron scorching the still damp St. Andrew’s school uniform hit the nose of an unperturbed Brewa. She had burnt her school uniform again- on purpose. By now everyone in her family knew that she would do anything to get out of going to school especially on Monday. She had told so many stories about Mr. Sintim’s Science Class that everyone in the family felt like they knew him.

The problem for Brewa is that while everyone thought she was making stuff up just to get out of going to school she really wasn’t. She was genuinely scared of him. His general theoretical approach to teaching Science, which in Brewa’s opinion should be practical, coupled with her weakness in the subject made every Monday a day of terror because he would conduct his favorite mental sessions.

Mr. Sintim had earned the nickname Alookume at St. Andrew’s School because he is cross- eyed so students often found if hard telling if he was pointing at them in class. Brewa learnt in JHS 1 that the condition was medically referred to as Strabismus   Of the Four Classes of JHS 2, he hated 2 Ivory, Brewa’s class, the most because they were the very notorious. Last week He mercilessly beat up Kwabena Dua because he had called him to answer a question.

The poor boy, who couldn’t tell if Mr. Sintim was looking at him, kept looking to Nii Abgo who sat to his right.  This angered  Mr. Sintim who thought at this point that Kwabena Dua was making fun  of him  or was trying to get out of answering the question. He called the boy forward and gave him 10 strokes of his cane. Kwabena had to stand for the rest of the day because his buttocks were sore.

Mr. Sintim had announced  after he lashed Kwabena that there would be a class test today, and although Brewa had learnt as much as she could over the week, every thought of test got her breaking into uneasy sweat. She looked at the watch in corridor. 6:15. The school bus will arrive in 15 minutes. Brewa felt her heart sink into her stomach and her intestines independently tying themselves into Bantu knots.


Barima listened quietly as the two girls in the back of his taxi conversed loudly. One of them, who he had learned was called Amina, had just landed a job with an oil marketing firm in Takoradi. She was excited about it but also worried that Hassan, her betrothed who was a court clerk, would be jealous of her new high earning job.

Barima cringed, and almost hit the brakes when Amina’s friend Dufie advised her to break it off with Hassan if she found him to be too authoritative. He had to press his lips shut to prevent himself from offering unsolicited advice. He wanted to tell Amina to discuss her concerns with Hassan. Not all men were so driven with ego to reject the financial support of their spouse. At least he was one such man.

He met his wife Justine while he worked as an Administration officer at Kendrick Hotel. She was the front desk assistant then. One thing led to another and their love clichéd into marriage. He used almost all his savings to give her the wedding of her dreams, the rest he invested into his taxi business telling anyone who’d listen that he was tired of working for others.

It’s been two years, and he’s done quite well for himself. He owns two taxis already, and is working on paying off the third one. Justine now works as the P.A of the District Chief Executive of Mbenta, where they live. They’ve had an enjoyable relationship so far but Barima can’t help the occasional thoughts of her cheating on him, especially as she has been working late nights more than usual.

 

Broken Ivory- Sending lots of Love to you in Heaven

One year.

Whew!

Time really does fly doesn’t it?

6:52 am last year you were admitted into heaven. I know the concept of time is probably not the same in heaven, but I imagine God keeps track of the admission dates of his angels and throws some kind of party for them, right?

I still miss you a lot, but this is not a another page of lamentation. It is one of thanksgiving. I have moved past the immense sadness I felt around this time last year, I have moved past the guilt that came with being happy without you, I have accepted the reality that we are going to be separated for a long, long time. I am still kind of stuck on occasionally hearing your voice, or imagining your reaction to certain decisions I make. It’s like my conscience has a mother now, but I guess that’s OK.

Thank you Ma, for all the lessons you taught Baaba and I. Thank you for all the years of laughter and selflessness and  love. We are truly grateful, and we hope to make you proud.

This post is also to thank the many angels on earth who have made the past year easier to bear with. We have had so many new mothers, prayer partners, friends and siblings. Yes we lost you, but we found bits of you in each of these people God sent our way and that helped us smile, hope, and have the courage to move on.

This is not a post on my lamentations, or could-have-been’s. This is a post on thankfulness. Thank God for lending you to us for 57 years, and for calling you to be with Him at His own time.

Happy anniversary Ma, We love you!

Broken Ivory: 10.9. Happy 58th!

How are birthdays celebrated in heaven? I guess everyday is a party up there huh?

I miss you, and our special birthday prayer sessions.

Do you remember when we threw you a surprise party one day early because we confused your birthday with 9/11? All that work for nothing! lol

Do you remember when you told me you’d give me a full grilled chicken to take to school for *Our Day if I scored all ones in my class four end of term exams? How could you even think of lying to a child like that? Giving me one boiled egg with some crazy explanation that it would have grown to be a full chicken anyway! I remember how upset I was that day. lol

Do you remember the day you cried because you couldn’t afford to pay for us to join that Akosombo trip in class three?  You shouldn’t have, Akosombo is not all that mpo! I wish I knew that in class three.

Do you remember when I called you from secondary school to come pick me up because my picture making teacher said I was such a failure and that you should have bought me a sewing machine with my fees?  You told me what my teacher said didn’t count,and that I made of it did. You were right.

Do you remember when you told that trotro mate to use a deo spray? I thought he’d beat us up that day. You didn’t even care that he was offended, I just wanted to get out of the vehicle.

Do you remember when you’d come home from work and say “I know what you did while  I was away so tell me before I get the cane” I wish I had known that it was just a trick to get us to confess. I thought you really had one eye at home!

Do you remember when Baaba shaved her eyebrows off when she was in kindergarten?

Do you remember your argument with that neighbor whose goats were chewing your flowers? Remember when he said his goats were so specially trained they don’t chew plants? it threw you off so much you forgot you were arguing and burst out in laughter

I am sure by now you know that your data finished almost as soon as you bundled because I sneakily connected to your hotspot. lol I hope you have forgiven MTN for my sins.

I am sure you also know that those dresses of mine that reminded you of fabrics you had were actually made from those fabrics? Sorry, it’s not my fault that you had so many to choose from hehe

Happy Birthday Ma!

I miss you!

 

 

Broken Ivory: Moments of weakness in my journey of strength

Just when I  start to think that the tears have finally dried up, and the strange deep hollow inside of me is becoming more bearable to live with, something happens that scratches the surface of my scabbed heart.

It has been anything from cinnamon tea, a key holder, to your favorite Maria song by Amandzeba. Sometimes it’s the sudden realization that I am happy again, and the guilt that I am happy without you.

Many times it’s when I do something right. Something I know you would be proud of, or happy about.Other times it’s when I do something wrong, like fall asleep on the couch or forget to put the lights off, or allow food to go bad.

You are no longer here, yet you are everywhere. I cannot allow myself to wallow in the sadness that this separation has left me with.  I know I am stronger than the tears,  fear and anxiety that comes with dealing with this new reality. I am stronger because He gives me strength even in these moments of weakness. I am strong. I am strong.

Broken Ivory: When Silence is Golden

…Yeah I had the same reaction. Really?!! You’re telling me that a disaster that claimed the lives of over a hundred people. was a blessing to you because they are going to keep your dead daughter company? Really?!

Since the 14th of February 2016, I have had to learn a lot very quickly. One thing I know I have learnt is patience, and I thank God for that.

Death has a way of of knocking the sense out of people I guess. It is as though people don’t know how to react when they hear such news. Some are just silent (which is fine), some ignore you because they don’t know what to say(which can be fine too), and some offer advise all the time, mostly unsolicited.The advice is usually not bad, until it is, but that’s conversation for later.

There’s a special group of people who have inspired this post. These are those who somehow have little or no emotional intelligence, with manners, and no sense of judgement. I’m sorry I have to be so blatant but sometimes people just over do it charle. The push you to limits you didn’t know existed.

So far some these are some of  my favorite worst interactions.

Person one:  This person sent a text message in the middle of the night.
You do not behave like someone whose mother has died kraa.

Umm how am I supposed to behave? No one forwarded me the memo on socially acceptable mourning behavior. I missed out on that. So pardon me if I don’t “act” that way. It does not mean that I  hurt any less.

Person two:  this person just babbled on really. I’m still not sure if she was trying to console me or herself.  “Hmm death is a very sad thing o… When my daughter died I was so worried that she’ll be there (wherever ghosts go) alone. I used to see her in my room all the time until the June 3rd disaster when some kids in our neighborhood also died. After that I saw her in a dream once and this time she was with someone who she called her friend. In some way I’m thankful for the flood at least (name) now has some people to keep her company over there.”

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Yeah I had the same reaction. Really?!!! You’re telling me that a disaster that claimed the lives of over a hundred people. was a blessing to you because they are going to keep your dead daughter company??? Who do you think God is?
Some of these are just laughable charle.  Some people have spaghetti for brain tissue. Only God knows what’s in the heads of some people.

Person three: This person just assumed that my “situation” gave him permission to judge my life, and the right to tell me in front of a crowd! (Ok not a crowd, but about 10 people) Anyway so he said “You, since your mother died you are all over the place! She would have checked on you”

Ok so first of all you mean “check you” as in “discipline you” what in God’s name do you mean by “check on you”
Second, and most importantly, who appointed you my guardian? What makes you think your opinion about how I live my life matters to me?

Person four: I’m just going to leave this to your judgement.
Hey I heard your mother died. Accept my condolences.
Me: Thank you
X: so what happened? Is it that you didn’t pray hard enough?

Like I said, I am not going to comment on this one.

And oh my sister’s favorite, she said someone said to her “Hey I heard your mum or something died”

Something? Yeah my dog, no I actually love dogs, my cat- no those are too cute too fowl, mango tree, phone or laptop battery died.
Those are things, they don’t make your world stop or rip your heart into shreds or or all of that and more! I’m going to try not to be dramatic but seriously people, seriously!

To such people I never say what’s actually on my mind because I’m too polite😇 (my mum thought me that, hah!) Anyway my point is until you’ve experienced it, you really don’t know how the person feels, you cant imagine it. Stop telling people to stop crying, it might actually be the what they need to do the most (as was my case). And when you don’t know what to say just pray for them. Pray, silently. Whatever you do, don’t let the devil use your tongue. I think I have to stop writing here. Ok I think I’ve made my point.