Monday, 19 March 2018


To The Market

I paced up and down the stairs, wondering if there was something I had to take
with me. I touched my head thinking, "What else do I need.?' I knew there was
something I had to hold. I imagined being at the market and this helped me
remember my shopping bag. I had to hake my reusable shopping bag. As I always
complained about the plastic bags strewn all around the town, I did not want to be
part of the menace.

I had not been to Makola with nothing in my hands. I got a piece of paper to write
a list, thinking that would help me remember. I wrote down, "cloth or Kwame's
teacher, comb for me, slippers for Ama and Akua.  I shouted for Ama, Auntie Sue
will be here soon."

Waiting impatiently for Sue, outside the warm drops of rain seemed to have stopped,
for a while. I thought how lucky we were as it had rained heavily all night. The
tropical rain falls in sheets and leaves puddles of water on the muddy, mushy floor.

Sue turned up late, apologizing, Ama and I were ready with our  sneakers on to face
the squishy floor of Makola market. As the rain had stopped, there was no need for
any shade in the form of a colorful-topped umbrellas that usually got in the way of
the crowded, congested, overflowing market in Accra.

The ride to the market was always tiresome, lots of cars and pedestrians. Many
hawkers had spilt out onto the pavements and sometimes took parts of the road,
causing so much traffic. When they were evacuated they found their way back
there. So much indiscipline, I thought, but they felt it was their right to make a
living anywhere they had leg room.

You could tell we were almost there by the many sounds and smells. Sounds of
different sellers calling out their wares in many different languages and pitches.
The smells and whiffs of different spicy dishes mixed with the smell of heat!
Yes we were almost there, the collection of exotic fruits welcomed us, the bells
of cyclists crossing the cars received us. We had surely reached our destination.

Sunday, 18 March 2018



Nature takes us places
It brings us memories
It can be soothing and calm
It does not judge
But can be wild and unkempt
After all that is what it is

Struggling to find a topic for my slice today. I
remembered a plant my sister gave to me a while ago.

This (gift) cactus is significant because of its shape, size
and tenacity. The shape represents a deep friendship
and bond we share.

Saturday, 17 March 2018


The wild winds throwing the trees side to side, dust rising
from the ground like smoke. The loud sound of banging doors
and leaves crushing against each other. The cool scent of dirt,
fresh dirt, quietly enters our rooms.

Suddenly darkness is all around us, as if it was dusk, the
clouds’ deep shades of grey, threatening us. A feeling of cosiness
and yet worry as the extent of the rain, no one could ever tell. No warnings but the arrival of the rainy season.

We call out to each other, run indoors and make sure all the
doors are closed. A few minutes later, the rain starts pouring in
sheets, the loud beating of the wide drops on the roof mellows
us. Everyone stops and hopes the rains subside. The rains we
have been waiting for, for days, now seems unwelcome.

The young ones are excited as we can hide in our caves,
under tables and behind curtains, without being shouted at. The
adults are too busy making sure there are no leaks anywhere.

Then we see a snake of water, gliding down the wall in the
sitting room, then another and more. Suddenly there is a curtain
of rain at the side of the opposite wall. All the buckets and rugs
cannot contain the water.

“What a shame,” I say, as we all have to help hold the water
somehow. A sudden end to our adventure that never truly began.
Hopefully this will all be fixed before we are blessed with more rain.

Friday, 16 March 2018


A Different Kind of Dinner Time

Settling them gently to sleep we arranged then horizontally so they
had enough space around them. As the heat hit our backs, we felt they
would be hot too. We covered them with a thin muslin cloth we had found
lying on the shed floor.

It was not long enough as the edges seemed to have been torn uncaringly,
making parts of it fray. It looked like it had been used and not cared for.
This cloth we found must have been white one day but today it looked a
nice light shade of brown. It did the job, they were all covered. Sheltered
from the scorching sun. If we were warm they must have felt it too. We
were the only family they had, so we were obliged to take care of them.

Whilst they slept peacefully we decided to lay the table. We had many
colored crockery. How were we going to combine them to create a
coordinated and appealing table? They would not be asleep for too long.
We had to work very quickly. Ros went searching for what we could put on
the plates, I stayed behind to mix and match the tableware. They’d have to
work, I thought, that’s all we’ve got. Maybe this is what we can put on our
wish list for Christmas.

After a few minutes Ros came back carrying a bunch of leaves. It was
going to be salad for dinner. We prepared the meal together hoping to
combine them well enough so they looked attractive. Ros loved what she
was doing. I heard her humming to herself, I did not dare interrupt. After all,
she had gone to the market, how would I criticize what see bought. Oh! this
is exciting.

They’d wake up ready for their meal. I hope they would not be disappointed
as there was no meat or chicken to go with it. That is when I decided to
make a dressing, a salad dressing. That would be easy, a little water, some
oil and anything else that I could add that will not be missed. I had to go to
the kitchen and hope no one saw me.

“Ros I will be back soon,” I shouted.

Skipping through the front room, I opened the creaky door. That is when I
saw Mama. My plan could obviously not be executed. I went to the sink,
washed my grubby hands, quickly thought of a different plan and decided to
drink some cold water. After all it was a very sticky afternoon. As I opened
the fridge I noticed some ketchup. I quickly poured a little into my plastic
cup. As it was opaque Mama did not notice. I run quickly out of the kitchen

“Ros I coming.”

When I got back Ros had woken them up and sat them all around the table.
I quickly prepared my concoction and set it beside the salad. It was time for
dinner. Our dolls were going to have a feast. Ros and I were very pleased
we had been able to prepare dinner in time. We had to feed them, so our
task was not finished. We set to work...

Thursday, 15 March 2018


Storytime With Grandma

Grandma sang and tapped
A long Ananse story
Storytime was great

We really enjoyed storytime  with Grandma. She lined us up, sat us down on the rough cemented floor, legs outstretched. With the lights really dim and the full moon staring at us, she brushed our outstretched legs with a sweeping movement.
She would chant,"Pemp naa"
We would all respond, "Nana."
That was the beginning of another enticing story of Kwaku Ananse the trickster. There was always a lesson from her stories. Through the stories Grandma advised, disciplined and set us off to face the world. I am so glad I enjoyed Grandma Alice's stories. I now know that some of her stories about Kweku Ananse were made up because I have never heard anyone tell them. Grandma was wise she got our attention through storytelling. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2018


Spelling - Then and Now

We learned to spell by rote
She spoke aloud we wrote
When talking was allowed
We had to recite aloud
Each student had to shout
The combination of letters out
An interesting way to learn
To spell the words we use.
I learned to spell by rote. Fortunately, I am visual learner. I could memorize
the words I had to spell.
I know there are many ways to teach students to spell.
For my fourth graders we (my support teacher and I) have been using parts
of words to help them figure them out. We ask them frequently to use
these guiding questions-
What does it mean?
What is the base?
Can you identify any prefixes or suffixes?
What are some related words?
We practice this often, they are noticing patterns.
Hopefully we are helping them learn to spell
and learn the meanings of words, through inquiry.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018


Our Parties

Our parties were the talk of the town. When I was seven, my birthday party was held at
home, mainly in the garden. We wore trendy clothes Mama had made for us. She was
fashionable too. Our hair was untouched, natural, kinky and bushy. We looked the part,
the 1970s chics.

The music was an important part of the party, dancing wildly and dancing to win. Mama
had the best prizes for the winners. My brother Mike always won. He was a great dancer
with moves like Michael Jackson, he was not inhibited when it came to dancing. He is
now a very calm gentleman whose voice is never heard. How we change!

There was a whole assortment of pastries but the jollof rice won. It was tasty, not so
spicy, made just right for children. We ate heaps and heaps of the colorful, tempting
rice with large pieces of chicken completed with a creamy salad.

The sugar was too much though, sweets, drinks, and cakes. This must have been the
reason why the party got livelier. We danced a lot and played less.

Our parties were very communal, many friends from school, neighbors and family friends
attended. I wish I could find the photograph of us standing on the stairs. The tall ones, Ben
and his friends at the back and the younger ones including the birthday girl in front.

I can still see the colorful decorations and balloons hanging in the trees like ripe mangoes
waiting to be plucked. These images never leave me.