Felicia's Story




Part I (available as audio story)

Tafo, a big city in Kumasi, in the Ashanti region of Ghana, where I grew up with my grandmum and my auntie. My auntie had four kids, three boys and a girl.

Tafo was a very open community: open to different backgrounds, different religions, different cultures and different ethnicities. It felt like we were one family. Tafo, they say, was a typical example of ghetto, but we were nice people. Even when some call it zongo [1] , we were welcoming and we had hospitality. I remember as kids we used to play some games, like police and thieves, hide and seek, Ampe where we clap our hands and throw our legs like footballers, Pilolo and the greatest of them all: Maame Ene Paapa [mother and father game, in Twi]. It was the greatest because children shouldn’t be playing such games: I remember at the end of the game our ground ginger would be waiting for us. My auntie would call us and say “Enε meε tua wo” [2] and all the kids in the neighborhood would start singing “Yε beε tua wo, yε beε tua wo” – such an embarrassment. It would make you start crying but we would go back to it anyways. It was very fun.

But I didn’t fit in. I didn’t fit in anymore when growing up. It felt different, very different. I said to myself “I don’t belong here. I want my parents, just like every other normal kid, just like my friends.” I felt lonely and distant. My grandmum said to me, “then, I will take you to your mother”, which she never did. Later my mum called. “How are you?”, she asked. “I’m very fine”, I replied. “I miss you”, she said and started telling me how it is was abroad. “If you miss me, then come and take me out of here”, I said with a loud voice. “I will dear”, she replied. “Mmm okay, I can’t wait to get out of here”, I said and whispered to myself it must be very fun over there.

The D-day, time was up. Time to board the plane. The plane was moving at 8 o’clock. I could not sleep the whole night. “I can’t wait to see my mom”, I whispered to myself. All my dreams will come to pass some day. “Krokrokoo”, the cock crowed, it was morning. Before anyone had woken up, I had done all my house chores, taken a shower and packed all my stuff and my belongings. “When will we be leaving for the airport?”, I asked my grandmum with a very big smile. “Very soon”, she replied. “We will miss you. We will really miss you and hope you will call us when you get there.” “I will, don’t worry.” And all my friends also said, “call us, we will all miss you”. “I will, don’t worry”, I said, “I will also miss you all”. My grandmum replied “Wo ne onyame enkɔ [May God take you to your destination safely, in Twi]. Bye.” 


Part II

Home, a place where people find rest, comfort, peace and more peace. There is no place like home, they say with a big smile. Home is where you can feel an indescribable joy.

The place I call home is very far away from me. “Eii nti dabεn na mek) Ghana? Hmmm, m’ani begye oo.” (“So, when will I go to Ghana? Hmmm, I will be very happy.”) I see my friends on social media travelling in and out of Ghana and I wish it was me. “nti dabεn paa na mek) Ghana?”, [So when exactly will I go to Ghana?, in Twi] I said to myself and started to fantasize what it will be like when I go to Ghana just for a vacation.

When I go to Ghana, I’m going to eat all kinds of food, like banku and tilapia, fufu with abunubunu (light soup), waakye with some moist gari, eto with boiled eggs, and omotuo with some groundnut soup. Even when they make some here in Europe, it is never the same as the ones we make at home. It tastes different. Perhaps it is missing the taste of home. At this time, I am still thinking about home, what it will be like when I get a chance to visit home. I am still wondering how my family will receive me, still wondering what they even look like right now.

How joyful it will be when I get to see my grandmother and my aunty again and how joyful it will be when I get to hear the sound of rain fall down on the roofing street which gives sound sleep. The sound of the Muslims going to the mosque to pray which will wake you up even when you don’t want to. And when you wake up, you hear the birds singing and dogs barking.

At home you get to eat breakfast like hausa koko and kose (corn porridge and bean flour fritters) and in the afternoon you will hear “Diehuo wora ne baa ooo” (the tuo zaafi seller is coming) and every one will get his or her money ready for tuo zaafi.

In the evening, even if you don’t want to eat that particular food, you don’t have any other option. You eat whatever we prepare, and you have to take part in the preparation, or you won’t eat unless you have some money for chillbom (fried egg) or some kelewele. And last but not least, how the family comes together every night to watch TV. Hmm.

But I look at my present condition and wake up from my dream. I become sad but it tells me about how much the little things in life matter. These little things make living in Ghana so wonderful.



[1] In Ghana, Zongo means “traveler’s camp” or “stop-over” in Hausa and refers to a congested urban area mostly occupied by socially marginalized families with internal and international migration backgrounds.

[2] A now hardly used threat of punishment in Twi that parents or guardians used to deter children from doing something they deemed inappropriate.


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