My baby is crying

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family love quotes (18)

Okai( a young boy of about four years) walks up to me crying. I ask him “what is wrong with you?” and he says, “my baby is crying”.For an entire minute I stood at the door of my Sunday School class completely puzzled. His baby is crying? Why is he really crying? Does he have some psychic abilities which allows him to detect when his little brother or sister is crying? I finally ask ” which baby?” and he turns around and points at his little sister ( of about two years) who is heaving and crying as if she had been beaten. I just shook my head and walked him to his seat and then tried comforting both of them. That was just about one of the sweetest scenes I have ever seen.

Family is an amazing thing, its amazing to know that there’s a pack of people who love you crazy and feel your pain as if it were theirs. Okai couldn’t stand to see his little sister cry so much that he had to cry for her, and actually left her to get help. I know my people don’t cry they see me cry ( they’ve all gone past four). But I see the despair on their faces and I know they’ll move heaven and earth to see me smile again. Sometimes family situations tend to be very sour but I pray we all find family members who will move heaven and earth to see us smile.I pray we do same for them!

Kids are gems-Musings of a Sunday School Teacher.

 

 

 

Beautiful girls do not cry

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I was tasked with preparing some of our Sunday School kids for an annual Bible Quiz. The quiz was made up of three components – memory verses, bible lessons and children hymns in one of our local languages (Ga). 

One Sunday, I met the team so we could learn our selected hymns. Twenty selected hymns, each hymn has an average of four verses and the language was colloquial in some cases. The children were expected to commit all the verses of the selected hymns to memory and to sing each hymn word for word. It was quite a daunting task for kids aged between 8-11.

My teaching style was to explain the words of the hymn, sing a line or two and get them to sing after me  in turns, until they could sing an entire verse on their own. As we learnt the hymns what struck me most was the different personalities of the kids. I  will focus on two extremes I observed. 

Mary-Anne was a nonchalant and sly little girl. She didn’t pay too much attention as I taught. Now, as each girl sang each verse in turn, it got closer to her turn. She walked up to me with a very intent look on her face and asked to use the washroom. I knew immediately she was trying to outsmart me and skip her turn. For her, the learning session was not a do or die affair. It was just another activity in her very busy life. Her slyness made me smile to myself. 

Then there was Sabina, a very sensitive and serious little girl. When it was her turn to sing she sang the first two or three lines of the verse and then her voice began to tremble. The next thing I knew she was crying and heaving as if she had been beaten. For a split second I was terribly confused. It however didn’t take too long for me to realise that she considered her inability to recall the words of the verse a failure – thus her tears. Her tears, her sensitivity and how serious she took life broke my heart because I had been there before. I feared for all the heartbreaks and curveballs life would throw her way as she grew and worried about how she would handle them. As I comforted her and tried to explain to her that she need not take everything to heart so much, I repeatedly said ” Beautiful girls do not cry”. 

May He who gives grace,  give us grace to handle what we consider to be our greatest trials and failures with wisdom and strength. May He constantly remind us that what seems like our greatest challenge is but a blowing wind that will pass. 

Kids are gems-musings of a Sunday School teacher. 

NB:All names have been changed. 

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When your mum is your best friend

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This year I’ll be counting my blessings all year round. One of the little-big blessings God gave me is a mum-best friend. Every time I think about our relationship, I cannot help but smile. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you have one really wonderful person who’s got your back at all times.

One thing I really treasure in friendship is a friend who knows how to give. I’ve learnt a lot from my very close friends about giving to the point where it hurts. My mum is my biggest giver, of course in a financial sense primarily. When I finished with my first degree and hadn’t found a job yet, her most famous questions were “do you have money?” and “are you sure you have money?. She didn’t have much but if it meant giving me her last GHS 20 cedis, she wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Although I don’t go to her these days with my financial burdens, I learnt loads from her in terms of giving within a relationship.

There’s something remarkable that marks my friendship with my mum- our different personalities. I am a bit laid back and not such a great conversationalist. Not my mum, she will talk your ear off. She can chit-chat about anyone, anything and everything under the sun and I have sat many a times wondering in amazement where her inspiration for conversation comes from. My disposition coupled with my ever-lasting awe at her conversational skills means most of the time I am listening and she’s talking; which doesn’t deter her at all. It still feels really good, to know that at any time when I want to have a conversation and can’t find anybody after scrolling through my phonebook twice I can call her and end up chatting for at least 30 minutes.

I love to tease my mum and she’s a great sport about it. She will tease you right back as soon as she has the opportunity. It could be a word she mispronounced, terrible computing skills, a concept she can’t wrap her head against or some funny quirk she has. She falls within the class of people who cannot watch a movie without running a commentary. While running a commentary on what has is happening in the movie, she keeps asking everybody else about what is about to happen. It’s one of my favourite teasing points. I know I am really good friends with my mum when I can tease her about anything and know she won’t get mad about it.

My sounding board-sometimes you just need someone to listen to all the weird business ideas you have. Someone to share your dreams with and she’s there every step of the way. Although we are always fighting about her risk aversion towards business, her tenacity once it takes off is unquestionable. Yes, so like real friends we have our fights too, not many though but we do. The joy that there is in having a friend pay attention to what is going on in your life and following up on your progress with every endeavor you undertake, my mum provides beautifully.

I could go on and on if I were given all day to  write about my prayer-warrior, my confidant, my central bank, my shopping partner, my kokonsa(gossip) partner , but I will stop here with a smile on my face as I count my blessings this year.

Kim; A Gift from Vietnam-Frank W. Chinnock

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Touched by the war in Vietnam and the contribution being made by American soldiers ;Frank decides to pluck one little child suffering from the devastating war and to make a difference in the child’s life. 

This true story chronicles the struggle of the family as they go through the process of adopting Kim. Red tape, fear, trepidation, tantrums, health struggles and lots joy mark the remarkable journey of the Chinooks in adopting and integrating Kim into their family. 

Personally,  I loved the book because I adore children. I thought the desire of Frank and his family to make a difference in the life of a shattered child amazing. Even more so the tenacity they showed as they waited two years for the adoption process to go through. Would you be willing to travel to a war torn country to adopt  a child, just so you can make a difference in the world? 

3 day quote challenge

Hey, Everyone! I was nominated to participate in the 3-day quote challenge by https://anaprose.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/quote-what-is-my-purpose/

Thanks for the nomination Ana. Anaprose has a great blog with amazing content. Please, make sure to check out her blog. The link is above.

The Rules

  1. Thank the person that nominated you.
  2. Post 1-3 quotes each day for 3 consecutive days.
  3. Nominate 3 bloggers each day to participate in the 3-day Quote Challenge

Lately I’ve fallen in love with Maya Angelou’s quotes so my first quote will be one of hers.

 

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Below are my nominees

  1. Angela Alu
  2. Michael Okyere Asante
  3. Larry

Silas Marner-George Eliot

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Silas Marner is a beautifully sad book with a great ending. George Elliot highlights important societal themes like class, loss of trust in mankind, hope, greed, hypocrisy in the church among others. Silas is robbed of the trust he has in mankind  and the church when his best friend sets him up for the theft of a bag of gold and eventually marries Silas’ fiancee. The church without conducting a proper investigation into the matter draw lots and declare Silas guilty of the alleged crime.He eventually leaves Lantern Yard for Raveloe where he sets himself up as a weaver. He keeps himself away from everybody given what life has already dealt him. His only company being his loom and the gold coins he gets in return for the cloths he weaves.

One of the most important men  in Raveloe, Squire Cass has two very troublesome sons . One, Godfrey, is married to a woman whom he cannot introduce to his family and has a beautiful little girl with her. The other, Dunstan, is simply in the habit of squandering his father’s wealth and blackmailing his brother using the knowledge of his marriage. Dunstan  blackmails Godfrey into giving him his favourite horse to sell, so as to raise money to pay a debt he owed their father. He leaves the house with the horse but fails woefully in his quest because of his brash nature. On his way back home on foot he finds himself in Silas’s cottage and steals his gold coins.

Silas has developed a strange affinity for his gold bag and the coins in it. He is completely devastated when he returns home to find the gold bag gone. How does he survive this second blow that life serves him? Will he find his gold? Will Dunstan be caught?

I enjoyed the book because it touched on several themes which are relevant even today. The class system and the nature of social climbers. The greed displayed usually by those who have a lot already. The theme that hit a chord with me the most is the ability of people to deal with life’s troubles. Do we like Silas recoil from society when something we consider unbelievable happens or are we able to hold our heads up high, pick up the pieces of our lives and march on.

Beyond the Horizon-Amma Darko

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Amma Darko

“Tears are building up in my eyes. They always do when I stare at what is left of me. They are blurring my vision and are slowly rolling down my face in an agonising rhythm like the beating of the devil’s own drums … ta … ta … ta … dropping down one after the other, painfully slow, painfully gradual, onto these two flabby, floppy drooping things I call my breasts, my tired graceless bosom. I fear what I see when I look at myself. I shiver at the sight of my sore cracked lips which still show through the multiple layers of the glossy crimson paint I apply to hide them.(p. 2)”

Life without plenty does not mean life without love. Beyond the Horizon centres on  Mara journey’s from her home in the village where she lived quite a normal life to join her husband in the city. In her naivety she assumes that whatever she is presented with in her marital relationship is her lot. The leaking tin house, the constant beating and the servant treatment were for her a  part of the marital contract.

When she returns home to deliver her unwanted first child, her husband gathers all of her precious ornaments for the purposes of safekeeping. She returns to find that her husband has sold all the items in a bid to travel to Europe so he can be regarded as a “been to” and accorded all the respect that comes with travelling to Europe. Her raging madness is calmed when her husband tells her about the awesome things which happen in Europe including people who threw away cars and fridges. He additionally promises to come back to get her to join him in Europe as his wife if all goes well. Awed by the promises her Husband makes, Mara allows him to get away with selling her items. He eventually raises sufficient money to make the trip.Mara waits  expectantly for her husband, her confidence boosted because she’s about to travel to Europe. What happens when she eventually travels to Europe is really unexpected. Her husband forces her into prostitution to raise funds to finance his mistress, Comfort whom he had flown from Ghana earlier to join him in Europe. The rest of the book chronicles how Mara wakes up from her naivety and deals with her husband and his accomplices.

I loved every bit of the story. I found Amma Darko’s Beyond the Horizon  really  riveting. There’s something about the way she weaves her words and describes scenes that carries you along chapter after chapter. The reality of the situation she presents even though fictional, makes it really easy to relate to.She does a great job of making the characters in her book come alive.

Several lessons are drawn from this novel. The primary lesson being the troubles associated with illegal immigration to Europe in search of greener pastures. She also ridicules the behaviour of African families who hail their kin for sending them huge amounts of money without questioning the source of the money. She also points out in an extreme case the naivety with which people generally enter into marriage, accepting what is not normal as part of the marriage package and questioning very little.

Just discovered kinnareads and I think her Africa Reading Challenge sounds exciting.

 

 

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Great Expectations-Charles Dickens

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great expectations.

So this year, I read Great Expectations for the very first time. It’s one of those books which every book lover can mention but might not necessarily have read. I’m certain the reviews that have been done for this classic are classics themselves. I’ll just do my very own kind of review.

Another one of those books I found difficult to read because of the language style-Victorian English. Nevertheless, the book has an amazing plot. I loved the fact that I could watch the main character grow from a very young age into adulthood, that I could relate to his woes and empathize with him.

Pip, a young boy from a very humble background, helps an escaped convict at the beginning of the story. Pip, falls hopelessly in love with Estella; exactly as it was planned by Miss Havisham. This plan Miss Havisham hatches is to visit punishment on the male species for she was scorned terribly by a man in her youthful days. Pip’s fortunes change when an unknown benefactor makes available a large fortune to him. Pip hopes that with this fortune, he can make a gentleman out of himself and most likely win Estella’s favour and hand in marriage. He had great expectations of himself. The twists and turns that the story takes thereafter, makes for very interesting reading.

My favourite  character in the book was Biddy. Biddy had dreams and aspirations. Staying a little village girl was not enough for her. However, she stayed real and true to who she was and where she came from. She never allowed her dreams and aspirations to get into her head or make her ashamed of her background.

One of the life lessons which struck me as I read Great Expectations is that we sometimes have really great expectations of ourselves, sometimes these expectations become our very undoing. I think we should constantly manage the expectations we have not only of others but of ourselves as well.

 

 

 

Beloved by Toni Morrison

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I have had the wonderful opportunity of sitting in as a panelist on a book review show at a local radio station. Its been wonderful and fit like a glove with my new year resolutions. The only thing missing is that, I have not been blogging my reviews as promised. So here goes the review for Beloved by Toni Morrison.

Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a fictional novel that has slavery at the centre of its plot. As an award winning novel, Beloved won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the 1987 National Book Award. Toni Morrison also won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993.Just to point out that where all the pundits are concerned Beloved is an amazing book.

Sethe, a slave, manages to escape from Sweet Home, a plantation on which she had been a slave for almost all her life until it fell into the hands of  a cruel master. Initially, Sweet Home, provided the best treatment for slaves compared to several other plantations. The Sweet Home slaves were treated more like hired help than slaves. Consequently when the plantation came under new leadership, the slaves found it very hard to adjust to the harsh treatment. Sethe along with the other slaves plan to escape, although the others were unsuccessful, Sethe was . Heavy with child she  travels along with her three other children  to Ohio which is a free state where her mother in-law lives in house known as 124. After a few days of independence as an escaped slave, slave master’s from Sweet Home swoop down on 124 to take Sethe back to Sweet Home. Rather than return to the cruel treatment at Sweet Home, Sethe decides to take the lives of her children and her’s as well- in her view an act of salvation. She kills her two year old daughter and is stopped before she could kill any other child. The rest of the story centres on how Sethe and the rest of the family is haunted by the ghost of the dead child. Later, the ghost appears as a  young lady known as Beloved to haunt Sethe. There are several twists and turns which also depict the harrowing experience of slavery and its effect on the lives and minds of freed slaves.

Personally, I found the book  difficult to read. Morrison’s style of writing calls for the use of your intellect and all. The story unfolds in bits and pieces without chronological order. The reader must therefore fix the pieces of the puzzle in place as he/she reads the book. Th book uses a lot of vivid imagery though, making it easier to carry out this task.

A deeply sad story with a very interesting end. I found the story moving and gave me a firsthand opportunity to relate to the entire concept of slavery, most especially the aftermath of slavery.