It was a waakye kind of morning. Waakye, no matter what anyone says is the ultimate food for future champions. My thoughts as I stepped out in my shades to buy Hajia’s whole consignment of the elixir of life (waakye) for my family. We do have a huge appetite you know. I am constantly grateful to The Maker for two things: the gift of fire and the know-how of all Hajia’s around Ghana to produce good quality waakye.
The intricately woven sensation of rice and beans flavored with brown leaves which also provides the meal’s signature color. Not too salty but definitely mouthwatering, the addition of gari (cassava flakes) perfectly oiled to an orange color. Talia… oh what a beautiful name! Talia (spaghetti) – strategically sprinkled all over an immaculately steam drenched meal. What even kills me is that heated pepper Hajia infuses into the mix. The sight of the kotodwe (cow feet) and wele (cow skin) alone brings the cow back to life to enjoy itself in a hearty meal.
Now back to the main story. This walk of life to obtain the elixir of life was being embarked on because Ananse my husband had decided to tell us one of his stories. He would only tell us a story when he was comatose after a good bowl of waakye with his shirt off and stomach dangling like a chandelier over his stool. The kids and I really did look forward to such occasions not because they were rare, no; but because it drew our family closer. With Ananse out deceiving people all day to make money so I can shop and the kids living their life, we hardly ever sat as a family to enjoy such priceless family moments.
So you can understand my joy over an opportunity like this when Mewura had decided to gather all of us in the family vacation home in an exotic locale (which I am not revealing) to spend time with everyone and to listen to some of the Ananse exploits. Our family exploits.
I got back all drenched in sweat and in need of a break from my heels. We sat on the floor of the living room, open up our waakye leaves which contained heaven and began the massacre with our hands (which is actually the proper way to enjoy a meal of waakye). After a few chokes from the hot pepper in the meal (we are not complaining) and some serious teasing of Eti Kelenkele, we finished our meal and gathered around the custodian of all stories- Ananse.
“Anansesem si so – Dear people, I spin stories. I am King of Stories, mine, yours, and those I inherited from my father, Nyame, The Maker. The stories shall be placed here, for your leisure. Take them and share them, but always remember that as they are Ananse stories, they are mine, and through me, The Maker’s. And He does not entertain thieves lightly, or gladly. So share them, but share their ownership as well. And enjoy, for is that not the purpose of stories?
Just last week, when there was nothing but rice in this house (and I am not pointing any fingers but I have decided to look at Ama while saying this), I, Ananse, as a responsible father and husband decided to go looking for real food. It was a very difficult quest. A quest only Kings and Queens embarked on which took me across many a farmlands and fish ponds. I eventually came across Mr. Rabbito’s farm.
Now this particular farm was blessed with lush and pomp. The farm was indeed a handsome farm! Its hair was decorated with cassava leaves shampooed with the best kind of soil available to man. Its lashes were an extension of palm fronds with beautiful palm nuts to provide a healthy glow. Its nose, huge mounds of yam sprouts. And finally, crawling watermelon leaves to grace this magnificent farm’s face with a beautiful smile.
The Maker had answered my prayers! I immediately went to work plucking some of the cassava leaves and uprooting some yams. It was a bumper harvest my people. That was the meal you foolish kids (stares at Efu Dihwidihwi) enjoyed last Tuesday. True to my skill and to follow the tradition of “who doesn’t enjoy a free meal”, I decided to go back to this handsome farm again but this time with your mother, Sister Ama. We got to the farm with our mini truck and farm tools; ready to devour it like pests.
After parallel parking our mini truck (Boys Abr3), I heard your mother screaming at the top of her voice at someone. My heart sank suddenly because heaven knows if it was the owners of the farm catching us in the act of borrowing some of their food stuff I would bolt without even looking back. Your mother can be very cunning sometimes and even if I bolted I know she would have talked her way out of that situation. (Sister Ama with a broad smile gets up and twirls).
I arrived at the scene only to see Ama screaming at a man. I looked round and noticed he was alone. Whew! What a relief. Two people can take down one person right? These were my thoughts as I approached this man arguing with my wife.
“What is the problem Ama? Is this man bothering you?” I asked with a puffy face ready to pounce on anyone trying to disrespect my lovely wife. “Mewura, this man wants to be an enemy of progress. I got here and asked him who he was, what he wanted and why he was here? He has refused to talk Mewura. He only smiles sheepishly and looks at me with vague eyes.” “Ama calm down let me handle this. It’s a man thing. Stand behind me!” I said. Oh what a fool I was. “Who are you and what are you doing here? Answer me now!” I bellowed.
This man refused to answer. He still stood there in his shabby clothes with a blank stare. At this point my anger was off the charts. I then told him point blank if he didn’t answer my questions he was going to receive a strong slap. With vim he still stood his ground with a blank stare! This man was brave. So you know me, Ananse! Something had to happen. After all, me too I am brave some… Tah! First slap! Tah! Second… boom! Boom! Two kicks… this man still wouldn’t budge. And to add insult to injury he had seized me. He wouldn’t let me go. “I said leave me you scoundrel! Ama call for help! This man doesn’t know who he is dealing with!”
20 minutes later…
“Ama are you back?” I said still stuck to the fool. “Mewura I am back oo, with Mr. Rabitto. I had no choice”. I had been caught red handed. But I wasn’t going to go down without a fight! A whole champion like me. How? So I held my ground. “Why are you laughing Rabitto? This man here who is either a thief or your worker certainly needs to be punished and you are there laughing” I exclaimed. “He refuses to let me go. Do I look like a small boy to him? He had better let me go or else…” “Ananse, so it is you who has been stealing from my farm?” said Rabitto. “You know you could have just asked for anything here and I would have sent the courier to deliver it to your house.
That thing you are stuck to isn’t a man but a wooden statuette dressed as a man smeared with extra Super glue brewed from the spittle of the three headed dogs of Hades. I placed it there because I wanted to catch the thief who was stealing from my farm and ooopps there he is”. “Rabitto what are you implying?” I said but deep down my children, I had never felt so ashamed in my life! Rabitto got me off the statuette and provided me with all I needed from his farm and even more. Even our minivan (Boys Abr3) sparked differently; it almost sounded like a chuckle.
The morale of this story my people is, the art of trickery is a beautiful one, but never use it against friends who don’t mind sharing their goodies with you.
Oh, and lest I forget, you must never show remorse. It is a sign of weakness. You see the way I put Rabitto in check by not showing remorse? Good!
By the end of the story, I had finished cleaning all the dishes, Naa Kohwia had had two nightmares already and the other two kids, Eti Kelenkele and Efu Dihwididwi were on their second bowl of fufu. I guess perfect family moments are over rated.
Well I must say that the Rabitto situation was a testy one for me but still, life goes on. I wasn’t as vulnerable as Ananse painted me to be. I mean, if you come home with goodies the first time and I feel instead of a few we can have it all and you agree to my plan who is the vulnerable one? Trickery is but a business for the Ananses and we must also eat to survive. These Louis Vuitton bags don’t come cheap.
Well I must leave you lovelies at this moment to attend to our London branch but I promise to bring you even more of my greatness in my next episode. I did need a new wardrobe so I had to let the husband feature in this episode. My ladies you know this… so until next time.
Love your neighbors and respect your elders! Kisses…
Sister Ama in her palmnut soup stained apron yet still fabulous.
**Below is a 3D representation of The Ananses’ vacation home in a secret locale. In the picture(standing) is their house keeper, Nana Ohweadieyie II. Credit: Ekow Aseda Inkoom (@Swissplus), Amoyaw Brown Edmund, Adeduni Duchess Roberts and Archibald Eastwood-Anaba