Perspectives

This is a story about 6 individuals, and how their intertwined stories may not seem like they really seem. Many of the happenings in this story are from real life tales. Many are fictional.

Let me know your thoughts! Have you ever been in any of these situations? Have you met someone in such situations? How did it go? What did they do? Share them with us!

Elise


 

Bruma hadn’t always been a Christian. But he was a good one – a good pastor too. He lived to please the Lord. He knew in his heart of hearts, that he was trying. He knew that he wasn’t perfect. But he knew also the grace of God that had carried him out of destruction.

He knew he would probably have been cursed somewhere, likely dead if that grace hadn’t carried him out. He knew it. And he was grateful. How he became a Christian was nothing short of a miracle. But that was a story for another day.

When his mother asked him his thoughts about Sarah, he didn’t quite have an opinion. She wasn’t the kind of girl he’d have gone for, though very beautiful, she was a bit plain, a bit too submissive and a bit too ‘deaconess-y’. She hardly questioned things. They had to be done a certain way… the right way. But that wasn’t a good enough reason for him to say no. So he agreed to marry her. He didn’t want any more stressful issues with his family. He’d caused them enough pain.

Before he married her, he went to Nadia to apologize. He knew he owed that girl so much! He’d cost her two abortions, and too much heartache. She was the one that genuinely had his heart. And she’d stuck with him through all the stupidity of his youth. She was the only one of all the girls he’d had in the past that he could never forget. She left the country when he decided to move on. She told him she didn’t want to stand in the way of his transformation, but she couldn’t trust herself to not keep coming back. Nadia was a good woman! Her kind of crazy was what his heart needed. And on many nights, when he was alone with his thoughts, he wondered what could have been.

Sarah was good too. Only that she had been socialised in such a way that made her believe that almost everything modern was a sin. She owned nothing above her knees, she didn’t consider joking as a couple a normal thing – hers was to respect him, and cook for him. When he bought her lingerie for their honeymoon, she told him she was fully submitted to him, but she couldn’t do any ashawo things. He thought she was only joking. If only he knew!

 


 

“The church is arguably the most judgemental place on earth. Day in and day out, the church turns hundreds of people away – with a glare, with one word, one sentence, and one rumour. Aren’t we supposed to be the source of love? Aren’t we the ones who should comfort others? Are we not the ones to bring others over to this bright side?”

Akyiaa was always excited when it was pastor Bruma preaching. Apart from being good looking, he was also practical, straight to the point, and not repetitive like some of the other pastors. She’d skip on her post duty rounds to be there if she knew it was him preaching! Today, he had started a new series about the hypocrisy that needed to go away from the church.

She remembered all the time church people had made interesting comments about her.

“But why would a Christian woman even decide that she can wear an anklet?!” “Is black lipstick too a thing? Did you see it on her Instagram? Asɛ bɛyifo!”

And though she considered herself quite liberal, she looked back to all the times she herself had thought judgementally about others. Even if she didn’t voice them out, she’d thought them. And that, was just as bad!

“I need you to understand, church, that our righteousness did not save us! We’re all saved only by grace! Now a man with long or braided hair, has been given grace just as much as a man with a haircut – his hair, his choice! A tattoo doesn’t change the grace that God has given to us! Red hair will not stop you from going to Heaven! The jewellery you wear, will certainly not change anything about your walk with God!”

 


 

Andrea was finally tired. Tired of the façade she’d been living, tired of the pretence and the effort required to live it.

She remembered clearly the last time her husband had so much as looked at her…..

About two years ago, she’d stopped trying to convince herself that he was not having an affair… there was almost no one she could talk to about this. In church, Gyedu was a saint – he was an elder. He loved the kids. And as much as possible, he was civil to her. Many women wanted men like him. She’d be called ungrateful if she complained.

They’d been married 8 years, and the last 2 of those years, had been without sex. She didn’t consider herself a very sexual person, and it wasn’t as if Gyedu thought much about her when it came to sex… He was her first, and when they first got married, she thought sex was gruesome. But she decided she’d not waited this long for sex that would make her wish she was still celibate. She’d been brought up to think that God would reward her for remaining a virgin prior to her marriage. This really wasn’t the reward she had been expecting.

So she researched. She read articles. Both Christian ones and all those ones that she knew her church people would disapprove of. She bought books and magazines on the matter.

When she brought it up to Gyedu that she didn’t really enjoy the sex, and hence had done some research, on how they could maybe make it better, he wouldn’t have it! It was about six months into their marriage, and it was the biggest fight they’d had – well not quite a fight, just he became a very angry man.

 

“Where are you getting all these ideas from? We’re not people of the world! I’m not going to do anything funny just because you claim you’re not enjoying it! What do you even have to compare us to? Was I not your first? Or are you seeing someone?! Who has been putting these ideas into your head?”

She’d tried a few more times after that. To initiate sex, to try some position that would maybe get her close to some satisfaction, but Gyedu really wouldn’t have it. He didn’t want to be “carnal.”

From then on, sex had been his thing. She didn’t bother anymore to pretend that she was enjoying herself. She was so excited when she got pregnant. Although it was a difficult pregnancy, she didn’t have to deal with two times a week being painfully pounded and harrowed ‘like a good wife’.

When the twins were born, she put her all into her beautiful sons. She moved in with her mother for over a year, well beyond the customary three to six months that was acceptable. Gyedu visited fortnightly, and even then, their conversation was strained.

When she moved back home, they merely lived like roommates. She tried hard to make it work. She prayed and fasted. She apologised to his sore ego for making those suggestions earlier in their marriage. She did the things that made him happy. Cooked all his meals just the way he liked them. Got him gifts that she knew he’d like.

It didn’t change much. He stopped having sex with her altogether. When she tried to initiate it, he’d rub it in her face that she claimed she didn’t enjoy it…so why keep pretending? She tried talking to Gyedu about getting counselling. He was even more upset about that than he was about their sex issues.

“You want me to be ridiculed in the church, is that it? You want people to think I’m an incompetent husband?”

What made it easier for her was her five year old boys. They were her joy. She knew that it was up to her to bring them up to respect women, and not live like the world revolved around them.

Her marriage was just a façade, and she knew it. She didn’t want herself getting tempted by men elsewhere. She’d had advances made at her at work, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to say no. She couldn’t bring herself to cheat on Gyedu, but a woman has needs too! So after two years, and four months of being celibate though married, and over three years of thinking through, praying, wondering and convincing herself, Andrea ordered herself a vibrator.

 


 

Wendy was excommunicated from church when she got pregnant. It was one of the most difficult times of her life. But somehow, her meetings with Pastor Brumah and Elder Aining made it a bit easier. She understood that this was so that others wouldn’t fall into the same mistakes that she had. She wasn’t sacked, just she couldn’t hold any leadership positions, and she couldn’t be a part of the choir anymore. It was for a short while.

What surprised her was how the members of the choir suddenly treated her. She knew for sure that there were a number of them that were sexually active. But you see, that was the flaw in this whole excommunication thing. We’re all holy, until we’re caught!

All of a sudden, she was no longer friends with Rachel – how could she hang out with the latest sinner? She assumed that one of them would at least call to ask how the pregnancy was going, and how she was coping. On the contrary, she was very blatantly ignored at church. She thought it was a figment of her imagination, that maybe she was overthinking it cos of her own shame. But she was very obviously snubbed by two or three members. She wasn’t one to hold grudges. She decided she’d leave the church for a while. She was unfortunate to have committed a sin that couldn’t be hidden from the church. She’d thought of the abortion she knew Rachel had done, just so the church and her family wouldn’t find out. But hey, she had been the unlucky one. Life was that way. She would be okay at some point. She knew it.

 


 

Nadia had been living in the United States for the past eight years. There were still very few days when she didn’t think about Brumah. About what could have been. She’d never been bitter about any of it. She loved him. And she knew that he loved her as well. But life happens. And people hardly end up with the ones they love. Even when they do, life happens. She’d tried to meet others when she moved. She’d even been married once, to an abusive older man. She’d had a lovely baby boy, and then left that marriage. She was currently very comfortable, living in a place that many would consider a mansion, with her son. He was four, and the sweetest soul alive. She’d given up on her wild ways, and gotten right with God. She fellowshipped at the local church not far from where they lived. It was a church of love. That’s probably what drew her to it. She remembered visiting Brumah’s church in Ghana one time, where one elderly woman came and covered her with a cloth in the middle of the service, because the tattoo on her right shoulder was showing, and “we don’t do that here.”

So many times she’d considered going back home. But she knew it probably wasn’t for the best. It would worsen how much she wanted Brumah, and she didn’t want to be a homewrecker. She could tell he was happy. At least from what she saw on social media. He had a vibrant ministry in one of the big churches back home, and he was loved by many. His wife was beautiful. A bit more quiet than Nadia thought he would end up with, but she seemed good for him. 8 years, and they were still going strong.

She’d tried praying the love she had for him away. If only it worked that way!

 


 

Yaa was the Country Director at the UNDP Ghana office. She was strikingly beautiful. And her charisma made her loved by all. But she’d had to put up with so much pressure – first from men, and then her family, and then from her church, even from friends! How could you be thirty – eight and not want to be married? She’d heard one usher once talking to a lady, saying that it was because she earned so much money. Men didn’t want a woman who earned more money than them. She was livid that day. But as always, she kept her composure. She’d also heard once that she’d given up marriage for success. As if people didn’t have the two. Another rumour was that she was too authoritative for men. She laughed when she heard that one. Of course there were also rumours that at this age if she wasn’t married then she had some person she was hitting it with from time to time. Because humans somehow could not understand that a woman could be fine without a man, and without sex.

Yaa just did not want marriage. She’d been harassed by her family members, sent on awkward dates, some of which had to end abruptly, because the idiots assumed that at her age, she was desperate and would marry anyone regardless.

She’d had just one love of her life. And she felt content to have had that experience. He died early, even before they’d ever thought about marriage or any of those things. She simply didn’t want marriage, and people didn’t understand that! For the past eight years, she’d had people praying for her, that God would give her a husband, to people sending random men over to try to win her. She didn’t appreciate it, but she wasn’t rude about it. She hoped that at some point they’d get the memo. But it didn’t look like that was happening. Even her close friends, after they got married, started to slowly shun her company, or tried to send her on blind dates. So she threw herself into her work, and into her fun. She worked hard! And she travelled the world when she wasn’t working. She took herself on dates she liked, and did all the fun things she wanted. Marriage was really not the thing for her.

 

To be continued……….

 

 

Ashawo – offensive word for prostitute

Asɛ bɛyifo – like a witch

 

Risking a ‘Miracle’

Photo Credit - Google images

 

Hi guys!! It’s been quite a while! This is a post to raise awareness on Sickle Cell Disease, and the need for people to know their sickling status long before they fall in love! It’s inspired by many true stories – Stories of the many parents who have spent countless hours and money in hospitals, and endured guilt that only they can understand; stories of many kids who have suffered right till their adulthood, and stories of the many other kids, who did not make it. 

Also, it’s quite a long one, I hope you like it, and learn from it! If you have any experiences, any knowledge that would help someone, anything, share it in the comment section, and share this with a friend! Who knows who we may be reaching out to?

Elise

 

********************************

It wasn’t a big room. But it was filled with more people than it was made to hold – as usual.

And it wasn’t my first time here, but it had been a while. I’d had many encounters with different doctors, and different waiting rooms – but this was my favourite one. Growing up, I literally lived here! But it had been so long, I’d almost forgotten all about it… the musty smell of harsh antiseptics, the screech of cleaning equipment, the shuffle of haughty nurses (all with asses so large, it looked as if it was one of the requirements to be a nurse!) the eager, fake-humility of medical students, and the loud barks of arrogant doctors/nurses. It was all so familiar! Oh and of course, how could I forget the ever so common squabble between impatient patients!

By the time I was 12, I had been to Dr. Asafo’s office so many times that all the nurses, cleaners, pharmacists, security men, doctors and orderlies knew me too well. I knew all the nooks and crannies of that hospital. I knew when to sneak in, so I could skip the long queues. I knew that people would hardly pity me, so sneaking in to see the man himself was always my best solution. I knew that if I went in on Friday mornings, I’d get mango juice and hot bread from him.

I was an ultra-skinny child. Ultra-skinny is what I like to call it, because it sounds nice. I got tired of all the teasing in school, and all the random people trying to feed me, (“Akatesia, endzidzi aah? Dzidzi ai?”) that I coined my own word for it. Ultra- Skinny.

I didn’t like the fact that I was that small. But it was not something I could do anything about. It would never change. You see, I was born with the Sickle Cell Disease. And in Kumasi, Ghana, where Bone Marrow Transplants weren’t yet available, sticking to my drugs and instructions was the only way to survive. Even then, I still had crises.

I’d learnt to deal with it, and it’d been working just fine – to a large extent.

Today, I wasn’t here to see Dr. Asafo for the usual check-up, or the once-in-a-while ‘hello’ visits. I was here to show him someone. I needed his sickling status checked. I didn’t want a situation where I would bring children like myself into the world. I needed to know well ahead of time. I could have had him check it anywhere. But I also valued Dr. Asafo’s opinion.

 

When I was seventeen there was a young boy that I was attracted to – Barimah. He was quite amazing. His sickling status was our main barrier – AC. I made it clear that we could not be together. But he would not relent. It’s the thing I miss most about him. His unrelenting nature. If he wanted something, he went for it. “Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero” that was his anthem – day and night. But I couldn’t live that way. At least not regarding the person I decided to have kids with. I could not willingly bring a child to this earth who would suffer. I had to think about the future. I couldn’t always carpe diem!

We lasted two years… and over those two years, he actively researched, and found information on Sickle Cell SC disease… and how it wasn’t as bad as the SS one. Once, he sent me a whole PowerPoint presentation, on things we could do for our kids, if in the future, they ended up with Sickle Cell SC Disease. One afternoon, after one horrible crisis, my mind was made up. Nobody I loved was going to have to go through this if I could help it. Barimah had to go, and hard as it was, it took a year for both of us to finally come to terms with our separation.

I remember asking mum when I was about 13, why she married dad when she knew they could have a child with SCD. (Because I knew they both knew before they got hitched.) She looked into my eyes and said “We wanted a miracle from God.” I can’t explain the kind of rage I felt. “You wanted a miracle, so you decided, why don’t we test God’s miracle-doing business by having a child who will be hospitalised once or twice every month? And one that would die at age 4? Is that how it works?” I was in a frenzy, and she was almost in tears!

I didn’t talk to either of them for about two weeks. But then I realised that there was really nothing that could be done – the milk had already been spilt – I lost my little brother when he was 4. I was 8 then. They never had another child, and it’s been just me since. I had to make it count.

So I was here to ensure that I didn’t go down that path with Mick. I couldn’t spend this much time in a hospital over my child – assuming I lived long enough to have any. And most of all, I would not subject any child – any living creature, to all I’d been through.

I had the power to make a difference with my knowledge. And I believed that love meant that I would use that knowledge for good, no matter how hard.

The first time I met Mick, we were opponents on a high school debate. Of course, thanks to my size, I get underestimated a lot. He’s a large burly fellow, and he was the lead of his team, as I was mine. They didn’t expect much from us, so for the most part, they were very complacent. After one round, where they lost completely, they got the memo, and started to get serious. Mick was a good debater. And he didn’t shame me, or comment about my size. He generally didn’t say much – unless it was his turn to debate of course. I was am a chatterbox!

“Miss Koomson. Dr. Asafo will see you now.”

“But didn’t she just come here? Madam I’ve been here since morning, why is this one going before me?” The usual chatter of impatient patients. I was too used to all of it.

Mick just followed me. He had been extra quiet since morning. We both knew that this could be it. The end of all we were hoping to build. He had a dramatic way of putting it. “Your love for me is not unconditional. Because I know that if I were to have any S or C in there, you’d disappear from my life. So why don’t we just check later?” I’d agreed to later for the past three years and a half.

But it was dangerous. I had fallen in love. And I had to think for my kids. My future. His future. I believe in miracles. But I believe that if God has given me the ability to do something about it, he’s not expecting that I ignore that ability and ask for a miracle!

“Akosua… it’s been ages! I see you’re well” He always had that smiley teasing way about him. I was so nervous. Mick was calm, smiling when he had to, most likely not even following the conversation. After our usual banter, Dr. Asafo had one nurse draw blood from him, and then asked us to hold on for a bit outside, while he saw some other patients.

I don’t know if the whole situation was now finally dawning on me, or if I somehow suddenly felt that we would definitely have to break up… but I got so nervous, I could tell I might throw up. He looked at me and he could tell. He gently grabbed my bag, held my hand, and walked us out. I was too nauseous to utter a word. He knew! He knew, and that made this all so much worse. What if I couldn’t have him? What if I ended up with someone who had no clue when I needed to leave? Someone who would be quickly bothered by my crises?  What if? I got lightheaded really quickly, and so he stopped me.

“We don’t really need the results, Akosua. Ok let’s not have kids! We can adopt… We’ll stage a pregnancy if people want to assume it’s actually ours…Or what about a sperm donor?

I want you. I don’t want to lose you because we could bring sick kids into the world. And I don’t want sick kids either. I don’t want them to suffer. But I really truly want you.

But if you decide that you can’t be with me, I’ll be okay with that. I can be your friend. I can pick you up when you need me to, I can just… I don’t know… just… let’s not do this today, okay?”

In that minute, it dawned on me that maybe, this is what my parents had. Maybe this is why they risked love for a miracle….

I couldn’t afford to take that risk.

 

 

Akatesia, endzidzi aah? Dzidzi ai? – Young lady, don’t you eat? Please eat okay?  (Fanti, a Ghanaian language)

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero – ‘seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow [the future]’