Last two weeks, Adomaa and I met at the national archives where I had gone to dig into the Evening Newspaper of the Convention People’s Party for my research. As I was whiling away time to unburden myself of hours of scanning through the 1959 newspapers, I bumped into Adomaa, who was climbing upstairs to the reading room of the archives. We exchanged greetings. But we also decided to find out the focus of each other’s research (because I had presumed that Adomaa was also a researcher). Adomaa told me she was in Ghana for a week's vacation and had decided to visit the archives to have a pastime. That, however, did not quench my interest in broaching a conversation with her. Our conversation led to a winding story of Nkrumah’s postcolonial politics and eventually gathered momentum on the Christian faith, which we both share. But our conversation got personal, as Adomaa’s life history appeared to have some symmetry with mine. I found the tapestry of Adomaa’s life quite interesting and imbued with divine aura. And ever since we met, I had been musing over her life story until I asked for her permission (which she graciously offered) to share her story.
Adomaa was born to two committed Adventist parents in Kumasi. Her parents were involved in the so-called informal sector of the economy. Her mother was a petty trader, while her father was a cobbler. She started hawking tomatoes to help her parents when she was in primary six. By dint of hard work, Adomaa progressed from Junior High School to the Senior High School (SHS). But a year before she completed her SHS education, her mother passed on. Her mother’s death was a major blow to Adomaa. Even so, she mustered the courage and wrote her Senior Secondary Certificate Examination and passed. A year after her SHS education, her father was struck with blindness. This meant that she could no longer depend on her father for support.
Following the idiom of Akan social structure, the care of Adomaa fell to her maternal uncle, who pretentiously had shown interest in helping her to pursue tertiary education. Given Adomaa’s predicament, she had opted to pursue a career in nursing since that promised immediate employment after training.
All the same, Adomaa had to find something to do to mobilize money to pursue her dream career. A Good Samaritan suggested to her to join the National Youth and Employment Program, which the government of the New Patriotic Party had introduced. She enrolled in the program as a healthcare assistant at the regional hospital in Cape Coast, Central Region of Ghana. After working for a year, she bought the admission form of one of the nursing colleges. Fortunately, she was called for an interview and subsequently offered admission. But when the admission letter was dispatched, her maternal uncle, whose postal address she had used, decided to conceal the admission letter from her until she missed the deadline. This continued for two continuous times until she finally decided to give up her dreams of ever becoming a nurse.
But at the place where she was working as a healthcare assistant, there was a newly posted nurse who picked interest in her. As a well trained Adventist, Adomaa was very humble, submissive, hard-working, and obedient. The new nurse – Francisca – who happened to be my SSS mate, decided to help Adomaa. She encouraged Adomaa to buy the admission forms for Asankragua Nursing College. But Adomaa had lost all hopes of ever becoming a nurse. So, she brushed off the idea. This did not discourage Francisca. Francisca went ahead and bought the forms for Adomaa and helped her to fill it.
Graciously, Adomaa was called for interview and subsequently offered admission. But obviously, she did not have money for her admission fees. Francisca decided to collaborate with one of her colleagues to raise money to pay for Adomaa’s fees. Fortunately, they raised the admission fees in excess to help Adomaa buy all the items on her prospectus. Since Adomaa did not have a cell phone, Francisca bought one for Adomaa in order for the former to monitor the activities of the latter.
Francisca provided all the needs of Adomaa until Adomaa was in her final year. In Adomaa's final year, Francisca suddenly lost contact with her. Francisca's attempts at reaching Adomaa failed. She traveled to Asankragua to look for her, but she was told Adomaa had left the school and traveled back to Kumasi. Through one of Adomaa's colleagues, Francisca got to know that Adomaa had taken up a casual job of fetching water and carrying mortar for construction workers to raise enough money to pay for her final year school fees. Fortunately, Adomaa called Francisca. As a result of the call, Francisca decided to trace Adomaa to help her pay for Adomaa’s school fees. But again, Adomaa did not want to overburden Francisca so she decided to change her number. As Francisca once again lost contact with Adomaa, she felt that God would take care of Adomaa.
Adomaa was involved in her ‘kpakpa’ job hoping that someday she would raise enough money to complete her nursing training. But one day, as she was heading to the construction site, her curiosity was driven to a shed closer to the roadside. The shed featured a group of young men who worked as agents for American Visa Lottery. They convinced Adomaa to try. As an Adventist, Adomaa was not sure whether the lottery contravened God’s law. But upon the insistence of the gentlemen, she decided to give it a try. Fortunately, Adomaa won the lottery!
She went for the interview and was successful. She was granted a visa. But she was not sure how she was going to raise the air ticket. As she was thinking about it, a gentleman, who had been trying to join her parents in the United States of America, showed interest in helping her. Adomaa told the gentleman about how she was struggling to raise the needed money to travel to the United States. But since the gentleman had money, but not the visa to go to the United States, they decided to scheme. The gentleman told Adomaa that he would pose as her husband. Adomaa accepted the deal.
So, the gentleman filed in his application, using Adomaa as his fictive wife. Fortunately, he was also granted a visa. They two of them flew to the United States two weeks after they had secured their visas. Unknown to Adomaa, the gentleman was also an Adventist. And after they had lived in the United States for two years, they decided to marry. Their marriage has been blessed with a child.
Back in Ghana, Francisca decided to pursue a degree program in nursing at the University of Cape Coast. But since she was the eldest of her siblings, she had assumed the role of a father since the death of her father in 2000. In her final year, Francisca was struggling to pay her school fees and that of her young brother who was at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. She was in a fixed position, as she either risked deferring her program or that of her brother.
One day, as she was thinking of what to do, she had a call from a foreign number. She panicked but decided to answer the call. When she answered the call, lo and behold, it was Adomaa. Francisca was surprised and asked about her where about. Adomaa simply said to her, ‘The village girl is now in the United States, by God's grace. I called to thank you for all that you did for me. Please, I am sending you GH3000 in the next two hours.' Indeed, two hours after the call, Francisca's phone beeped and, to her surprise, Adomaa had sent the money. Francisca hurriedly paid for her school fees and that of her young brother.
A month after that, Francisca's phone developed a fault. As she was thinking of how to get a new one, Adomaa sent her a new smartphone that had multiple functions. As Francisca received the phone, she was so mesmerized that she ran out of words in expressing her gratitude.
Adomaa continued her nursing program while her husband joined the US army.
To be continued!
Charles Prempeh ([email protected]), African University College of Communications, Accra
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