Aunt Mary was a large woman. She was the biggest Ghanaian I had seen and truly dwarfed the sewing machine that she sat behind. I approached and greeted her and the other women with my best Fante (the local dialect): “ Memoachee .”
“Morning! This is no longer the morning, look at your shadow. This is the afternoon! Memoaha !” Auntie Mary and the gang of women circled around me boomed with laughter. I dreaded what I knew would take place next. They would soon test my Fante. Now, if you know me well you might know that I could not speak until I was seven or write until 13. I still have trubble spelling. You might teach a parrot fluent Fante before I learned the bare essentials.
” Cheem. Aba juman ayay? Oh ta den? Wa frow eden ?” My eyes opened wide. I looked around quickly not knowing how or to whom to respond. I was clueless but regurgitated the only Fante left in me, “_Bokoo, Wo fro ra den Kase_.” Either impressed or immensely disappointed they took off again with dreadfully long and foreign statements. After several more laughs Auntie Mary finally spoke to me in English again. “My daughter would like to marry you. This would be very good.”
Not again. This is a challenging statement to respond to. Humor in this situation does not work well; they ask why you made a joke out of the proposal. I say yes; marriage. I say no; I am perceived as rude. Once I was asked, “What do you see that is wrong with my daughter?” Smartly I said, “Well I don’t really know her.” She said, “Hah! But you will get to know her. Now tell me for real. Why not?”
So I stood there thinking hard. A brilliant idea crashed across me like a wave. “She is beautiful and I would love to. BUT I am already engaged to be married in the United States.” I thought this would end the whole ordeal. It didn’t.
Auntie Mary fired at me again, “But don’t you see,” she paused took a deep breath before continuing, “she is far away in the United States and we are here in Ghana. This is still good.” She motioned to her daughter. Auntie Mary and her daughter’s face were expressionless as a pizza box. I was shaking in my boots. I thanked them for their generous offer and fled for my life.
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Read more about Knochenhauer’s travels at landofthegoats.blogspot.com/