Last month I travelled to Takoradi to see my brother and his wife and my niece I had not met since birth, it was such a joyous and relaxing time for me. I had been looking forward to the trip ‘forever’. My journey on the OA Express bus was smooth; when we got to the Elmina junction I looked on with nostalgia, I so wanted to alight and go ‘’home’’, those that know me understand why I love Elmina so much, as the bus continued the journey l kept looking at Bronyibima and it was mixed feelings…😌
Anyways today I want to focus on the Elmina as I know it and what it means to me, this is the only hometown I know, forget my James Town Ga lineage. I was born here and I pretty much grew up here. Life here was wake, bath, eat and play! And repeat the cycle, it was that simple. On good days my grandma will lead the pack to Fiampong (farm) to gather firewood, mangoes, oranges and coconuts; this is the reason I don’t like buying coconuts at premium price here in Accra, I mean a whole 3ghc !!!but then again the Fiampong I knew is not what it is today. The last time I drove by I literally didn’t see any coconut trees, only houses occupied their space so I guess the 3ghc is justified….👍
In Elmina, we don’t celebrate Christmas, this is not in literal terms though but we looked forward to Edina Bronya, its usually observed in the New year and in many households just like mine, relatives would travel from far and beyond to observe this day. In my house, there’s usually lot of cooking some of which will be sent to Abusua Padoo (family house) for the elderly there and some traditional rites are performed. Parties are common in most homes and by the way everyone knew everyone, can’t say same for today.
My Elmina also saw me at the Our Lady of Apostle (OLA) Boarding school on the hills overlooking the township, being at OLA was one of the best thing that happened to me, anybody who attended a catholic school will attest to this, grooming and discipline was top notch even though I got into ‘troubles’ a lot!! I relish the days of Rev. Sis. Beatrice who will ‘terrorize’ my life; at one time she threatened to expel me and on vacations I will just walk home, sometimes my big cousin Araba would come and escort me and my adventures would begin; there were numerous trips to the fishing port with ‘Uncle’, that’s my grandpa, everyone called him that. The post office errands which usually ended at our favorite newspaper vendor for Daily Graphic, Ghanaian Times and the Insight newspaper. Most often I ‘smuggled’ P&P for myself.
Sunday morning saw all of us rushing to church, we were quite a number at my grandpa’s and you dared not miss the service, the usual question would be, na enko chapel? (are you not going to church?). I am sure most people knew us at the Methodist chapel square and of course my grandpa was not just a member but belonged to a number of groups in the church. I must admit it was fun to going to church even though it was boring sometimes but as long as it gave me the opportunity to leave the four walls of home.
At UCC campus, most of my friends wondered why I read Agric science, the simple truth was that I was living my grandfather’s dreams, my forms were bought and filled on my behalf. Back then he had piggery and a poultry farm right behind the house and of course plantations of coconut and others and so naturally agriculture found me and I loved collecting eggs in the morning, preparing feed which included pounding oyster shells and washing the pigs and this would lead to a fun trip to the seaside for a swim.
On good days, my grandpa will let me go and visit my cousins at Bronyibima, the trip there is solely dependent on my ability to walk and it’s about a kilometer or more away. The fun side is getting to the junction which is the main entry into the village and guess what! There is a cemetery right there, once I get there, I would run through till I got into the township for the fear of ‘’ghosts’ ’chasing me, in my infantile mind they were scary beings or aliens.. 👹 Now that I have grown up I know better.
Elmina holds some nostalgic memories for me and will forever remain special for me, I am going to try and send my kids home often even though practically almost impossible but I do hope that someday they can read this and know how dear Elmina is to me. By the way the next time you find yourself there do well to visit the castle and fort, coconut groove hotel and resort and the European cemetery; they hold lots of history and also look out for the very old buildings with super crazy arts and monuments; hopefully they are being kept for posterity. I guess I need to go back home to ELMINA