It was 4:15pm and fufu was ready to be pounded. The year was somewhere in 2002. Fufu was the favourite of the family especially on Sundays. But on this occasion, it was more than special. We were welcoming back my senior brother from the university and the second from the senior high. They had come for the vacation break and that was their first Sunday at home. So we needed to make it special.
The family’s first son would soon be a university graduate; the second son would also move on to the university and I would also go to Senior High. We were all happy at the steady progress of the family. The prospect of a good future looked bright for us.
The whole family had returned from church service and the excitement of the usual family meeting was boiling up. I was still in the Junior High and as the tradition in the family was, all responsibilities rested on me now as the senior most over my two sisters in the home since my two senior brothers would soon leave back to school. I was to do the pounding and I knew very well.
We always preceded our eating of fufu with listening to football commentaries and having our own heated debates. We loved football as a family; myself an active goalkeeper. We were all ardent supporters of Kumasi Asante Kotoko. We were in the middle of our father and sons debate. I was enjoying it and hated inside me the idea that soon I would be called to pound fufu. Lo and behold! My mum called. I got angry, banged the door and shouted at the top of my voice, “I will not do it. Ah! Can’t you do it yourself?”
I knew I would receive some spanking from my mother for the insubordination. She threw the pestle and as smart as I was, I managed to swerve the advancing pestle. Childhood stubbornness! I frowned and began to throw my arms around. My mother’s effort at calling me to give her a helping hand seemed to be falling on deaf ears.
I ran from the house in order to avoid pounding the fufu. I had no where to go. I roamed about in the town aimlesslyand ashamed of my attitude towards my mother. The rest of the family were shocked at my behavior and the sudden turned of event. My brothers took over from me and pounded the fufu. After, they went for a hunting search of mine but their efforts were futile since they could not trace my footsteps. They gave up the search.
My fufu was reserved for me. My brothers had left for their base at Kpone, a community outskirt of the industry city of Tema. I did not return home till 9:30pm when all my accompanying neighbours were withdrawing to their closets. I had no where to go than to return home. My father had slept but my mother refused to utter a word. I refused to eat and went to bed on an empty hungry stomach. The guiltiness of my action would not allow me even take in even a morselof fufu.
Mother cried at the disobedience of her son. She refused to be comforted. Her tears would bring out mine also. I cried for two things; my stubbornness and allowing my mother recount her painful experience with me at child birth. Father is angry, disappointed but restrained in dealing with me. I thought I would be canned but father did the worst than canning.
He told me the gruesome experience my mother went through in delivering me. Goodness! I felt so sorry and broken. He told me how mother out of pain for what I had done recounted to him the suffering she endured birthing me to life. That was the first time mother had poured out such resentment for a son, he told me. Father saw true remorse in me. The tears flowed like a river. Mother should have been round to feel the heat of my body. I was collapsing at hearing this revelation. It was my first time. I went down on my kneels and asked father to apologize for me. “I don’t know what came over. I am truly sorry. Tell mother am sorry and will not repeat such actions again.” He will tell me the whole experience of my child birth.
My mother was due for labour at midnight and there were no vehicles around to transport her to the hospital. Blood was oozing uncontrollably. The only saviour my father thought was the Good Samaritan refused to help at that critical time. My father was seeing my mother gradually leave his hands. She was dying. She was not dying alone but with an unborn child whose future they could not tell. They were the only visitors to the street at that time. Everyone was enjoying the comfort of their beds and their ears could not hear the wailing and crying of a dying pregnant mother.
My father was losing hope but he had to push hard to save the woman she loved so much. The distance to the hospital was far. If they continued to waste time, she would die and if they returned home, she would die. Mother lied on the ground, Father confused and would offer prayers to his ancestors to come to their aid.
A light will shine in their darkest despair. They saw an approaching car. The saviour is here. This driver offered to help and rushed my mother to the hospital. She had lost so much blood that the nurses and doctors wondered if she could make it.
I cried at hearing this. Would I have died? Would I be the person I am today if the unthinkable had happened? The doctor and the nurses made it. Thanks to them for their headwork and God for the miracle. They step out of the labour ward with beaming faces. They needn’t tell my father anything. She has survived and given you a bouncy baby boy; the third straight boy. What a story. Am I a lucky child?
Thank you mother for holding on a little longer for me. You did not give up on me. You defeated death at that moment; you never allowed death to lay its icy hands on you at your dying hour. You shook off the dust of death to see me alive. You held on…, when you were short of blood…you pushed harder when your strength was gone.
You believed in what I will be tomorrow so you kept your fears and shared your tears.
I have not forgotten the boxing spectacles I caused you in the open street of Ashaiman. You hated the idea of me refusing to go to school. You wanted a bright future for me. You held my hands every morning to school. You never mind the punches I threw at you for insisting I go to school, the insults and the embarrassment.
Thank you Sarah Ackah for giving me a dream. For my sake, you refused to say goodbye to the world. You are my heroic and champion of my faith. You are who I am today and will be tomorrow.
I tell the world on this occasion of your tremendous love for me. I love you mother for giving me love. There is no love like that of a mother for a child. So strong is your love. You are my greatest love of all.