Category Archives: About

Sandra Amoah

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Sandra Amoah. She is to thank for getting this blog started.

Sandra Amoah’s full name is Sandra Yafi Agyapomaah Amoah. She is thirteen years old and is in the eight grade. She lives in Obuasi, Ghana.

Sandra is the reason this blog exists in the first place.

Sandra made me feel right at home in my new neighborhood. She is a very warm, friendly, intelligent and generous girl, and very eager to learn new things. She places a very high value on education.

Sandra approached me one day and asked if she could be my friend. I of course was very happy to meet new people who wanted to be my friend.

The next day, Sandra and three of her friends paid me a social visit.

Within a few hours, there were no less than 11 children at my house.

Sandra told me she wanted to learn many things. She had never used a camera before and asked me if I would teach her how to take pictures. I did, and she learned very quickly (you can see the photos she and her friends took that day here).

Sandra also told me she wanted to learn how to use a computer and the internet. I told her that I would be happy to teach her and her friends. I told her if she would bring me some stories of her life or other things that she and her friends had written, that I would put them on a blog on the internet, where the whole world could read their stories.

The next day, I was handed over ten hand-written stories, poems, riddles and biographies. I spent the next several hours typing them up and posting them on this blog. That is how this blog was born: from the request of one young girl in Obuasi, Ghana, asking me if I would teach her and her friends how to use a computer and the internet.

Sandra attends the St. Thomas Catholic School. Her first contributions to this blog were short autobiographical pieces, which you can see here and here.

Sandra understands the importance of a good education, and she has big plans. She wants to be either a pilot or a doctor when she grows up! She also wants to help orphans everywhere after she finishes high school.

Sandra has one younger brother named Eugene, who is also a contributor to this blog. Her favorite sport is football. She also helps her mom at home after school.

What is “Kinky Foo-Foo”?

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Practically the first two Ghanaian (Twi) words I heard on arriving here sounded exactly like “Kinky” and “Foo-Foo”. These two words do in fact feature very prominently in the everyday language and culture of Ghana, as they describe two of the three main staple dishes served here in different configurations, as part of nearly every meal. To me, they have also come to signify the quirky and colorful serendipity of this endlessly beautiful land and her people.

“Kinky”, I later learned, is actually spelled “Kenkey” but it is in fact pronounced true to my initial interpretation of the word. For lack of a more precise description, kenkey is a soft, doughy lump of slightly fermented maize, wrapped in plantain leaves. It is sold on every roadside in Ghana for a little more than the equivalent of one US dollar.

“Foo-Foo”, which is more often than not spelled “fufu” is not completely dissimilar to kenkey. Fufu is made by boiling such starchy foods as cassava, yam, plantain or rice, then pounding them into a glutinous mass, usually in a giant, wooden mortar and pestle. And when I say “giant” I do mean GIANT. The pestles used for pounding fufu are about 7 feet tall.

One of the neighborhood children who visited me recently asked if they have the big 7-foot pestles in America for making their fufu. I told him we don’t have foo-foo in America. With a shocked expression, he said, “but you NEED fufu!” Now he feels sorry for you unfortunate Americans because as far as he can tell, you are all malnourished.

About This Blog

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Ghana’s greatest treasure and source of wealth are her children. There are children everywhere in Ghana. For the most part, they are bright, happy, extremely clever, well-mannered and very eager to learn.

The Ghanaian culture places education and literacy – reading and writing – in very high regard. There are a tremendous amount of schools in Ghana. In an effort to overcome the inherent communication barriers of a multilingual country, mastery of the English language is encouraged in Ghana and is also the standard language used for educational instruction. Hand-painted signs saying “SPEAK ENGLISH” can be found on the walls of many of the schools. Many Ghanaians speak three or four African languages. Most of them also speak English.

The adult literacy rate in Ghana is 65%. This is bound to continue to improve, since 83% of Ghanaian children attend school, representing one of the highest enrollment rates in West Africa. Another achievement of distinction for a West African country is the 1.00: 0.96 ratio of girls to boys in Ghana’s schools. In spite of these impressive statistics, around half a million children still remain out of school due to limited resources for building schools, providing textbooks and training new teachers.

This is a collection of stories, poems and autobiographical pieces written by Ghanaian children from Obuasi, a mining town in the heart of Ghana’s Ashanti region. Except in those very rare instances where it has been necessary to add a word for the sake of comprehension, all stories are published here exactly as they have been written by the children themselves.