Mamadu Awuni is from Northern Ghana. His village is not even known by his paramount chief neither does his town chief knows about the colour of his unfenced house. Yet their community has only 50 residents! They live in one of the most remote places in Ghana where Kwame Nkrumah never stepped yet declared Ghana independent.
It is usual for the men in that part of the country not to help their women in the kitchen because it is seen more of an abomination than a taboo. Women from that part of Ghana also build the houses their families sleep in with their own hands. The main duty of the man was just to go to war, yes war.
One day, as Mamadu heard the screams of his wife as she brought out their seventh child into the world he was yet to discover, he started to ponder on the challenges in their lives. He realised how mediocre he has been made to believe the place of a man in the home. He asked himself, how can I watch my wife do all of these things while I sit and wonder with my other male friends in the name ‘being a man’? His thought made him sleepless that night as he stared at the thatch roof of the hut they lived in with his hard back separated from the earth by a thin mat. He told himself to make a difference in their community the next morning.
As the moon was being pushed away by the sun and the wretched-looking cocks began to crow, he made his way out of the room and made their compound clean. For the first time in his entire life, he walked into the kitchen to prepare a meal for his recuperating wife who was still in bed due to the push she made the night before. His wife became very furious because she didn’t expect her husband to commit such an abomination, moreover in the morning when the gods are awake. But after listening to the explanation of the husband, she realised that indeed they could do more if they worked together. Sooner than later, they began ploughing their land together and cooking together. They soon realised how they were able to achieve more by putting their effort together.
Few weeks after this their new-found way of love, many men in the community made mockery of Mamadu but he didn’t give up. He held his head high and his wife closer. He later began to educate his friends on the need for people to work together for their community to develop as the nice places they see on the only television in the town at the chief’s palace. In fact, many agreed their lives have improved but pride was killing them. Reluctantly, the men in the village began to help their women one at a time and those who did realised how productive they became.
As the rains came, their village with the least population attracted lots of traders as a result of a bumper harvest. Many of the nearby villages wondered how this was possible and they got to know someone dared to do things differently in the right way. Mamadu had a very good reputation as a result and he started to move to other towns and villages to educate them on the need to work together.
A year and half on, Mamadu is now expecting their eighth child and his wife sits happily under the only tree in the scorching sun on their compound as she watches her husband return from the farm with the other children.
Mamadu has also contacted an NGO to start a school in their village to help educate the children. These and many other things is what has made the chief of his town always come to his house on Saturdays to spend the day with him and also see how they can move their development forward. The paramount chief now grants him personal invitation to their durbar and he honours it with pride.
Today, I sit with Mamadu enjoying some kola nut on a hill which overlooks his village as he shares with me his touching story. So as I chew on this kola nut he offered me, I realised indeed it takes one individual to change the world and just one moment to begin change. Let us learn to be proactive in the building of our beloved nation. Indeed, together we can.
My name is Kotey, good morning.