My ”Mama”

My older sister and I have been blessed with the gift of love that exuded from my paternal auntie’s heart. Mama as we affectionately called her was a generous woman-not only to my sister and me, but to all who came into contact with her. She was a busy entrepreneur who had her own small kiosk in the central business hub of Katamamto in Accra.

Mama was exceptionally good at cooking, making the best mouthwatering Ghanaian dishes and our joy every school day was to have her pack lunch for. Despite her busy life, she somewhat found the time and energy to magically make us fresh food daily. Her food was always quickly made ad yet delicious. Our home was always a haven for family, neighbours and even strangers alike.

Mama considered my sister and me as her treasures-her rare gems that she protected and loved unconditionally. She understood the power and impact of words and found a way to always magnify us. I can almost hear her high-pitched and booming infectious laughter talking to one of her market women friends.

“Well, as for my nieces they are nwurabafo, they love school and I recently bought a few books for them to read”.

She would say with an air of pride.

Ewuraba is the Twi word for lady and nwurabafo is the plural form.

She never missed an opportunity to pamper us -like the time my sister topped her class at the end of year examinations, she carried her back, tying her securely with a cover cloth, not caring what our neighbours thought. The few who were bold enough to tell her she was overdoing things received the “look” from her.

She would embrace us and bury us in her bosom, never letting us go till we were out of breath and giggling our hearts out. This became our bedtime ritual.

One evening, our Mama was late coming home. We waited patiently, then impatiently as we heard the news anchor’s voice reading the 7 o’clock news on our black and white TV we were privileged to have. I grew restless and my poor sister had run out of excuses to give me for our Mama’s lateness our hearts ached for her, this was the first time she had been gone to the market for that long a time. Unable to wait any longer, we pleaded with my older cousin who was watching us allow us to wait outside for our dearest aunt. She yielded. We found an old, partially broken bench and placed it at the entrance of our door. Sitting on the bench, I placed my head on my sister’s lap as she also put her head on my back. We formed our own layer of protection, comfort and warmth. We could hear the annoying buzz of mosquitoes in our ears.

I can’t recall how long we waited, but long enough for us to have dozed off. We awoke to the gentle tap on our shoulders and the welcoming smile of Mama beaming at us. With joy she threw her arms around us, neither questioning or chastising us, she knew all the answers -we loved her just as much as she loved us. It was mutual!

It’s been ten years now since my dear Mama passed away, but her memories are so fresh in my heart and I miss her so desperately. I celebrate and cherish her gift of love and devotion to my sister and me and recognise that the few years spent with her have become a foundation of our success.

15 thoughts on “My ”Mama”

  1. You have found excellent images to illustrate the power of Mama. I especially loved this: “Sitting on the bench, I placed my head on my sister’s lap as she also put her head on my back. We formed our own layer of protection, comfort and warmth.” I know exactly how you were sitting, and I love how you turned it into something deeper that is both literal and figurative.

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  2. What beautiful memories you have of your Mama. Your words allowed me to feel just how much love was shared between you. I especially loved the part where you and your sister formed a layer of protection for one another. Thank you for sharing and I’m so sorry for you loss.

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  3. This is such a beautiful piece of writing. I hope you will share it with your sister, and other relatives who loved your Mama. My favorite phrase is when you say ‘she always magnified us.’ What a great thing! I can truly imagine that your years with her unconditional love and pride and support really did give you a foundation for success. I hope you might write others memories like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a beautiful tribute to your Mama. How wonderful to know that you were treasure to her and that the enrichment was reciprocal. Your descriptions painted such a vivid picture of Mama and her impact on your life. I loved these words: “She understood the power and impact of words and found a way to always magnify us. ” Lovely, tender piece of writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “…we were out of breath and giggling our hearts out. This became our bedtime ritual.”

    What an awesome bedtime ritual! Your mama was clearly special. And as they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember that night too well. This beautiful piece described the scene too clearly. We were extremely blessed to have her. Mama’s love for us was extremely strong and amazing. May her soul rest in peace.

    Liked by 1 person

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