Growing Yams in London

Growing Yams in London by Sophia Acheampong

Book: Growing Yams in London by Sophia Acheampong Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sophia Acheampong
days at his house.
    ‘Isaac! Yeah, sure,’ I replied, giving my best fake smile. ‘Ouch,’ I added, as Mum gave me a none too subtle poke in my back, whilst pretending to adjust my ntoma.
    ‘This is his mother,’ Mum said.
    ‘Hello, Auntie,’ I said, almost giving a genuine smile.
    ‘Makeeda,
wo ho te s ε n?

    I don’t believe it. Is it not enough that her evil son made my life hell for three days; she’s still testing my Twi?
    ‘
Me ho y ε ,
Auntie,’ I replied.
    That’s it. My Twi is limited to ‘My name is Makeeda’ and ‘I’m fine’. So this is the point I dread, because I just won’t understand the next question and
it’s unlikely she’ll ask for my name again.
    ‘So how is Isaac?’ Mum asked.
    Saved by my mother! That’s when I switched off and excused myself. I was just about to run and hide, when I literally bumped into Afua.
    ‘Watch it!’ Afua said.
    ‘Like I would intentionally bump into you, Afua,’ I replied.
    ‘I heard you trying to speak Twi.’
    Great! That’s all I need.
    ‘What exactly is an outdooring?’ Delphina interrupted. ‘Kofi says it’s the same as a christening.’
    ‘How come you’re asking me?’ I said suspiciously.
    Kofi was standing three feet away from us and pretending badly that he wasn’t listening to our conversation.
    ‘No reason, I just thought you’d know,’ Delphina said.
    ‘Listen, Makeeda, if you don’t know, I don’t mind explaining it,’ Afua said.
    Ohmigod, why can’t I just hit her and be done with it?
    ‘No thanks, Afua,’ I said angrily. ‘Kofi is right in a way, as it is a naming day. The thing is, we don’t perform this in front of the Christian God, unless we’re
in church,’ I began.
    ‘Makeeda, they’re not going to understand the difference between pagan and Christian rituals!’ Afua interrupted. ‘Listen, all you need to know is that a long time ago,
way before Ghanaian people believed in a Christian or Muslim God, they named their babies and introduced them to the world by holding an outdooring.’
    It’s not fair. Why couldn’t I explain it like that? I looked at my sister, the traitor.
    ‘Oh, OK then,’ Delphina said, smiling.
    ‘Is that it?’ Kofi said, piping up.
    ‘Yes,’ Afua said, allowing a smug grin to crease her face.
    Then I saw it. The look in Delphina’s eye that usually means nothing to anyone else, but I know as ‘I haven’t finished yet’.
    ‘You know, you didn’t really answer my question, Afua. I mean, we still don’t know what the differences between an outdooring and christening are. Thanks anyway though,’
she said.
    Afua stared at her in disbelief, whilst I watched the best little sister in the world run off with her latest sidekick.
    ‘You know, both of you were right,’ said Aunt Grace, from behind us. We both spun round.
    ‘Thank you, Auntie,’ Afua said, almost smiling.
    Great! I can’t even enjoy myself without her spoiling it for me.
    ‘Can you two help me in the kitchen, please?’ Aunt Grace asked.
    ‘Sure, but I have to leave in half an hour,’ Afua replied brightly.
    Even Afua has a decent escape route.
    ‘Something wrong, Makeeda?’ Aunt Grace questioned.
    ‘No, Auntie,’ I replied hastily.
    I spent the next hour helping Aunt Grace, who rewarded me with fried plantain that was sweet, soft and juicy. Unfortunately I had to share it with Delphy and later Tanisha, who arrived with so
many bags of shopping that Dad made us put them in the car before she greeted all the guests. Tanisha was excused from the ceremony because she wasn’t related to Baby Akosua’s
family.
    ‘Ohmigod, the woman is impossible!’ Tanisha moaned.
    ‘Who?’
    ‘Our grandma! She wants me to take some stuff out to Ghana for her.’
    Tanisha was leaving the next day to start her voluntary work in our grandmother’s old village.
    ‘Makeeda, I’ve been all over Oxford Street for the clothes and kitchen utensils, East Street Market for her tights and then Kilburn for her

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