Our Heroines: A short story of Isha

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Two weeks ago, I had the rare opportunity of mounting the same platform with other distinguished Ghanaian Moslems, including Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of the Republic, to receive an award as the “HEALTH PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR" during the 2017 edition of the GMAA.

My mum is not on Facebook and will never read this nor see this post. But I have always told her how much I love her. Despite this, I still found it worthwhile to celebrate her on this platform.

Even though her education was cut short by the marriage to my Dad, she was the first to teach me how to write 1 to 10. I recall vividly the difficulty in writing the number "2". She was a disciplinarian but also protective.

As a teenager with a promising future, her educational career was cut short when her Dad appealed to her to marry my late father. As a sign of respect, she obliged and married my Dad, who was far older than her. In fact, he had a wife with children who were older than her except one or two. This marriage was necessitated by the ego of my Grandpa. He felt slighted by comment made by a man whose daughter had been betrothed to my late Dad.

Oral narratives, suggest that my Dad, had spent so much on this family. My grandpa was a good friend of my Dad and had led him to complete the formalities for the marriage. Astonishingly, the would-be father- in-law to my Dad refused. He dared my Grandpa to rather marry off his daughter, since she was also a female. Angrily, my Grandpa proceeded home, to appeal to his only daughter who was 16 years and was said to be performing well in school. She respectfully agreed to marry a man who was qualified to be her father. All my half-siblings, but one, were older than her.

During her first pregnancy, she vividly recalled how she had to walk through the thick forest of the area (it has become Teshie Nungua and GREDA estates). She fed on mangoes from the trees. She lost the baby on the outdooring day. Her attention was drawn to the fact that her baby had ceased breathing amidst the drumming and dancing of the ceremony. She often attributes this to her apparent naivety and poor nutrition during the pregnancy.

But, she later had 4 of us: Amina, Hadi, Bala and Kisu. We lost our Dad in November 1987. I was in class 4. Bala was a neonate. Amina stopped schooling. This same year, our roof was ripped off by a rainstorm and Amina had a tibia Fracture which went unnoticed for quite some time till she couldn't walk again. I recall a herbalist who visited several times to make scarification marks on her leg. He claimed she had stepped on a voodoo.

Eventually, my mum abandoned this ineffective treatment and asked that she be sent to 37 military hospital, where the diagnosis was eventually made and her leg put in Cast. Barikisu went to stay with my Grandmother whiles I went to Lashibi to acquire islamic knowledge from a scholar. Whiles there, I had a terrible illness and went into coma. I was admitted at the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital, Medical block for about 1 month. My mum, had to shuttle between I and Amina. She had to raise funds to re-roof the house. 1987, was a difficult year for us.

I returned home from the hospital. My mum had to sell anything including her cloth to sustain the family. She sold waakye, rice, wheat and rice balls. On Weekends, she went to Lome to purchase items to come and sell.

We survived this turbulent period but Amina could not continue with her education. She is the most intelligent of the four. Despite this setback, she can still read and write better than many SHS graduate. Her daughter, Rehana was promoted from Class 6 to JHS 2 where she continued to dominate even her seniors.

One of the smartest girl I have ever met in my life. Today, Bala and Kisu hold Bachelor degrees in communication and Banking respectively. Our mum's sacrifices paid off. She has never asked for a favour from me. She occasionally will give me coins to get a taxi when i visit her without a car. In such circumstances, she insists, even when I remind her that i have enough money on me.

My mum is just one of many widows or single mothers in our Zongos and inner cities. They are very hardworking, protective and extremely caring.

She may never see this post, but i decided to share this because i know there are many mothers going through her experiences today.

We must honour our mothers 4 times that of our fathers (This is a sunnah of Prophet Mohammed [pbuh]).

Thank you Hajia Isha, Hadia Asantewaa (my mother-in-law), who went through similar experience, Suad (my beautiful very protective wife), Amina, Kisu, Samira Y and S-Y, Yvonne, Aunt Alice, Hajia Mariam Duweijuah of blessed memory, Mrs Feilicia Odai, my JHS teacher who had to pay my fees on several occasions and all mothers who are trying to give a better future to their kids.