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My Grandma Is Not A Witch   
 
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13-Sep-2011  
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Madam Boekuor Fiadzigbe
 
 
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Madam Boekuor Fiadzigbe or Maama, as we affectionately call her, is my grandmother. I lived with her in Mamobi, Accra, until my parents, who were in the States, came for me when I was ten.

I am now a first year Engineering student in Manhattan College in New York City. I credit this to Maama. She always makes sure we did our homework and read. Having raised my dad to become a graduate of KNUST, she knew the value of education, even though she never had the privilege of going to school.

My memories and time with my grandmother in Ghana as a child are some of the most treasured moments of my life. She was tender, protective and very loving. She used to cook the best ‘waache’ in the world. I think she is the best cook. On Sundays, I always enjoyed the walk with Maama to the E. P. church near the Kotobabi police Station. Whatever I wanted grandma gave me. The truth is that she is just a naturally generous, kind and giving person.

For the past three years, Maama developed the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. She became forgetful and would complain that she had not eaten a few minutes after a meal. She developed the classic symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, such as wandering off and getting lost. Old age has taken a toll on her keen and intelligent mind. The family had to keep an eye on her every movement.

A few days ago, my daddy told me Maama was lost and the entire family was combing the streets of Accra looking for her. My heart sank. I did not want anything to happen to my grandmother. I love her more than life itself. I counted the hours and waited for news. I prayed that God would lead some Good Samaritan to bring grandma home. A place of kind, God-fearing people is the Ghana that I remember from my childhood, so that gave me a lot of hope that Maama would be found alive and well. There was no doubt in my mind. No one would hurt grandma.

The sweet news came when my dad called and informed me that Maama had been found. However, the news came with shocking surprise. A crowd of people had tortured and thrown stones at my grandmother, almost lynching her. They accused her of being a witch! I was horrified!

I could not believe it. This is not the Ghana that I remember, this is not the warm, kind and friendly place where I honed my soccer skills. My heart ached, the tears fell, I could not understand why on earth somebody would want to hurt this beautiful soul. No matter how I tried, I could not make any meaning out of it.

Is it a crime to be old in Ghana? Is it a sin to develop Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease? Has my Ghana changed this much? Considering how much I brag about the land of my birth, I don’t want to tell my friends here that it is people in Ghana that would attack an innocent, lost old lady.
I thought Ghana was the most peaceful country in Africa. I hate for my friends to see my Ghana as a land of barbaric, ignorant people who would attack a sick old woman. No! I detest having my American friends see Ghana as a place where there is no compassion and love, where the days of the Good Samaritan are over. My heart is heavy and my hope in the human spirit is battered.

When I saw the news article of the wicked accusations and attack of my grandmother, my initial response was to wish those who attacked my sick and helpless grandmother a taste of their own medicine. I wanted to wish that some old member of their family that they love very much would go through the same ordeal.

I wanted to pray that when they grow old they get dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and lose their memories and faculties, and wander away from home. I wanted to wish that some superstitious and ignorant crowd would surround them, torture them to confess they are witches and throw rocks at them.

But I cannot wish them that, Maama would never approve it. She is a true Christian and she raised me loving and forgiving people. She would want me to forgive them for they know not what they do. She would want me to grow stronger and wiser from the whole ordeal. She would want me to know that it is not how long we pray, it is not how fat our offering is in church or the mosque, it is not how long we fast, it is how we treat the least among us.

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‘FLYING WITCH’ CRASHES ON CLIFF


woman in her eighties, suspected of being a witch, was found naked yesterday, in the middle of heaped stones at the Military Dogs Training School compound in Accra, by some soldiers who were on their daily patrol duties.

According to the soldiers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, they reported for work only to find to their surprise that a woman, well advanced in age, lying helplessly between two heaps of stones at about 7:00 a.m.
 





According to the military officers, they carried and laid her by the roadside, and later reported the case to the Airport Police Station, but the men and women in black (police) refused to have anything to do with the woman.

The spokesman for the soldiers on duty added that they had never seen her in the area before, and could not explain how she managed to get into the yard through the security wall, to get to where she was lying.

The woman, who appeared to understand many Ghanaian dialects, told The Chronicle that she was a native of Sokpoe Sogakope in the Volta Region, and lives with her family between Maamobi and Nima. She gave her name as Buokuor Fiadzigbe, and mentioned one of her daughters as Adiza.

She alleged that she was in a company of witches numbering 15, operating from Nima to a place “where only God knows”, when she came crashing to the ground.

When the The chronicle visited the scene at 10:0 am, the woman could neither sit upright nor walk, and there were bruises all over her body. She was somehow angry that people had surrounded her.

The Red Cross officials came to the scene, dressed her up, and took her to the Airport Police Station, but policemen and women on duty refused to take her particulars, or to help identify her relatives.

One Red Cross official, who did not also mentioned his name, took Madam Fiadziagbe to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital. Unfortunately, here too, the Medical Assistant on duty, Achnoo Kofi Warlasi refused to admit the hapless woman. “

“The days of the Good Samaritan are over. Those were Bible days, now we are in Ghana. There is nothing I can do to help. Take her elsewhere,” he virtually screamed on us.

According to the Medical Assistant, the woman was not mentally ill and that the hospital only takes care of people who are mentally unstable. In his opinion, the old lady had no mental challenges. Her injuries, he pointed out, were physical and, therefore, asked the Red Cross personnel to take her to a different hospital.

The woman appeared very weak. She could barely talk nor eat. All she demanded was water.

The Red Cross official drove her to the Mamobi Poly Clinic. Here too, nurses on duty as well as a doctor sighted by The Chronicle, refused to attend to her. Their contention was that they needed police extract before they could attend to her.

The Red Cross official then drove the woman to the Kotobabi Police station, which was a short distance from the hospital. But the police for the second time disappointed the Good Samaritan. They refused to take charge of the poor old woman. They were rather very angry that the woman was brought to the station.

One callous police officer suggested to the Good Samaritan to drop the poor woman by the roadside on his way back, adding that a man in his 80s was once brought to them but there was little they could to assist him.

He said they took him to the hospital but the medical practitioners at the time refused to admit him, so they left him to his fate to die. When he passed away, they took the body to the mortuary.
 
Source: Selasi Fiadzigbe Manhattan College, School of Engineering. New York, NY, USA/The Chronicle
 
 

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