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Opinions of Saturday, 24 July 2021

Columnist: Cameron Duodu

I am elated!

Many Ghanaian enjoy good food according to the author Many Ghanaian enjoy good food according to the author

K1- YES, Yes! Koo, I know! I know! It's.....

K2 – What exactly do you know? You wouldn't let me utter a word?
But I know what you would have said if I had allowed...?

What would I have said?

You would have said that it's not exactly modest for me to admit that I am elated....”

But are you elated?

Ahah! Yes! Of course I am!

How come? More importantly, are you casting me in the role of mind-reader? What makes you....?

Ho! You've always claimed you know all my mannerisms, don't you? Are you not the one who is constantly reminding me not to pat the top of my “Tokyo Joe” coiffure every time I am embarrassed? So?...

So you would have concluded from my body language, particularly, from the way I have been smiling broadly since you showed up, that---

You are elated? But I thought this particular smile came to your face on account of the fact that your lost telephone has been found?

But that's not news any longer?

Oh, you grieved over the loss for so long that I expect the triumph to also last a long time!!

Don't flatter yourself! Not in a thousand years would you have been able to guess it this time!

All right. I give up! What are you so elated about?

Koo, yesterday, I ate five fingers of apem plantain …

But you've been eating apem since the day you were born, almost? Didn't you put in a “subscription” for apem at “Kumase Market” branches not only in Brixton, but at Balham and Peckham as well, when you were domiciled in London?

Chale, don't remind me of London.... This is different!

You haven't got over your sojourn in Cornback yet, have you?

I will never get over it! Listen, I'm talking about apem I grew myself! With my own two hands!

Ei? You've become Chief Farmer of Ghana? I didn't know you'd entered the contest, otherwise I would have lobbied for you!

Kai! Enter a contest? Don't you know that many of these contest organizers select the winners before they even announce the contest!

Hahahahaha! So, what about the apem, then?

I looked at the vegetation that was growing near where I live in Accra and I said to myself, “Those geography lessons I was taught in elementary school were full of untruths! They divided Ghana into three – the coast, described as having vegetation consisting of “poor shrub and scrub”; next came the “rain-forest”; and finally, “savannah” or “grassland” in the North. But....

Well, it's largely true, isn't it?

No, it isn't! Maize grows so well in parts of Accra that when you see them, you'd be transported to the Eastern Region, the Central Region or the Western region. Hardly “poor shrub and scrub ”! I have a friend who used to go shotgun-hunting for “hen-sugar-cane” (akokɔhwereɛ or pheasant) in the environs of Kotoka airport in Accra! Yet the geography books would make you think that that bird is a denizen of the rainforest!

The textbooks should be used as a guide only....?

But they should reflect reality!

You have a point!

Ahah! Well, I thought to myself., how nice it would be to eat apem without buying it at two cedis per finger (as I had been told it cost!). So I asked for some bɔɔdewa [the root-stem which forms plantain's “seedlings”, so to speak] to be brought over from Kwaebibirem for me. They were brought and I planted them. All they needed was expert watering...

And they grew?

They did not only grow. They grew beautifully. I couldn't take my eyes off them when the stems became big and strong and the leaves very green and wide. Sometimes, I'd look at them two or three times a day!


Well, it was such a thrill. Then they got to the stage when we say “ahane”! [produced a bunch!] Then the fingers of plantain appeared. And they grew. And grew. And grew! I had to find a stout stick to prop up the stem. Even so, the fingers of plantain were so many and became so well-formed that the stem couldn't stand up straight any longer, propped-up though the stem was. One morning, I woke up to be told that “the plantain has fallen down!”

Did the fingers of plantain break when they fell?

No! Not even one finger broke!” I was told. I was so elated that I had apem for breakfast! (Yummy....yummy!) lunch (even yummier!) and supper (yes, unusually, on that day, I had supper!) Chale, to eat my own home-grown apem, and to find it so succulent, gave me such a thrill.

Must be nice. When are you inviting me to lunch?

But you know you have a standing invitation?

OK, let them make green-green stew. With koobi [salted fish] in it.

You've got it.

Chale, I shall be elaaaaaaaated, just like you! Green- green and apem!

I am taking steps to get some mankan-nni to plant so that the nkontommire for the green-green will also be from cocoyam that I have grown myself!

Koo. You are the man!

Thank you. Koo! As the elders say, “A journey taken in the company of as Brother is sweeter [more enjoyable] than one taken by oneself alone!”