CHRISTIN BOLEWSKI
constructed passage

Original place

All the places where most of the people are staying now - that is not there original place. They came from a place somewhere else before there modern place now. And before people move from one place to another, there might be something wrong! They can`t just move, because they want to move, there might be something! Sometimes there are enemies, maybe there are some people around, who always attack - I mean, fight with them - sometimes that`s the reason to go away from that area.

And onother reason is that they maybe don`t have good water - I mean to drink. Maybe they don`t have a river near them, that they can use as their source of drinking and for the house use, so they try to go away. Another reason can be that they don`t have a good land to farm on. And then there can also be wild animals. If there are some wild animals which come to town to destroy things...

Because of all the things, they may plan to move from where they are to another place. So this makes people move from place to place.

Send out spies

Before people move to another place, when these things are happening, they send some people to go around and look for a suitable place. They send out spies. They make them aware of those things, so when they go, they have to make sure, those troubles are not there. So when they go and then they get a very suitable place, a nice place, they come back and they inform the elders of the town.

Then they go and maybe perform some rights which they think they have to perform. After performing this rights then they start to move one by one to that town. But the first person that is to move to the new place - I mean, the place is a forrest. So the first person is to go there just to weat a very small place where maybe he can have his single room or double room and then staying for start coming...

The first person is going to die

So the first person to move there, they believe, this first person is going to die. This is there believe. Or they take it as the land is going to use that fist person as a sacrifice. This is there believe. So because of that, they look into the town around and then they get an old, very, very old person to go there first. Because they think that he has already got near to his death, so he should go there first.

So he goes there, and then prepare this and maybe settle there for a week or two or a month, before they start to move to join him. And as their believe doesn´t come like that, sometimes people even die and they leave....that hope? ...but still they do practise this custom.

Gathering place

So that´s how they do with a new settlement. And in our towns, our villages we have a place where our people gather. If there is a message for the whole town, or the chief wants to meet the whole town not in his palace, we have a bigger place, where people gather. So before they get this place, when they get the new land, and everybody has agreed, I mean to move to that place, then they weat a very small portion and then plant a tree there to signify: "That`s a gathering place"

That tree will grow a very, very big tree and have a very big shade of which under they can sit, so that they rest under the sheets. This is what they use as a gathering point for the whole town.

Ampenij

That´s the way people move from a place to another place and this is how they settle - the oldest person goes first for the rest. So it means all those people who are settled in their places now, this are not there original places that they come from!

The same thing has happened to this village Ampenij. They also came from somewhere to settle here. Unfortunately I cannot tell the exact thing that causes them to move from their old place. But I believe after all that I said, it might be one of that reason, because of leaving there. I tried to find out from about four different old members, they were not able to tell....

Old stories

Because the life of today they don`t want to sit down and listen to our great grandfathers or mothers. In earlier times - when after eating the grandmother or grandfather ...- you will sit down with them and then she or he will start to tell old, old stories. So before they die, you know the old, old things and you will also pass it to your children, but now...! It`s the modern way.

Ampenij II

So they came somewhere from Techimen, that`s in the Ashanti region near Kumasi. Somewhere there! At the beginning all the people, they are from another place all together. I mean the whole Ghana community is from somewhere else up to Sudan and Mali. We passed through all these places. So we have some old Empires, the Sudan Empire, the Mali Empire, the Ghana Empire, we passed through all this Empries arriving here today!

And some people take the lead for others to follow them. From Techimen they were looking for a new place to settle. And you can imagine from that far near Kumasi up to here, that time they didn`t have things of transport, they only walked and they walked for 4,5,6 weeks, or 1 month without getting tired. When they went away they only took along their food and some small things. Now I can`t even walk from here to Accra nearby, but they, they did! Because that was their time. But now we are moving to a modern system. When the things of transport are there, why should I walk by myself....

A good place to settle

When they sent out spies to look for a very new place, they move around a lot and then when they reached here, they found out that here it`s a very good place. So you have the sea, ... they can have their fishing and then the land - you can use it for farming and then we have a river here in the back, that they can use as a source of water. So they feel that here is a very good place for them to settle.

Fetish priest

They went and told the eldest about the place that they have found. This eldest - in every town they have a fetish priest! A fetish priest is a person who is the mediator or betweener between the gods and the people. They can hear from the gods and then translate it to the people.

So after informing the eldest, the eldest also have to inform the fetish priest about the new place. And he has to go there and then ask - we believe that there are gods on every land, every place, that`s what we believe! We believe in the all mighty god and we believe in the small gods! We think they are messangers - god passes messanges through them to us. So we believe that there are gods in all the lands.

Asking the gods

So this fetish priest will come to a new place and then ask the gods which are on the land, that they want to come and settle here with them if the gods allow and agree. Maybe the gods will say "No", we don`t want you to come and stay here with us, because when you come , you are maybe disturbing our peace - or this and this... So we don`t want anybody to come and stay with us. Or they can say: "Oh yes" you can come and we agree, you can come and stay with us. But we have some laws, which if you can agree with this laws, then you can stay with us!

Punishment

So that`s what happened here - when the fetish priest came, the gods accepted them, "no problem", you can stay with us, but here are our laws: You can do this, you can do this, this you have to do andthis you have to do... If you agree, then you can stay with us. But if you agree and you don`t act according to our laws, then we are going to punish you!
And their punishment is in different ways: Sometimes they can punish you with some sickness, illness. Some deseases will come to all of the town, the people will be sick, a lot of things will happen. And sometimes they can make some enemies to come and then attack you. So they have so many ways of punishing people....

Ampenij III

When the fetish priest went back, he told the eldest: "I went and consulted the gods. This is what they said: They said a lot, but the most important one is, that they said this and this and this... The people will say "ok, we agree to do what they said, so we shall stay with them"
As I already said, you ask the oldest person to come here first to settle before the rest start to come...

Chiefs and gods

So one of the laws which we are talking about is, they told them: "We as gods we have a special day." Here in Ampenij we have a - we call it a tradtitional area, Ampenij is not alone. Ampenij, Kommenda, Elmina, there are some other places which came together to form one traditional area. And they have a traditional chief. A traditional head chief and they have some sub-chiefs, that`s the chief of Ampenij, the chief of this place...there are some chiefs. But they have one chief who takes controll of the whole traditional area.

The whole traditional area, the gods that are all here, they come together one day and have meetings. They think about the land, how to protect the land. And then the people who are living on the land have to protect them. So they become their people to protect them! If maybe a desease is coming or something is coming... - how to block that desease not to come into the town? So they also have their meetings to think of all this things and then everybody has his part to play. You, you have to do this! You have to do this! The gods are just like human beeings, but you can`t see them.

Gods meet on tuesdays

The day the gods have their meetings is on tuesday. And this tuesday they start their meeting early in the morning - very, very early in the morning and at least up to twelve o`clock, then their meeting is over. And during their meeting they don`t want any disturbance at all. It´s just like how we are sitting here talking and then people around are shouting, singing...I mean, you can`t hear anything! It disturbs a lot. So the gods don`t want any disturbances, especially drumming!

Music is part of their life, it moves them: It`s the music that moves them. So if you want to invoke this gods to come here now, you can not do that unless you use music. Playing their rythm, music and then with some chanting and then their spirit is coming. It`s music that moves them.

So what they hear mostly is the drumming, I mean it get`s into them very, very much! So at the meeting, if you are maybe playing drums, you can see them dancing - no one will hear to what is happening anymore, so you are going to interrupt the whole meeting. So the gods said: "No" Until their meeting is finished at twelve o`clock anything at all you want to do, you can`t do it- So they said: "no problem"
So the people from the village agreed to the gods and said: "No problem" - then the gods allowed them to come and settle here.

Don´t drum on tuesdays!

When the people came here, this was one of the serious laws. So the people have to tell their children:"Here you don`t drum on tuesday - it is up to twelve o`clock! If you do that, this is what is going to happen or not!" So they informed their children, and their children also informed their children... That`s how it is up to this time! So for short, this is the reason why we don`t drum here on tuesdays!

Someone takes the lead

In Elmina, Ampenij - at all this places there might be someone who has to take the lead. Somebody moves first to the place and then someone also comes in later. So if you are staying here for example you are the first here and then another person get´s near you there, because he also want to settle here. You say:"Oh, no problem" There is a place where you can stay. And then if that person stays there, you will say to him: "This are the laws of the gods here." - So then he has to agree with the laws.

Elmina and Kommenda they are old, old settlements in this traditional area. All this places where just bush, so when the people came to ask for the place, they offered them this and then they also settled here. So this is how it is!

If you take the chance to settle here, then you are under Elmina. So Ampenij goes under Elmina. When people are coming to settle here, They have to ask permission before. If the Elmina chief allows them - they can settle here!

Rebuilding the whole community

Even at the very, very old beginning not all the people moved together, not all the people! Maybe I feel this place is "ok" for me and the whole village wants to move. But I alone feel I can stay - I can be with the wild animals - when the others are leaving, I only say "Goodbye" and they go... And I can stay there with my wife and give birth to a child and the family starts to spread again... So you rebuilt the whole community again.

The place where the people of the village came from, there are still some others there. Sometimes people have this link, they know where they came from: "Some of our people are still there!" They still have that relationship. If they have their annual festival here, they invite people from there: "Tomorrow is our annual festival, so we invite you to come and join us". Because they still want this relation.

Nowadays

The life of today! A family can feel to move and they are doing it. But what they do is, they don´t actually plan to move or to leave the place totally. But as I am in the village and I like farming, I look for a very big, fertile land to farm. Maybe I get a land somewhere in Takoradi - when I go there, I first go alone! And then I have a very big farm, then I make a small village to stay in. Everyday or every weekend I have to come home to the old village to my family. So if I see the travel is to much for me, what I do is to take my family with me and settle there. When we are there, maybe after one month or one year the others come and see our village... So this is how it begins sometimes nowadays.

Perhaps my uncle stays at a good place - I also want to go and see if he can get me a land to farm. Then I also move there to my uncle and later I also stay there with my family... This is how it is!

Money, money!

At first not, but now we have to! Because now a lot of things have changed. People come and then, if I am the first person here, I will try to cut a very big land to myself. So if everybody wants to come here, they have to pay me something for it. Now everything has become money! Money, Money! So now you have to buy or you have to rent the land! You can rent it every month or every year - you pay something for it. And when you want to leave, its not yours, you leave it and go!

Europeans

We believe the Europeans and the black are all one family. And we want to mix with each other. So it is our whish, I mean the wish of the black people, the Europeans to come and to stay with them. I mean - what is happening here... and we also go and then stay there! So that all can just move! So because of that nowadays when a European wants a land to buy, no problem, it`s free.

You have to marry a black person

If I choose to stay here for the rest of my life and I buy a land here just for me, I can stay as long as I live. But in the case that I die, I have no one to take care of the land anymore, but if I am married, that means the land goes to my wife or my husband. And if you have children, then the land becomes our, because of our children. So maybe it´s just an advice which they give that you make real benefits from the investment you want to make here. If you marry here it benefits you a lot. But if you don´t marry, it means maybe after sometime you want to go. Will you resell the land to somebody, you can sell it, it´s true, you can sell it. "Now I want to move, now I am selling this and go." No one holds you! But in the case you die, the land is free for everybody to use it. It is the chief from where you bought the land, the owner can take back the land

Black and white are brothers

The reason why - now that we need you!
We believe that the African race or the black race - in fact I don´t know! We have been trained in such a way that we have believe in that extended family! So my grandfathers brothers son - we still have that relationship! So we believe the Europeans - our fore-fore-forefathers during the slave trade they were taken from here to European countries and they made them to stay there. And then their children were also born there. They cannot be black like this - maybe some people married the whites. Because of this we believe there are our brothers among them still there. You can not say for sure that this is not one of us! We can not know!

Because of that we see everybody as their roots are coming from Africa. But it depends on the European person - if he or herself believes "I am from Africa - No, I believe I am not from Africa." So if you believe you are from Africa and I start to welcome you to Africa. I invite you to come to Africa and to stay with Africa - since your believe is we are all from Africa - your roots are from Africa - I mean, we feel very, very happy if you come, because we feel you are coming back home. You see! But if your believe tells you "No" I am not an African" - If I invite you to come and stay here for good, you don´t like it.

So because we don`t know who´s roots are from Africa, who`s roots are not from Africa - we try to invite everybody, but it depends on the person him or herself to say "Yes, my roots are here, I am coming back to Africa." So this is the reason why we love everyone!

Other countries

I don`t say that other countries are not good, but you have a very peaceful mind and stay here in Ghana. I think that some of the other countries are very rude. Even if you will need a help, they will not mind. But here in Ghana we respect visitors, tourists, because we don`t want them to go to another country nearby -
In other countries you will miss such nice hospitality, they`ll be rude to you, so you will suffer a lot and say that Africa is rude at all and decide not to go to Africa again. I`m sure that everybody who comes to Ghana, at least when the person goes back, they will remember that Africa is a very nice place.

Mr. Bob`s Lesson Settlement

Original place
Send out spies
The first person is going to die
Gathering place
Ampenij
Old stories
Ampenij II
A good place to settle
Fetish priest
Asking the gods
Punishment
Ampenij III

Chiefs and gods
Gods meet on tuesdays
Don´t drum on tuesdays!
Someone takes the lead
Rebuilding the whole community
Nowadays
Money, money!
Europeans
You have to marry a black person
Black and white are brothers
Other countries