February 24, 2024

Kwame Mainu had succeeded in persuading his long-estranged wife, Comfort, to come back to him and their daughter, Akosua. Comfort flew from Ghana to join him in Coventry and help Akosua prepare for university. They would then return to Ghana to live in Comfort’s house in Nhyiasu, the garden city of Kumasi. The only cloud on Kwame’s horizon was the threat of a multitude of distant relatives demanding help with all their problems.

Lying beside a sleeping Comfort on the night of her arrival, Kwame set himself to count his blessings. He had plenty to count. He recalled how nine years ago in Konongo, Comfort had rejected him because of his poverty, lack of ambition for his family and divided loyalties. Now his situation was transformed. He wasn’t rich but he had enough to maintain his nuclear family and make a contribution to the welfare of his extended family. His ambition was now to care for his family in their homeland while continuing his professional career in service to the local community. His loyalties were indivisibly focussed on his own people. No longer could Comfort taunt him with, ‘Who are your people, oboroni (white man)?’ A mutual respect had grown up between them which on Kwame’s side had never wavered but which he now believed would sustain them to the end.

Life with Comfort in her Garden City home would be beyond his sweetest dreams. With Akosua joining them for five months of the year during her university vacations, and expected visits from Tom, Afriyie and other Warwick friends, he expected to maintain a rich family and social life. He would encourage Akosua to bring friends on vacation visits and Tom had promised to bring Mrs Chichester, Kwame’s long-term landlady.

One class of frequent visitor was inevitable. All his aunts and uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces from Wenchi would make the pilgrimage to Nhyiasu in quest of a cure for all their ills. Kwame planned to build a house for his mother in Wenchi, and with Comfort’s help he would establish his half-sister Adjoa’s shoe trading on a larger and more secure scale. Beyond that he was faced with a dilemma. What should he do to meet his extended family obligations yet prevent an endless flow of supplicants filling his leisure time and overwhelming his resources?

He must consult Comfort on this one. He would be guided by how she handled her own distant relatives, although he realised that they were far fewer in number. Kwame’s mother, Amma, in her lifelong search for the perfect husband had established numerous genetic routes to his exchequer. Even in the days of his modest success as a trolley maker in Suame Magazine he had felt that half of the people of Brong-Ahafo Region had a claim on him. Now, returning with the spoils of aborokyiri he was sure he would become acquainted with the other half.