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Story Collecting Workshop, August 2003

James Culver, Jr. an American children's story author, Rebecca Martin, an American ESL teacher and Alex Bud, a British university student facilitated our first story collecting workshop.

After a formal meeting where objectives were explained, people were invited to come to Aba House at their own convenience to tell their stories. And for the month of August we collected and collected. Now we will edit, organize and re-convene next summer to continue.

The idea is to introduce non-Ghanaians to a unique culture through the words of the people who live in it. We have a story from Esther, a young girl who lives to sing in her church choir and a story from a fetish priest in a remote village... and everything in-between.

Talk True's story (excerpt)

My full name is Patrick Thomas Danyo. I am Wednesday born, that is Kwaku. K-W-A-K-U, but my popular name is Talktrue.

This story is some of my experiences, the hardships and goodships I could tell in the world up to date.

I was born in a countryside village called Kibi, in Eastern Region. My mother and father are coming from Volta Region, from Dzodze, border town. We are many people. I was in the middle. When I was born, the people say okra mouth. Okra mouth is gossip, gossip, when they see certain cases, they talk. I was clever. When I see anything I take the picture.

Because my parents were not educated, we the children don't know about schooling. The hurt we have seen is famine and little, little hunting. There was that going on in our locality, so we are used to that, more than the schooling. We have not seen the improvement in people's lives for us to copy.

There was a certain woman called Ama Duku. She lives in Kibi Mines near Zongo. Ama Duku knows the importance of education. She would come from her house to our house, holding one penny to deceive me. Go. Bathe. Dress up for school, take this penny, she would say. She was too busy to go to school, but she said she was sending me to listen to the teacher and come back to her house to tell her.

I don't know exactly my age at that time. You have to raise up your hand and hold it over over your head on the other side to touch your ears. That would prove you are fit for school. Maybe six years of age.

Ama Duku continued this for some time. If I came from school and she was not in the house, I would wait to tell her what the teacher said. At times, I would say, today I went to school for you.

I was doing this for some time before I got to know, oh-I was not doing this for her. What makes me know the difference is I could see a little neatness in my life. When we go to school, we wash our clothes, our fingernails-they inspect them-and our teeth and hair. At times, too, I would dress up, tell my parents I was going to school, but go to bush instead. The teachers then would come looking for me, come to the house. When I was in school, I was always very good to them, obedient. They always look for me!

By Class Five, I know the improvement in school. I know how school is. I know how to run the school, the activities, and I have friends who come to look for me, to call me in the morning. I always go then. By so doing, I know how to read very well. When the people want someone to read, they come to Talktrue. I was boss of reading.

Progress, progress. I was a hard-working guy...

Talk True and Rebecca

James Culver Jr.

Esther and Angela

Rebecca and Alex