Gamao…Again?

(Emmanuel Saint-Ange is made a chief of the Asona clan)

On Day 20, MPAGErs returned to the Gamoa community. Earlier in the trip students went to Gamoa and were initiated into clans in a grand ceremony that involved the chiefs, queen mothers, and the whole community. On this visit, students came back to their new families and learned about their customs, history, and day-to-day lives.

Returning to Gomoa East was an unforgettable experience. We began with meeting the paramount queen mother of the Gamoa community. She hosted us in her palace and taught us more about her life and daily activities. Nana (queen in twi) was a queen mother since the age of 12. She inherited the throne from her grandmother and has served the Gamao people for 30 years. She outlined to us her strict lifestyle that she had to follow as royalty, which includes shaving her hair and leading a modest lifestyle.

(Paramount queen mother and her linguist address MPAGErs in her palace)

The village believes that the ancestors choose who should be the queen mother. During our conversation, people continually interrupted to seek guidance from their queen. Queen mother is no empty title; I witnessed the realness with my own eyes.

After our conversation, we toured the community. In the midst of all this, I snuck away and found my family, the Asona clan, and met my chief and queen mother. They took me to our house, gave me a new name, and crowned me as a chief. He said the ancestors told him to choose me. He then told me that I could have all the land I want and become chief if I ever returned.

(Children on Gamao community look on as Emmanuel is enthroned)

This was the greatest feeling I had. Since coming to Ghana it has really felt like coming home. Ghanaians have given us the warmest welcome our 3entire journey. When we first came, two Ghanaians told us that this was our real home and while we were still in America, they were taking care of the land until we come back. The statement was only words, but the sentiment is shown everyday. Ghana and Gamao specifically will always be a part of my heart.

Written by Emmanuel Saint-Ange

July 26, 2012, Cape Coast, Ghana

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