Farm Time

Dear Nii Kpakpo,
Well I promised I was gonna tell you about the time I spent on the farm in Drobo and how yo sister was kinda out of sorts on the farm. Well here it is.

We woke up in the morning all excited even more than Pepsi the guard dog in the house we stayed in, who would snap his jaws at your hands when he was excited, and you have to be careful petting him cos he loved his freedom too much and didn’t fancy being chained to the fence.  We had enjoyed the previous night walk so much that we decided not to call a cab, like typical Accra people will do, but walk to the roadside quite some distance away.

Kpakpo the women made quite a sight on the road in their tight clothes and the way they carried themselves especially the healthy banter and playfulness that they were enjoying just teasing each other and sharing jokes and stories even teasing each other with who farts the most.  Yes any3mi these are down to earth gals happy to talk of the economies of the world in one breath and in the next breath talk crap and go escatological on you in a seamless sugue.

The mobile money guy was so dumbfounded and I noticed, albeit looking pretty uncomfortable, he had the utmost respect for them by the way he attended to their needs. Early morning banana and Hausa koko at the roadside for breakfast, stopping at the market to get some items for cooking food on the farm and getting a taxi and we were on our way to the farm which is on the outskirts of the town.

Kpakpo, honestly the drive reminded me of back in the day when me and my dad will leave mom and my little brothers at home and head out from Korlebu to Abokobi to the farm. These days the traditional farmlands that produced food sold in Accra main have all become residential areas and upper class estates with plush housing. If my dad drove his company car we had to park it somewhere and walk for over an hour sometimes not meeting anybody before we got to the farm.

This journey brought out memories because from where the taxi turned off the main road we just kept driving on a dirt road with dust flying all over and then we just got off it onto a bush path, that you had to look closely to realize was even there, and just kept going. The only assurance as we drove through the bush was that our host had lived in these parts for more than half her life and knew the paths by rote. She reveled us with stories of happenings in the bush and the village as she grew up with her parents and brothers. It was both funny and some very insightful.

There were stories that reminded me of how we have disregarded our traditional family values throwing away the extended family system for the western, leaning towards the nuclear family and as such the disadvantages, especially in the area of support that come with it. The nuclear family system leans more towards self dependence.

Furthermore, other stories also made me realize how some of us were privileged to have been brought up in Accra such that our parents already did the struggle for us and we just had to blend in unlike those from the hinterland who had to come and hustle just to be in Accra.  The stuff some people had to go through make some of the stories we hear of people’s sojourn in Accra sound unbelievably unrealistic. Stories of hunger, desperation, neglect, being taken advantage of and a host of others.

Well we finally got to the village, in the middle of the farm, and met our host’s brother who manages and works the farm. Dude is quite a young man and his outfit for the farm is what caught our attention. HE was dressed in jeans pants a sweatshirt and had a jacket over the whole get up completed by his Wellington boots. Albeit the clothes being quite worn, you’d expect that in the heat of the sun he’d be in just some drab clothes.

So in curiousity I asked what his background was only to discover that he had done a stint in Accra as a driver for a couple of years but realized city life wasn’t cut out for him so he’d gone back to the village to take care of his father’s farms and within a year he won an award as one of the region’s best farmers.

Kpakpo when we got to the farm we realized it is pepper harvest season so he took us to walk through the farm to see its expanse. When we walked into the farm we thought it was just pepper and after a few minutes of being on the farm we realized the pepper was just a small part of the farm which had cocoyams, cassava, plantain and ginger. All these had been grown together on the same land so intelligently and I was told that was the mixed cropping.

Any3mi you should have seen your sister, typical city girl, born and bred, walking through the farm almost on tiptoes like she was on a catwalk dodging yam twines and some twigs. Furthermore as if it was consciously by consent, nobody said anything about animals in the bush like snakes otherwise..

Thank God she wasn’t in heels too..

Nii Kpakpo Thompson the best part of the day spent in the farm was the cooking part. Whilst inspecting the portion of the farm the women were picking some on the pepper, uprooted  few (coco)yams and then cassava, plucked some okra too and then brought it all together for a typical village meal having already brought salt, fried fish and oil from the market.

Wow! As my mother’s son who lives in Kumasi always keeps reiterating to anybody who will listen that “in the village your only ATM is your cutlass, just get into your farm and yo meal is set.. ”
He is so right and I never thought of it till I saw it first hand especially after the farmer with flair and finesse caught a cockerel to go with the meal.

From the moment he brought in his lure of corn and started making sounds to attract the fowls on the farm to come eat, till the moment he caught the one fowl he wanted, lasted exactly one minute.

Kpakpo I don’t know what came over me but I recorded the whole process and please remind me to play it to you when I see you. It is amazing.

On the farm we had to use what was around to get comfy and this included a bed of banana leaves for which the gals lay on intermittently and fell asleep on after the heavy meal of fufu and soup. This was placed under the shade of the trees and the breeze was amazing. Apart from the constant buzzing of the insects and flies and the constant presence of the animals especially  the ever stubborn curious pigs just oinking around and eating dirt everywhere.

Well Kpakpo that’s our day on the farm and with the dusty roads we all got back with our stomachs full and our hair dyed brown from dust and me wheezing from the dust allergies. But it was a good day well spent.

After a couple of hours we were on the road back to Techiman to travel further on to Tamale. Your sister truly had a farmland experience and I will definitely show the pictures to her dad when I come visit during the holidays.

Nii Kpakpo it was a weekend well spent and I can say she enjoyed her birthday this year. I’m just happy I was a part of it and she deserves it.

See you when I come for holidays and we should definitely plan something.

Till then I still remain
Your Cousin in Law
Savannah Boy


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