HAD I KNOWN…
At the age of 17, Ama Serwaa had already had three abortions to the surprise of her siblings and class mates who were in the same school within the vicinity.
Ama, as she was affectionately called, was not bothered by this fact even though for many of her friends in the school it was not a palatable story to write home about. To the surprise of everyone, Ama kept boasting to some of her female colleagues who she described as “too green” when it comes to matured life in the world of sexy people of today.
Indeed, Ama’s behaviour was difficult to explain by anyone who was closely associated with her family, seeing that members of her family came from a disciplined christian background. One of her cousins, Yaa Mireku, born two years earlier than her, had lived with an uncle in a nearby town for about two years before coming back to join Ama Serwaa’s family and lived with them.
Ama Serwaa’s uncle was one Kwaku Gyasi, a no-nonsense person, who did not compromise on issues whenever it came to disciplining children. His total life as an adult had been characterised by honesty and rigid discipline. It, therefore, came as no surprise when Yaa Mireku ended up as a disciplined young lady in her community.
Yaa Mireku was the type of person who was very friendly to everyone in the community including all the young men but was very careful not to engage in any form of amorous relationship with them. Her father, the late Opanin Kuntor, had been very strict on her and warned her several times to keep away from men who might entice her with all kinds of gifts to misbehave in society.
Opanin Kuntor was the type of person who did not joke with his christian life. Though very strict, he was very jovial with children and sometimes behaved as if Yaa Mireku was his age mate. Many people admired Opanin Kuntor for this. As a person, his policy was “Do not spare the rod to spoil the child, but show respect to him as if he is your co-equal”. This made him different from other adults who were over-strict but sometimes unreasonable with showing care of tenderness to children under their control.
Yaa Mireku proved to be a very good girl and was the talk of the town. It, therefore, came as no surprise when at the age of 24 her hand was asked in marriage to the admiration of all. The marriage ceremony took a traditional form and received blessings from a pastor of the Presbyterian Church attended by herself and her grandmother.
Black spot in the family
In contrast to Yaa Mireku who happened to be a very good girl, Ama Serwaa proved to be a black spot in the family and continued as usual with different men who came her way. For her, the most important thing in life was acquisition of assets and properties which, she believed, could make her happy to live a good life.
Ama’s behaviour, as unpleasant as it was to people, proved detestable to well-trained female colleagues in the town. What was more surprising was her readiness to fight any of her colleagues who offered to give her good advice on the need to change for the better, “Mind your own business; we are different and, therefore, have different interests and tastes,” Ama would warn them.
With time, she became known as “we have different tastes.” By this, she meant that, one man’s meat was another man’s poison. If this is the case, she thought, then there was no need to scold her.
Ama Serwaa’s grandfather was a pastor in the Pentecost Church whose pleasant demeanour appealed to anyone he came in contact with. The children who came to stay with him grew to be good ambassadors and of good character. Having stayed with this uncle for about half a year, Ama Serwaa could not cope with the discipline required of her and, therefore, falsified stories about this noble man who she even described one time as a rapist. Many people did not believe her but others felt that some categories of men, no matter their seemingly piety, could attempt such rape cases on young and beautiful women who could easily be described as “juicy sweet sixteen”.
One day, Ama Serwaa brought an unknown young man to her parents in the community and introduced him as someone she would want to marry. Her parents could not believe their eyes and advised her to wait for some time before getting into marriage, but more as they advised, little was Ama prepared to listen.
AIDS and COVID-19
At a point in time, Ama left her neighbourhood to live with this strange man in a nearby town. Six months after taking this decision, Ama Serwaa became pregnant and wanted to abort it again but, tried as she did, she could not abort it this time. Unknown to her, Ama Serwaa had started developing some complications in her body due to her past sexual life. It came as no surprise when the village was informed that she had contracted AIDS.
Diagnosis on her showed that apart from AIDS she had contracted the COVID-19 disease also. Obviously, this was equivalent to “Two troubles, one God”, an expression used by people to indicate a situation where one person experiences double agonies.
Her relations did what they could to save her life but after nearly one year, having spent all they had, lost her to the icy-cold hands of death. In other words, death laid its icy hands on her.
Before her death, she confessed that she had lived a very bad life and pleaded for forgiveness by her family. Her disappointed family looked on helplessly as her condition worsened day by day. Her very last words she uttered just before her death were “Oh! Had I known is always at last”.
After her death, some members of her family came around to bury her in line with the demands of custom but other members, disappointed as they were, kept away from the funeral rites saying that “Na who cause am! It is Ama Serwaa herself who has caused her own death”.
What do you think about this?
It is unfortunate that a situation such as this should arise. Understandably, we can appreciate the concerns of the family members who were disappointed by Ama Serwaa’s deplorable behaviour, but should they pay her back in the same way as she proved to be stubborn when she was alive on this earth?
Don’t you think that it would have been good to forgive Serwaa and actively taken part in her funeral, seeing that she was one of them?
But can you also blame them for their behaviour and the pain they experienced in their hearts?
Your guess is as good as mine.
By Dr Amponsah-Bediako