The story that Grandmother told

2 min read
Beatrice Okyere-Manu
June 19, 2023

Grandma tell us the story, the one that we love so much.
The old story of your youth - the story of mother earth,

Childrens hands

O the great mother of all mothers, “Asaase Yaa” ,
The one who brings forth life, and nurtures all its inhabitants.  
The one who gives the elephant its meal and does not forget the ant,
The one who was born on Thursday, the old woman (aberewa) that everyone loves.

Her gift of rivers rushed down the mountains to the valleys.
Like sparkling diamonds under the African sun, they lit a shimmering path
Like an artist, they embellished all that they touched so we could see our reflections as mirrors.
We walked and jumped and splashed all day calling up to the forest branches.
With the onomatopoeia of our soaked clothes singing songs of our freedom.
Like us, the fish jumped and danced in the river's embrace.
Frogs called out to one another to play.
We reverently borrowed what we needed from mother earth, in the buckets on our heads.

Then, when we closed our eyes briefly, a sudden change.
The rivers hardened, they cracked and dried up.
They exchanged their glimmer for the dull grey of the night,
Their texture for rough armour like the tortoise’s skin.
Wearing a jacket made of tar. The rivers became roads.
Weaving through the mountains. No longer carrying the buoyancy of life.
What have they done to our rivers? Something bad has been done!
Where are the fish? Where are the frogs? Where are the dragonflies?

The fishermen discard their nets. The gift of the rivers dried up.
Asase Yaa lies quiet and helpless.  
The fish traded their fins for wheels and started to thirst for petrol.
They now take long, winding journeys along the roads – as if in search of a spring.
Their shape distorted, their home no more.

The trees danced and swayed as the wind and its children hurried past.
The forest would welcome us with flashes of light between the leaves,
Fresh air, crisp and fragrant.
When spied from a distance the trees would hold hands in support of Asase Yaa.
The beauty of the great and small birds clasping a perch with crooked hands.
With the morning dew, the oak would open its arms wide to welcome its children.
It beckoned them to come freely for shelter and security.

Suddenly, a sound like an earthquake.
Stop them. Their footsteps can be heard.
Branches had become billboards, enticing all to buy.
Reminders of discontent. Flashing lights.
Charms and promises of a life so unlike what we knew.
Beautiful chains.

Oh great mother of all mothers
You gave us mountains dressed to meet the bride
The morning sun would exhibit its beauty, rising over the protection of the great hills.
The magical sight would invite all.
Home to the rocky mountain goat and its cousins.

Now the mountains stand thin. Malnourished, exposed and alone.
The mountains have become skyscrapers, surrounded by the bustle of the city.
Nature lies vulnerable and exposed.
A shadow of what once was.

Asaase Yaa are you there?
Assase Yaa why are you quiet?

The children huddled close, their eyes wide with concern,
"Is the story over? Is Asaase Yaa no more?" they yearned.
In a hushed voice, Grandmother whispered in reply,
It's in our hands, dear children, to shape the story's sky.
To heal the wounds inflicted, restore her harmony.
With hearts united, we'll mend what has been torn,
And honor Asaase Yaa's blessings.