7. Agnes

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I am a mid-wife. Because of that, I have impacted this into my children. Even in my old age now I am still operating. If you are in labor in this city, you are brought to me, and I will do it.


When I was thirteen years, my family had a family friend who needed a foster child, so my parents gave me to her. I lived with her throughout my teenage years. The woman was a traditional midwife, and so as I lived with her, I learned how to deliver children. Anytime the woman traveled outside, I took care of the delivering of babies.

As I was living with this midwife, one morning, I stepped out of the house, and I met a gentleman. He saw me and fell in love with me. I brought him home to see my mom. When I met him, I was a very beautiful woman, around twenty five-years.

If you are to introduce a man to your parents, as tradition demands, you have to come and knock with a bottle of Schnapps. As tradition also demands, after we had done the knocking, the man’s family had to do an investigation to see if there was any strange sickness found in my family – whether there was any form of disability, madness, whether there were drunkards in the family. It is believed that if you get married to such a family, your offspring will also be affected.

Once the date was set for the wedding, I have to be hidden for sometime. A lady has to be hidden in a room for some time before a wedding. She should not be exposed to the public. She has to be kept in the room for one or two weeks before she is brought out, so that when she comes out, she looks so beautiful and nice because she has been in the room. She will look new for the wedding. After the wedding, I moved to my marital home.

I gave birth to six children, and then, my husband died, so I had to move back to the family house. One afternoon, I was cooking in the kitchen. Our houses in those days were mud houses, and it was raining heavily. The whole house was brought down and fell on me.

I was unconscious and taken to the hospital. The doctors realized I was in a critical condition, and the way that my leg was, they had to amputate it, which is what brought about my disability.

How did your disability affect your ability to support your children?

It affected me in diverse ways. One is that I couldn’t support my children’s education anymore. All six children were in school, and I was hoping to help them get to university level, but due to the accident, they only reached junior high or primary school.

hat’s the most difficult experience you’ve had as a result of your disability?

The most negative impact was that I couldn’t work anymore. I used to cover a whole cassava farm by myself – about forty acres. However, when it happened, everything ceased.

As an eighty-five-year-old woman, what wisdom about life do you have to share?

I am a mid-wife. Because of that, I have impacted this into my children. Even in my old age now I am still operating. If you are in labor in this city, you are brought to me, and I will do it. As the old woman in this house, I coordinate affairs. I see to it that everything is in place. I see to it that everyone is getting ready for their daily activities – that Those who are in trade or are farmers are ready to set off, and those who are in charge of the house for cooking, I see that they have food ready for when the workers return. And at night, I used to gather the young children around and tell them stories.

What types of stories did you tell?

Anansi stories.

Can you tell us one?

I knew so many Ananasi stories, but I forgot most of them because of the accident.


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