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October 28, 2010

Singing in a Strange Land

I have been living in Ghana for ten months now. My friends and fans are always asking me, when will you write a story based in Ghana. I never voiced this answer, but in my heart, the answer has been “never”.

I remember the psalmist’s words: “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land”. I felt that I could not write a story based on a place that was foreign to me in very fundamental and complicated ways.

I can write about my experiences here, then I would certainly be forgiven for any ignorance of customs. But to incorporate fictitious characters into the landscape, I felt that I needed to understand Ghana much more than is possible in my three year stay.

That changed this weekend. We visited the second largest city in Ghana, Kumasi which is the seat of the Ashanti tribe in Ghana. We went to several museums and learnt much about the rich heritage, customs and beliefs of this proud tribe. On the long drive home, in an effort to entertain the children, I (with their help) created a story based around one of the beliefs that we had heard. I still need to do considerable research, but I think it is the start of something new!

(The photo is of the current Ashanti King seated next to the Ashanti Golden Stool, a sacred part of the Ashanti history)

(Originally posted at Novel Spaces on October 28, 2010)

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