NOTE: This post is part one of a four part series on the House of Israel, Ghana.
SEFWI WIAWSO, WESTERN REGION, Ghana — Sunday, February 16: Alex Armah is the spiritual leader of the House of Israel Jewish Community located in New Adiembra, Sefwi Wiawso, Western Region, Ghana. I first established contact with him in October 2013.
“I will help you get what you want, all the question you have as will be done as you wish. I will assist you,” he told me by email. He certainly kept his word. He drove nearly 3 hours to greet me at Kumasi airport (more or less central Ghana), 40 minutes flight from the capital city of Accra. We then, of course, drove 3 hours back. I treated him and our driver to a well-deserved lunch at the Minado Hotel where I lodged comfortably for the duration of my 4-night, 5-day stay.
An afternoon nap coincided conveniently with a downpour, then Alex guided me round his village including a look at the simple pale blue and white concrete synagogue (built between 1995~1998) and visits to several homes of the 120 or so community members.
I met Isaac Aidoo and his wife Florence who farm five acres of land (mainly cocoa). Their homestead surroundings were teeming with kids, chickens, goats, guinea fowl, cats, and lizards. I also met Samuel, an elder, in a room swaddled by the darkening of dusk. Oddly, he was watching a preacher on TV, the room’s sole source of light. I later found out it was the only channel he could receive, and I surmised he was hoping for a rabbi to come on. He’s still waiting. Then I met Joshua outside my hotel.
“Hi, I’m Joshua,” he greeted me.
“I’m Jewish too,” I replied.
“I’m Joshua,” he repeated.
“Yes, I’m Jewish too,” I repeated.
“His name is JO-SHU-WA,” spelled out Alex.
I laughed, and Alex laughed. Jo-shu-wa just looked confused.
English is an official language in Ghana, but there’s a pronunciation gap. As it turned out, Joshua wasn’t Jewish after all.
NOTE: This post is part one of a four part series on the House of Israel Jewish Community of Ghana.
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