02 February 2014

If You Love Me, Come - Sundays in My City

Domeabra, translated, is "If you love me, come."  Domeabra is the name of the village where I spent my 8 weeks of Peace Corps homestay training. It's a very tiny village of maybe 200 people; most of them being small children.  It's an Ewe village (Ewe being one of the major languages in Ghana) in the Central Region (the Central Region being predominantly Twi (another of the major languages). I've taken you on a few tours of the place (here, here and here) but haven't really told you much about it.

I'm sorry to say I don't completely remember the story of how the village was founded but someone (for reasons I don't remember) left the Volta Region (the Volta being the primary region for Ewe people and the region where I would do my 2 years of service) and settled in the Central Region. He (if I remember correctly, and it's possible I don't but hey, let's just go with it, okay!) left behind a love and wanted her to come join him so he named his new place Domeabra.  She did love him and she did come join him and together they started a new little village of Ewe people.

I hated living in Domeabra during my training. But to be fair, I'm not sure I would have liked any other place any better. Training was a tough time.  And Domeabra isn't an easy place under the most forgiving of circumstances. During training you're given language lessons for 4-6 hours each day formal instruction (which does not counting every villager asking you what you're doing or where you're going (even when you're obviously headed to the toilet with a roll of toilet paper in your hand) in order to give you more practice). When you're not in language class you're being taught local customs and culture or being given instructions on how to do the job you'll be doing for the next 2 years. There's very little free time, next to no privacy and you have no control over your schedule. The hardest part, though, was not knowing what your next meal would involve.  My homestay mother tried very hard but she's not the best cook and I'm something of a picky eater. The stress involved in every meal was exhausting as was everything else. Training, for me, could not be over fast enough.

Once I had some time away from Domeabra I was able to reflect on that tiny village and how wonderful the people there were. It's a really special place and I'm very lucky to have lived there. It's truly a home away from home.

Father - Koshi (age 3) - Me - Aduba (age 8) - Mother
When I lived with them in 2001. Mavis (from this post) wasn't born yet.

The villagers grow cassava and the women have a cooperative where they collectively make gari (a dried cassava product) and sell it. By working together they can produce much more volume for sale and can sell to a larger market. The split the profit amongst everyone in the cooperative.

Despite truly being the poorest-of-the-poor, they're also some of the happiest and most generous people I've ever met. They're always smiling!

Little sister Mavis in 2008 (age 5)

The family in 2008. Koshi was 10, Mavis was 5 and Aduba was 15.

The family in 2013. Mavis is now 11, Koshi is 15 and Aduba was away at school. This is the first time my parents smiled in a picture!

I did come to love it there. The name fits.

For more places people love, check out the rest of the SIMC posts over at Unknown Mami.

Unknown Mami


  1. Your love for the village really comes through in your photos and words.

  2. I respect the workers in the Peace Corps. I am glad you had the opportunity to be a blessing to the poor. I love the picture essay.

  3. What a wonderful experience to live in another culture like this. I am glad you could help.

  4. Wow! That training does sound pretty tough but looking back there are some really beautiful smiles there!

  5. You could be a Finnish - many girls are blond, wear a scarf like you! :)
    Beautiful memories you have...