Pot Bellies & Poor Childhoods -The Magical Link!

Definitely not me :-DWhen I was in senior high, there wasn’t enough flesh on me to make a fowl with. Now though, I think I could wrap around two cows fairly easily. Of course I’m kidding, just one cow will do. I still am!! but you get my drift? The hollow in my shoulder is long gone and the stomach that curved inwards is now slightly inverted (note the emphasis on slightly).

My friend Yaw has this theory; pot bellies are the preserves of men with poor childhoods. It’s highly contentious, but just you wait.

You see, some of us grew up in zongos where giant gutters were game reserves, not sewage outlets, heck we cooked good food with sand and hibiscus flowers. Egg (whether boiled or fried) was shared among at least four children. There were times you’d go for your plate of rice and stew and see the shiny white bulge of an egg perching right there in the center. You’d flip it over and see that you’d been tricked! It was just half of the thing! If a stubborn ah-don-care auntie or uncle happened to be around and your plan was to save that protein for the last bite, you’ll learn very quickly that earlier is always better.

Powdered milk was dished out in tiny teaspoons and the evaporated milk was served in droplets. Coke -and his brothers- was too concentrated to be drunk like that so it had to be diluted and shared among (at least) two kids. Cerelac? CERELAC? Cere-what??!! Go and drink Ma koko and Tombrown wor hor wor hor. If Arlecchino Ice Cream depended on my childhood to succeed,  they would have folded up in week one; we were all into Poki!

To hell with what you feel or didn’t feel like eating. If you didn’t want what Mama got, you didn’t get nu’n. There was this one time I was flexing palmnut soup with fufu. If I wasn’t getting lightsoup, I didn’t want to eat, period! Much later that night when hunger clawed at my stomach like a cat with a drown-scare, I crawled to the kitchen, stealthily opened the bowl that had been covered since afternoon and munched down that palmnut soup with fufu like it was the last step of an initiation rite.

The sound of the family giggling in the hall as they watched TV was so off-putting! The worst part was when I had to endure the taunts after mum found my bowl washed clean. She started this term “ti ti tiiiri” a musical way of saying “Oyee po ne” which in literal translation means “You wont eat po this”

Those were the days! They seem so distant now. God’s grace does that. It’s not just our sins he removes so far from us. He takes away hardships too. But that’s not even why I write this. I digress (I just love that phrase)

At work today, they served tuna pasta salad with chicken. I thought it sucked so I ordered a full portion of grilled pork from Tasty jerk and had a tiny kenkey ball with it. Hihihihihihi See me o. It’s been like this for a few years. I remember when I first went to Presec boarding house and saw a full tin of powdered milk for me alone. Talk about divine stuff!

Then I started working and could afford so much more. Whaaatttt! My Milo was so creamy it could have been served with porridge for a whole prison. I ate as if to make up for everything I wanted and never had. Then along the line I caught myself, got used to it, and saw the need to sign up to a gym. Now I run eight laps around the athletic oval every other day(some weeks). I enjoy it, but sometimes I get so worn out I wonder if the previous night’s Schezuan jollof was worth it. Oh well.

The best thing about growing into any good thing (wealth especially) is that your sense of gratitude heightens. You have a less sense of entitlement and see need to thank God for the little things. When we lose that (the gratitude et al) it’s as if all the humbling experiences were pointless. We should never forget the distance between where we are and where we started, and between where we are and where we want to get to. We should never fail to see the magnificence of God in the most seemingly small things. We should never allow a sweet turn of fate to inflict any kind of amnesia on us.

We’ve all been poor before, all of us, because even those born with gold spoons in their mouths probably had straw for brains or a stone for a heart. So whatever ‘poverty’ God’s grace has rescued us from is our perpetual excuse for gratitude and reminder of whose we are.

So as I celebrate the millimeter reduction in my slowly-approaching flat abs with the 6 pack, cockline and the whole shebang, I (with you?) say thank you God for rocking like that! He’s amazing!

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29 Comments

  1. Dede said:

    Soo true. You yours was diluted po!I used to get like 25 ml of the coke after my Aunt had drunk her fill. Now glory be to God, I can buy as much as I want. But I miss the times of living in a family house. There aren’t enough words to express how good God has been. May His name be glorified forever!

    September 14, 2015
    Reply
  2. Naa said:

    This really touched me today!
    I have been through the great times and the bad times, and right now I see restoration in my life.
    I was just telling my supervisor about my recent rough experiences and I really really praise God for all He has done!
    Point of reflection: trust in His goodness always- I just wanted to add that, “making up” for rough times could also quickly escalate to overindulging…. And isn’t that a sign of lack of trust? Surely God who took us through the désert and provided for us will provide fresh manna anew. So when we are eating, buying clothes, etc… Let’s also buy them with gratitude, and with trust in His ever présent providence. Let’s eat, enjoy ourselves in a way that glorifies God.

    August 6, 2015
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      I’m probably more blessed from this than you were from m entire post. It would have been so unfortunate if you hadnt commented Naa.

      August 7, 2015
      Reply
  3. Josh said:

    WORD!!! Ei….(thrown into self reflection playing back those days). He’s been good rough.

    August 4, 2015
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Massively o charle, seeing as two have become three now 🙂

      August 7, 2015
      Reply
  4. Nanama said:

    Preach On!!!!

    March 19, 2014
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Turn the mic up! 🙂

      March 24, 2014
      Reply
  5. Karolinka said:

    Love it!
    Can toooootally relate haha. Let’s never lose sight of where are coming from indeed 🙂

    March 11, 2014
    Reply
  6. Juliette said:

    ”sand and hibiscus flowers” you did that too? Nostalgia! I wanna be young again!
    Indeed His grace and mercy have brought us far

    February 21, 2014
    Reply
  7. Akorfa said:

    I can totally relate!!! I have grown up to say I love chicken feet but truth is that is all I was entitled to whiles growing up so I had no option than to love it with glee. Who really likes that bony part of the chicken anyways? lol. Indeed Ebenezer, This is how far the Lord has brought us.

    February 20, 2014
    Reply
    • Karolinka said:

      Hey I loved the chicken feet!!!

      March 11, 2014
      Reply
      • BenJ said:

        Hahaha, you’re forgetting the neck! there were some nice spots there 😀

        March 24, 2014
        Reply
  8. Nathalie said:

    Truly amazing is HE.

    February 19, 2014
    Reply
  9. star said:

    Nice piece, it’s amazing how we take some things for granted. Thanks for the reminder.

    February 19, 2014
    Reply
  10. dziedzorm said:

    Hahaha, my tummy hurts from d laughter. U are not alone in ur “battles” as a child….I can soooo relate!
    N d bit abt gratitude, dat part really got me.
    Just wat I needed!
    Thumbs up.

    February 18, 2014
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Whew! Relief to know I dont stand alone. But alas, we’re on to something great Dzorm, arent we?

      February 19, 2014
      Reply
      • dziedzorm said:

        Of course we are! 😀

        February 19, 2014
        Reply
  11. Yaw said:

    This is very beautiful. U touched my heart Ben. God bless you.

    February 18, 2014
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      lol, God bless u too bro, only we know our story. hihihihi

      February 19, 2014
      Reply
  12. Nana Yaa A. Gyamfi said:

    Beautiful, touching piece Ben. Having grown up in Beverly Hills, I can’t quite relate but still… 😉

    February 18, 2014
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Haaahaaha! Very funny!lol

      February 18, 2014
      Reply
    • Kukua said:

      lol N-ya.. Beverly Hills huh…

      We thank God for how far He has brought those of us in Accra… lol

      February 19, 2014
      Reply
      • BenJ said:

        Tell it to her Kuks, tell it to her! lol

        February 19, 2014
        Reply
      • Nana Yaa A. Gyamfi said:

        😉

        February 19, 2014
        Reply
  13. alfred said:

    i like the way you bait me with all the funny narrative and then out of nowhere, shoot that golden arrow of self-reflection and gratitude – its so easy to take the advancements in our lives for granted and forget from where God has brought us – love you man… bless you.

    February 18, 2014
    Reply
  14. naana said:

    He sure is! having to endure unnecessary drama in a compound house and watching television at your neighbours house…. He sure has lifted up our heads!

    February 18, 2014
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      I know what you’re talking about Naana, i personally do 😀

      February 18, 2014
      Reply
  15. Baaba said:

    God bless you. Loved this piece. May we all never lose sight of how far God has brought us.

    February 18, 2014
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Aaammeen!God bless you too Baabs.

      February 18, 2014
      Reply

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