Let’s meet…Stephen and Sly

{inspired by our friends Jen, Tessa and Ella, we have been looking at time lines, significant periods through history, and our own place in history. Part of our history are the people around us, and we thought an interview was also a good way meet some of the people who work in the residential section of the mine. The kids composed a standard list of questions which they have been using as the basis for interviews.}

Today, let’s meet Stephen and Sly.

We see a lot of Stephen, he is the steward of our house and responsible for cleaning the house and the mountains of washing we generate. He is also my ‘go-to’ man for when I need assistance with maintenance. He knows everyone who works for Estate (the people responsible for the maintenace of the residences), and while I am slowly meeting everyone, sometimes it’s difficult to know the right person to ask.  He has been great in helping us settle into our new home.

Q1. What is your full name?

A1. Stephen Kumi. Day name*: Kwabena

Q2. Do you have any children?

A2. Yes. Clinton – 9 years, Otabell – 7 years and Helen Bannister – 1.5 years

Q3. Where are you originally from?

A4. Brong-Ahafo Region, town of Dormaa-Ahenkro, on the border with Côte Ivoire.

Q4. How long have you worked for the mine?

A4. Since 2004, 8 years this year.

Q5. Have you had any other jobs?

A5. Sculpture designer. [this lead to a conversation about the sculptures in our house, several giraffes, and some of Ghanaian drummers, all of which Stephen made – we never knew!]

Q6. Where did you go to school?

A7. Roman Catholic school in Dormaa-Ahenkro. Completed school at 18 years old.

Q7. Where do your children go to school?

A7. Alet International School in Konongo.

Q8. What is your favourite food?

A8. Apuse: yam, plantain, cocoyam, palaba sauce: a spicy stew.

Q9. What did you have for breakfast?

A9. Porridge with milk and rice water to drink.

Q10. What is the best thing about living in Ghana?

A10. Ghana’s culture, particularly the dancing; and football (Stephen’s team is Owere Mine, the local team of the mine).

Thanks Stephen!

*Day names: Akan people (including the Ashanti and Ewe people) name their babies after the day of the week they were born. After 8 days their parents give them a middle name, often the name of a relative, just the same as we do. Cecily, Lillian (Ida) and myself were all named after our grandmothers. Additionally they are given an English name, which is great for us, as we’ve been struggling to remember everyone’s Ghanaian name. What day of the week were you born? Google it!

Monday: Kwando (male) Adwoa (female)

Tuesday: Kwabena (male) Abena (female)

Wednesday: Kwaku (male) Akua (female)

Thursday: Yao (male) Yaa (female)

Friday: Kofi (male) Afua (female)

Saturday: Kwame (male) Ama (female)

Sunday: Kwasi (male) Akosua (female).

Cecily and Chrissie are both Abena, Lill is Yaa, and Bill is Yao. Jock is Kofi, and is in good company with the former head of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.

Lets meet…Sly

Sly is the cook at the ‘Guesthouse’, where the expats can be fed 3 meals/day of western food, monday to friday [Chrissie edits to add, I have been cooking a bit, I promise!!]. There are 2 other kitchens on the site, where Ghanaian food is served. The Guesthouse is also, not surprisingly, where visitors stay. Sly has a long history with the mine, much of it spent as a cook for expats. His food is excellent and plentiful, and he is a truly lovely man. He has converted Jock and Lill to the joys of spaghetti bolognaise, after years of refusing to eat mine! The secret, apparently, is a little spice.

Q1. What is your full name?

A1. Sumaile Musah (not everyone uses their day name)

Q2. Do you have any children?

A2. Yes, 3 girls, 7 years, 3 years and 4 months.

Q3. Where are you originally from?

A4. Konongo (where the mine is).

Q4. How long have you worked for the mine?

A4. In 1983-1984 I worked for the mine [Owere Mine] as a steward [like Stephen is for our house]. Between 1984 and 1989 I worked in Nigeria, coming home to Ghana throughout. Between 1989 and 1992, and 1994 and 1997 I worked as a steward for the mine. In 1997 I started cooking at the Guesthouse. Between 1998 and 2002 I worked in the Eastern Region [of Ghana] as a cook for a mining company. Between 2002 and 2004 I worked as a cook for U.S missionaries in Kumasi. In 2005‑early 2009, Owere Mining was only Ghanaian people and I worked as a steward in their canteen in Accra. I would work for 2 weeks and have 1 weekend at home in Konongo. From early 2009 till now I have worked in here in Konongo as cook for the Guesthouse.

Q5. Have you had any other jobs?

A5. See above.

Q6. Where did you go to school?

A7. I went to Elementary school in Konongo for 10 years, finishing at 16 years old.

Q7. Where do your children go to school?

A7. Konongo Obanco School.

Q8. What is your favourite food?

A8. Banku.

Q9. What did you have for breakfast?

A9. Sometimes I forget to have it, but usually something small, a banana and a cup of tea.

Q10. What is the best thing about living in Ghana?

A10. It is a free country and you can go anywhere you like.

Thanks Sly!

8 responses to “Let’s meet…Stephen and Sly

  1. Lets see if this one goes…Everything sounds wonderful Chrissy. Really proud of you for being brave enough to take on the adventure (and slightly jealous!!! – in the nicest possible way of course!) Dad sends his love – had coffee with him and Deanne today ad I showed him our blog last Thursday when he came for dinner. He loved it! Guess you know Heidi and Simon are getting married…I’m official unofficial photographer! Less than 3 weeks until we go USA. SHould have some news re Greece this week. Love to you all. Cx


  2. Great blog Chrissie, we missing youse all heaps, Alex informs us we are coming to visit next year. I certainly am interested by the not having to cook thing. How long can we stay? Vic x
    PS I’m a bit stuck on how to email you, is it still tallhouse?


  3. Hey Chrissy, How is it in africa? It sounds AMAZING! it was zen’s birthday yesterday and we had a great day. Mum and Dad might be sending me to america at the end of the year if i keep high grades up! I guess im going to be studying…a lot. Do you think its better in Ghana or Newcastle??? Your blogs have been really good by the way.

    Much love, Tiah xx


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