Remembering the Rasta-man

Blue Skies Ghana’s first General Manager David Arnold remembers a very special personIn January 1998 after being in Ghana for only two or three days and very much “wet behind the ears” I espied a wall of flame about ¾ of a mile away from the factory. I walked down the drive and crossed the Nsawam Road and into the fields opposite. From there I got a glimpse of my first African burning. Having my camera with me I took a few photos and turned to go back to the factory. Imagine my surprise that as I turned I found that within two feet of me, was a wild looking man with dreadlocks and faded clothes. I had not heard his approach. I was certainly startled by his appearance. I tried to communicate, but with me not having any words of Ewe and him not understanding my English this proved very difficult indeed. I had met the RASTAMAN as I later would affectionately call him.

The next day I was called out to the Compound by Mr. Asamane who informed me that I had a visitor …. It was the Rasta-man. He had brought me a gift of a cashew nut still attached to its apple, the first that I had ever seen. With the help of Mr Asamane and John Appea the Rasta-man and I exchanged greetings and thanks. So we became friends ….. We were no longer strangers.

Every morning around sunrise I would see him returning home, walking along the Nsawam road with either a fish or small rodent-like creature on the end of a pointed stick. Whatever he caught I am sure was to be destined for his cooking pot. When I returned some ten years later he was still living in his hut beside the main road and as I shouted a welcome, he immediately responded by shouting “Mr. David”. We had not forgotten each other and I was pleased to see him as I am to see all my Ghanaian brothers and sisters.

On the back of his hut he had at some time carved an image of the Statue of Liberty, which he proudly showed me. In many ways this carving was a reflection of his character, one who was fiercely independent and free.

Sadly I never knew his real name but I will certainly never forget the Rasta-man and I was saddened to hear of his passing.

May his God find a place in his heart for this Ghanaian and may his soul find everlasting peace.

PS – May I take the opportunity to wish all at Blue Skies Ghana a Happy Christmas and a peaceful 2016.

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