My Name is Butterfly by Bernice L. McFadden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I knew but I didn't want to know.
Bernice McFadden's book "My Name is Butterfly" is a wake-up call for me. Ritual servitude by young girls in Ghana, I had read about. I was even there, and didn't or wouldn't connect the dots.
McFadden's story is beautifully told, the image of nine-year-old Abebe taken away to a shrine will stay with me forever. It hurts my heart to think about it.
I visited Ghana in 2000 with Elderhostel, a continuing education program for older adults, that schooled us in the Akan language, Twi, and gave us lectures in the political, social, educational, and cultural systems. We started at the capital, Accra, and moved out into the villages of the central region of Ghana. We visited the town of Larteh, known for its shrine. At the shrine, people had brought goats and chickens to be sacrificed, while they petitioned the high priest to cure some ill, fix some problem. We brought an offering of 2 bottles of Schnaps, which he poured as a libation, for our good health and safe journey.
Much of the emphasis of the tour was on the story contrasts in Ghana, the poor and the prosperous, the modern and traditional. The day after we visited the shrine, we attended the Fetteh Methodist Church. The choir, dressed in black robes, wearing mortar boards on their heads, sang A Capella (4 part harmony) in Twi, a traditional Methodist service -- a John Wesley hymn, and the Te Deum Laudamus chanted in Twi. There could very well have been some of the same people at the shrine, sacrificing goats and chickens, and perhaps little girls.
My Name is Butterfly is a must read.
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