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Patty & Charlie
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Phone Calls - Or - When Dreams Come True

Sandow Stephen Sulemana

Just like in my reoccuring dream I found Sandow. He did call me back in about a week, and our first phone connection was lousy. The noise on the line made it a challenge to understand everything he said to me, but one thing was crystal clear, he was as happy to talk to me as I was to talk to him. One way he expressed this to me was saying, "It is as if my mother is alive from the dead."

After laughing alot and saying over and over how happy we were, we asked all the questions like, are you married, do you have kids, what do you do for a living, etc.

I asked him if anyone still called him Sandow. He laughed and said, "No, people call me S.S. or Sule. Only one person calls me Sandow." Yes, that's me, and all my family. In Mampruli the name Sandow means "strange child." Strange as in unknown. The Mamprusi tribe gives this name to male children until they get their real name. For some reason, it remained his name.

We promised to send each other pictures, and we both did. It took 12 days for me to receive his letter and photos. He has gotten an e-mail address since then and I have sent photos with my e-mails. He goes to an "Internet Cafe" where someone can work the computer for him and he can print the letter and photos.

Sandow, age 37
Sitting at his desk, in one of his 10 warehouses, when he was regional stores manager, 1993.

I learned from Sandow that his mother had died of cancer in 1989 and his father is now 105 years old and the chief of Jawani, a northern region village. Sandow and my other friends grew up in the usual Nalerigu family setting which was a compound of round rooms in a circle with a wall that connected them. Water was carried from the river and when nighttime came, a fire, a kerosene lantern or the moon was the source of light. The stars were so bright there.

Our first phone conversation was wonderful. It wasn't long after talking to Sandow that I knew I would have to travel to Ghana. This was the time. Sandow has said to me over and over, "You will love it here."


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