As I was sitting at my desk tonight I had a lovely realization, one that is rather simple and obvious, but nonetheless touched my heart in a way that prompted me to share. All of you know that my brother, Andy, lived in Ghana for several years while in the Peace Corps and he had an amazing experience. He loved the culture and artifacts and brought back the family a wide array of clothing, hats, fabrics and jewelry but the one thing that he brought back to me... The only thing I have from his trip. That's been sitting next to my desk for probably over seven years at this point -- is this African Fertility Goddess.
I always loved the hand carved figure but never realized what symbolism it would embody. Tonight I did a little research and learned the following:
"Asante doll of Ghana known as Akua'ba has entered the Western imagination. With a large moon-shaped head and skinny stick figure, this doll represents a life form yet to have arrived -- the child one hopes to have. As legend has it, a woman named Akua was barren until a healer instructed her to carry and care for a doll as if it were a child. Villagers jeered, but her faith was rewarded with the birth of a daughter -- the "ba," or child, in the doll's name. Now recognized all over Africa as a symbol of political empowerment and intellectual freedom as well as fertility, the doll is mass-manufactured for export and domestic use (both play and ritual)."
I just love that this purposeful & knowing wood carving has been starring me in the eyes, next to my desk, for years, as a symbol of the African child that I am so honored to mother. And a special shout out to Bro for bringing Africa to me with love.