Chapter III–10:  What Has Strength in Dagbamba Families

        We are going to continue the talk about family.  And what we want:  we want the family to extend and become wide.  That is all.  As I have told you how a family separates, I am going to show you what has strength in our Dagbamba families.  And I am going to talk about how we come together in our houses here.  And so today I will tell you what will let a family stay together.

        How a family is, it shows that people have come together.  As you yourself have come here, haven’t you got a lot of sense?  When you came, did you want to stay alone or did you want to stay with people?  And now, as you are staying with me, what have we become?  You are not our family, but we take you as our family.  If you do anything with us or you enter anything with us, we have trust in you.  You have come to learn my work, and you are suffering my suffering.  I am a drummer and you are also a drummer.  As we are calling you Lunʒɛɣu, it shows that you are not someone who has entered drumming but that you are born inside it.  Are we not family?  How you and I are, if I were to die today, you could just come to my room and lock it and take the key away, and say that you are now the head of the house.  Nobody would refuse and nobody would challenge you, and nobody could say anything that would be standing in the house unless your hand was there.  What is inside it?  Trust.  And respect.  And so we Dagbamba know that family started from friendship.  And as for that, we show that friendship is even stronger than family.  As there is trust, there is no separation.

        And truly, family started from friendship.  Today you John, if you are staying here and I am your friend, in our friendship, I don’t say that you are a white man.  If I have given birth to a child who is a girl, I can ask her, “Do you like John?”  If she says, “Yes, I like him,” I can give her to you.  If I give my daughter to you and she gives birth to a child, what has that child become?  The child comes to my family.  Maybe it won’t be I who says I will give my daughter to my friend, but my friend will get to know some of my daughters and will like one of them, and if he should want to marry her, it is I who will give her to him.  If my daughter gives birth to a child, it is increasing my family.  The children of my daughter are in addition to my family because since we are friends, we will take it that your children and my children are now the same family.  Have we not added to ourselves?  And what has brought it?  It is friendship.  Truly, it is not all friends who can collect the other’s child.  It can happen that you will give birth to a child, and the child will not collect your good heart or the mother’s good heart, and the child will take her own heart as if you are not the one who gave birth to her.  It can happen that people with good character will give birth to a child who will have no benefit.  If you give such a child to your friend, and she becomes a useless woman in your friend’s house, it can spoil the friendship of the two of you.  But if you know the friendship well, and you know the heart of the girl well, it is good you give her to your friend.

        And so we Dagbamba, on the part of our living, where there is trust and patience, that is what makes our way of living to be good.  And where you are sitting together with people, if one of you does not sleep, then all of you don’t sleep.  And if you know someone, and you are really a Dagbana, then you will know that his good is your good and his bad is your bad.  In our Dagbon, if you call somebody your mother’s child, it can be your relative, but it can also be your friend.  That is why I am telling you that as you are sitting down, you are now my mother’s child, because the work we do, that is what you do.  And so it is not only the person whom they brought forth together with you that you will call your mother’s child.  Have you seen?  This is why I told you long ago that inside every talk, there are many talks.

        As I have talked about this on the part of friendship and staying together with people, it is also good if that way of living should be inside a family.  If something happens, it is good that a family groups together to do it.  If somebody gives birth to children, and God should make some talk to happen inside the family, if it is good or if it is bad, if the father goes there, the children go.  If it is a funeral, it is the father who goes, and the children follow.  If it is the chief’s house, the father goes, and the children go.  If it is only the father alone who goes, and no child follows, then when the father is not there again, as he used to go to places, they will come and perform his funeral.  And after that, the family is dead.  As the children were not following their father, how will they know the family?  Those who come to perform the father’s funeral are old people, and it is not good for them to go and visit the children, because it was the children who were supposed to be going to the old people.  And as they didn’t go, has the family not been cut short?

        And so if you have children, and there is a funeral in your mother’s house, and you are going, you will take the child along.  If there is a funeral in your father’s house, and you are going, the child will follow you.  If you don’t take him around like that, there will be a time when the child will only know only you the father.  If you die and leave the child, the child will be alone inside your house.  The child will not know anybody in the family.  And you will hear some other people outside saying, “Such and such a person, these his children:  he only gave birth to them and threw them away.”  If something happens, your children won’t join your mother’s children’s family again because as for them, they are not used to doing that.  That is the place separation comes into the family again.  Maybe the child will later get to know that he has some relationship to such-and-such people, but as for that time, there is separation.  So have you heard it well?

        That is how our families are.  Some are long and some are short.  For those who don’t have patience, the family is short.  And those who have patience, the family will be increasing.  Increasing like what?  The father goes; the children go; the grandchildren go.  Here it is:  if the father is not there, where their father used to go, they will also be going.  They will go and perform funerals, and they will go and greet.  And the grandchildren will also be doing that.  Whatever happens, the family will be opening and spreading.  If something happens, people will forget that they are children, and they will send and tell them, and these children will get up and go.  It will show that the family is a good family, and it is not a family that will die.  As the children and the grandchildren are going, how will it die?  In Dagbon here, it is there like that, and it was there in the olden days, and it is there up till now.

        And so inside our Dagbon, if somebody does not like his family, and he’s in your family, and you don’t like how he lives, then you don’t mind anything of his.  When he is not there, if you go to the funeral, and they share the property, and you take his thing and eat, then you will also follow him and go.  You didn’t like him when he was living, and as you didn’t like him, you didn’t like everything of his.  And so if he’s not there, you will show that his thing is useless.  If you eat it, you are not going to keep long; whatever happens, you will follow him and die.  It is still there like that.  We say that if somebody does not agree, and you inherit him, the inheritance will send you away.  And so it is good, if somebody is like that, you don’t mind him.  If he is sleeping or he’s not sleeping, you don’t care.  If he has something bad, you are not going to repair it.  And if it happens that he has something good, and you go because you want to get and eat, whatever happens, you will not live long.  You didn’t like him, but you want his thing.  And he is the one who searched for it, and he didn’t want you to take it and leave those people who liked him.  If you take it, you won’t last.

        Such a person who does not like the family, we even refuse to attend his funeral.  With us Dagbamba and the way we live in our families, somebody can refuse to repair some trouble that happens in the family, and when he is not there, they will not look and see him.  I have seen trouble happen like, say, somebody dies, and they send and tell the family.  And someone is there, and when they tell him, he doesn’t mind them.  It comes to stand that they sent and told him something, and he didn’t mind.  And if those people are not there, and their children remain, and that person also comes not to be there, if those children go to perform that person’s funeral, whatever happens, they will get trouble.  In our Dagbon, those who are dead will not leave the ones who have gone to perform the funeral of the one who didn’t like the family.  As for that, it is there, from the olden days and up till now.  And so someone who does not respect his family, his family will also not respect him.  When he was there and something happened, as he didn’t want to add his children to himself and go, then his talk will be short on the part of the family.

        And so on the part of our family living, what we want is for the family to extend and become wide.  And we want the family to be big.  If your family is big, it shows that you have many people.  A big family adds to you.  Even if Dagbamba people see someone who does not have a big family, they abuse them, that the family is not many.  If the family is many, it shows that there are big people among you.  That is what Dagbamba like.  And apart from that, if you are going to perform a funeral, and many people are there, it gives you respect.  People seeing the funeral will say that this family is not a small family.  And so it is good for us when a family is big.  We Dagbamba, we don’t take any part of the family and throw it away.  You don’t take your mother’s side and throw it away.  The way your mother gave birth to you, you are not alone.  Your mother’s sisters’ children, and your uncles’ children, they are all your mother’s children, and they are a part of you.  And you come back again.  The way your father gave birth to you, and the children he gave to, and your father’s brothers who are following his back, and the children they gave birth to, they are your mother’s children.  And your father’s sisters, your aunts, the children they are giving birth to are your mother’s children.

         Here is an example.  How I have talked to you about funerals, I told you how a person dies and his  brother will come to perform the funeral, and that brother will take the dead person’s small children to his house.  Haven’t those children added themselves to the brother’s own children?  All these children’s problems will be on the brother.  It’s not because he wants it.  It is just by force that he will look after them.  And the way I showed you the mother’s side children, if they also come to be with you, isn’t it also compulsory?  And so as for Dagbamba, it is not by our wish that we gather all these people.  You can’t take some and leave some.  In Dagbani, we say that the one who takes some and leaves some is a useless person.  He doesn’t like family.  And somebody doesn’t like a family, inside our Dagbon, he turns to be a useless person.  Nobody wants to be a useless person.  Inside our Dagbani, if they come to point fingers at somebody that “He is a useless person,” you won’t like it.  And we say that he is “out” of the people. That is why we gather family.  Dagbamba don’t have trust in somebody who doesn’t look at the family.  That is the talk inside it.

        I don’t know your town, but in our Dagbamba way of living you are learning now.  Maybe what I am telling you is not in your town.  The way I have talked, if it were to be in your home town, you wouldn’t agree to gather people like that.  It is not inside your town.  But as you have left your town’s custom and come to learn the customs of Dagbon, that is what I have taken to talk to you.  If you want to learn another town’s talks, you should leave your town’s talks to the side.  I have told you that when we Dagbamba see somebody who doesn’t like the family, we call him a useless person.  Maybe in your town, you will group as one family in a house, and somebody will start getting money, and he will start to think that if he doesn’t go out away from the house with his money, then the rest of the people in the house will chop some of the money.  But to us Dagbamba, if he comes out like that, he is showing that the suffering of the people in the house is not one.  He will choose some of his family and relatives from the house and take them out, and so he is telling all of you in the whole family that he is out from you people.  Even if you take sense to think about it, you will not have appetite for his money again.  He didn’t want you people in the house to eat it.  That is why he is taking himself out.  And so you who are remaining, you will group and stay together.  You will be begging God.  If God does not give you the money, what you have and you have been eating, you will be eating with it, and it will all right.  And you will love one another.  As for the one who separates himself from the house, according to our Dagbamba way of living, he doesn’t want to do what he is supposed to do.  As for the people who separate themselves like that, they face problems in Dagbon here.  If it is that you are going to search for a woman, or you have an outdooring, or you have a funeral, it is you and your wife and your children alone who are going to sit and do it.  That is the problem they will face.  Maybe inside your town, you will say that somebody who separates himself from the family will be free, but in Dagbon, if you separate like that, you are not free.

        If the children I give birth to, they are my only children, then I am alone.  My senior brother’s children are not my children; my junior brother’s children are not my children; my sister’s children and she herself, I don’t know them.  My brother’s wife too is not my wife.  Then as for that:  you are alone.  We Dagbamba, we don’t have that in ourselves.  We have our custom that I have shown you.  If you are living, all your mother’s children’s children, they are yours.  In Dagbon here, if you give birth to a child, and it is only this child who you will always share ideas with, then that means you don’t have family.  If you are such a person in Dagbon, nobody will respect you.  Or if you have a wife, and it is your wife alone who always shares ideas with you, you have nobody.  Our Dagbamba custom shows that nobody will respect you.  And it isn’t that you don’t like your child.  The ideas you share with your child are there, and leaving aside those in your close family you should share ideas with.  And your wife who is staying with you, and the talks you will talk to her are there.  But you won’t take your child and your wife to separate yourself from your family.  That is how Dagbamba living is.  What I have talked to you, watch it very well.  We don’t say that we won’t take family talks to worry ourselves, or that we won’t suffer for the family.  We don’t refuse the family.  And so Dagbamba, this is the character we have.  You take your mother’s child to be your child, and you take your junior brother’s child to be your child.  So this is the way our custom goes.

        And so we want the family to extend and be big.  And inside our families in Dagbon here, there is something we do to make our families extend.  We share our children among our family.  We share our children with those who were given birth with us, that is, those of us who have one mother.  Someone you will give your child to, doesn’t it show that there is strength between the two of you?  And so in Dagbon here, if you give birth to a child and the child is coming into his sense, you will send him to join your junior father or your junior brother or senior brother, and he will teach the child to have a good way of living.  If the child is a girl, you can send her to your sister.  If your sister is older than you and she has a good sitting place, that is, if she has a husband, you can give your child to her.  If you like, you can give your child to your junior mother or your aunt.

        When we share our children to our brothers and sisters, it also teaches the children many things.  It shows them the family.  When you send your child to your junior brother or senior brother, the child will get to know that the one he is staying with is somebody who is of the same family with his father.  Whenever something happens and the child wants something, this child will ask for it from the one he is staying with.  And so the family will extend and be adding.  And again, if you give birth to many children, it may happen that your senior brother or junior brother may not have given birth to a child.  You can take one of your best children and give him to your brother.  When this child grows, he will respect your brother very well, just as if your brother is the one who gave birth to him.  If your brother has no child and you have given birth to many children, if you refuse to send some of your children to your brother, if you are in a town showing yourself that you have got many children while at the same time your brother is at his house suffering for somebody to help him do his work, do you think it is good?  We don’t do that.  If you send your children to your brothers and sisters, it means you regard your family, and you want your family to extend.  We just want the extension of the family.  That is why we share our children, and that is how it is.

        This sharing of children, it is what your heart wants.  It’s just like the way if you give birth to children and you want to send the children to the white man’s school or maalam’s school, it is what your heart wants.  If your heart wants, you can share your children within your family, and if you don’t want, you don’t share them.  But we drummers, if we give birth to a child, we send the child to one of our brothers.  If we do that, the child will learn how to beat the drum and at the same time learn sense.  And so another reason why we share the children is that it helps them get sense.  Sometimes somebody will refuse to send his child to his brother or junior father, and the child will be staying with him.  The child will be doing many bad things or saying bad things, and the father will not beat the child or tell the child that what he is doing is bad.  And the child too will not know that what he is doing is bad or wrong.  All this spoils a child.  But if you send your child to your brother, your brother will not be afraid to beat the child.  And so if you want to send your child to your brother, you send the child and say to your brother that he should receive the child and put him at his front so that the child will be locking the door of his house for him.  That is what we say when we send the child.  And the one receiving the child will say, “May God raise the child for us.”  That is the only thing you and he have to say.

        And truly, a child who is given to you is a heavy load.  We fear them more than orphans.  And what is not good is if you try to help your own children and then leave aside the one you have taken on.  That sort of thing, God Himself does not like it.  And what sharing of children doesn’t want again, when children are together, and the one you have taken on does something bad, and it is something that if it had been your own child, you would probably have beaten him or her, but now you take it, “Oh this is not my own child, and so I don’t have to beat the child or do something like that.”  If you say that, you are only trying to spoil the child.  You know, beating a child does not show that you hate the child or anything like that, but you are only trying to give the child a good way of living.  When you beat a child, it is not to hurt the child, but only to turn the child in the right way.  That is how it is.  And so truth is always the same.  If you too give your child to somebody, you should not hear the talks of others.  Somebody might come to you and say, “Oh, your brother has done something bad to your child.”  You should no day take that into your mind.  If you want to listen to such things, it will only spoil your child.  You can give your child to your relative, and maybe it won’t be long, and this is what you might be hearing.  And what I am telling you is that anyone who comes to tell you this doesn’t like you.  And he doesn’t like the one holding your child.  He only likes himself.  If you are somebody who lives with people, then you don’t have to receive such things.  You will see, but you will pretend as if you don’t see; you will hear, and you will pretend as if you don’t hear.  And we have this on the part of sharing our children inside our families.

        But truly, if you are watching, and you see that the one you gave your child is not holding the child well, then you will talk to the person holding the child, and you will go and collect your child.  You the father wanted your sister or brother to take care of the child so that the child would be somebody in future.  If it is your sister, and you are senior to your sister, there is a way for you to talk to her, “The way you are training this child, you want to spoil the child.  If you are going to leave her to be walking about like that, I will collect my child.”  Some people talk like that to their sisters.  And if you take a boy and give to your mother’s child, as we are drummers, it means you want him to show the child the work of drumming.  If your mother’s child bring his child to you like that, there is no way for you to look down upon the child, or for you to be teaching your own children and leaving that child.  If your mother’s child comes to see that this is what you are doing, he will tell you, “This is not the way I have given you my child.  Why should you leave my child?  Is he refusing or you don’t want to teach him?  Why is it that you are able to show your children?”  If somebody is doing like that in the family, in our Dagbani, we call such a person that he breaks the family.

        And so the talk I talked to you already, that is what is coming again.  If you just think that you only know of your own children, and you don’t know of other children, or if you don’t take your mother’s child’s problem to be your problem:  we say that such a person breaks the family.  As for him, his family will not extend.  If they give you a child  and you are holding the child like that, the child can also see the way and run away.  If he runs away, he won’t come back to your house again.  It means that you have shown the child that you only know your own children.  That is what I have already talked to you.  The way we give birth and give children to one another, the time you will die, your child will know that this man who took care of him, he was somebody important to you.

        And the way we share the children between brother and brother is the same as giving the child to your sister.  And it’s because she is a woman.  If you give your child who is a boy to your mother’s child, you give the child to your brother who is a man.  And you will take your daughter and give her to your mother’s child who is a woman.  And there is no difference between them.  But your mother’s child who is a man, if he is a farmer, or if you know of any work that he is doing, that is why you give the child to him.  Your brother is going to be showing him the work he is doing, and the child will also farm for him.  The way you will give your daughter to your mother’s child who is a woman, she will also be teaching her woman’s work.  If she is doing any kind of trading, she will be teaching your daughter trading work, and at the same time teaching her how a woman should work.  And the way she is going to train her like that, in two days time, she will also get married.  And so if your sister has trained her very well, if she marries and goes into a man’s house, then household problems will not defeat her.  That is why we give our daughters to our sisters, and we take our boys too and give to our brothers.  It is the work they do that separates them, but as for the sharing to your sister and your brother, there is no difference.  Only their names are different, but as for your mother’s child, it is the same.

        How this sharing of the children also comes, it can happen that your wife you are giving birth with, she doesn’t know how to train children well.  And you are a man, and you are outside.  It is the girl and her mother who will be in the house.  You don’t know how the mother is talking to her.  If you come to see that the mother is not teaching her well, and coming to the time this girl will grow up, then when they take her to her husband’s house, she won’t know anything there.  That is why the one who grows outside the parents’ house is different, and such girls do better than those who stay with their mothers.  And if you take your child who is a boy too and give to your mother’s child somewhere, if they are punishing him but it is not bad punishment, there is no fault.  That child will become more sensible than the children who stay with you their father in the house.  As for a punishment, there are two ways of punishment.  There is punishment that is bad, and there is punishment that shows a person sense.  And so the way we share the children to one another, many people in Dagbon here like such a child more than their own child.

        Even if your brother has given birth to many children, you can still send your child to your brother.  Your brother will not refuse the child.  And if I have a junior brother or a senior brother, if he has children and the children want to stay with me and if they come here, I have no way to say that they must go back.  If my sister’s children run to me, they will stay with me, and I cannot say anything.  If my wife’s nieces come to me, I will receive them.  I have no way to drive them away if they come to me.  As I am here, don’t you see that we are many in the house?  There is Adam, he and his wife and a child.  Alhassan is there with his wife and child.  And Alhassan with the beard is there and he has two wives, and one of the wives has one child and the other has two children.  And Abdulai is there.  They are all there, leaving the ones who are only having a little sense:  Abdulkadiri is there, Yakubu is there, Aliyu is there, Fatawu is there, Osmanu is there, and small Alhassambila.  You see that we are many, and are all of them my children?  Except for the small ones, they are my brothers’ children.  And so you see that we Dagbamba live together, and we get children to live with us.  I have no way to drive them away, and they have no way to run away.  This is how we sit in our houses.  Some of my own children are with my senior brother at Savelugu and others are with my brother at Tarkwa.  And so this is the way we do it, and it extends the family and it helps the whole family.  And it is a strong talk on the part of our children and the benefit of giving birth to many children.

        As we hold our family and we extend it like this, there can be somebody in a family who doesn’t know anything about his family, and even he won’t know how he himself is standing.  Let’s say my father’s junior brother is there, and he has not yet given birth to a child.  If I am a small child, my father can give me to his junior brother and I will be staying with him.  All his suffering, I have to be doing it for him.  I will be going to the farm with him.  If he wants to send a message, I will be going for him.  As I am a small child, I will not have the sense to know that this man I am staying with is my father’s junior brother.  It can happen that my father will die and my mother will also die, and neither of them told me the relationship between them and the one I am staying with.  I will continue staying with my junior father up to the time I get sense, and by that time too, maybe my junior father has given birth to children.  As I am growing up, the time my junior father comes to tell me the relationship between him and my father, I will not agree.  Only a few of such children will agree that the one they are staying with is not their real father.  When my father and my mother were there, none of them told me that the one I call father is really a junior brother to my father, and so I will not believe him.

        Sometimes you will have such a child and the child will know that you are the junior brother of his father, but he will not know that you and your brother have one mother.  If the child sees how you hold your own children and hold him too, he will one day think about it and say, “Yes, what my junior father is doing to his own children, he is doing the same thing to me too, and so I think that he and my father had the same father and the same mother.”  If not that, the child may take it that you are from the family of his father but not a junior brother to his father.  The love you are showing the child will show that you and his father are really family.  And it is the same thing if you and his father have different mothers, because what you do for your own children and what you do for this child will show the child.  We Dagbamba say, “No one loves the other more than himself,” and if you love the child, if shows that you love yourself.  And so it’s a person’s doing of things which the child will take to know that “This is my real family” or “This is my other family.”

         Let me give you an example, and I have told you something about it already.  Alhassan who is staying with me, his father Abdul Rahaman is senior to me.  Alhassan’s father and I have one mother and one father.  My first child is called Abdulai.  When Abdulai was coming into his sense, that was the time Alhassan’s father also sent him to me.  Alhassan was just a small boy staying with Abdulai up to the time they grew up.  Today, if I am going to the farm, I always go with Alhassan, and all the farming work, I did it with him.  As for my son Abdulai, when he has no work, he was also going to the farm.  And Abdulai came to get the white man’s work to get money.  This money, if he wants, he will give me; and if he doesn’t want, he will not give me.  I don’t force him to give me.  By that time, any time Alhassan and I returned from the farm, I would sit down and sew drums, and I would give them to him and he would hire a bicycle and go around the bungalows to sell them.  One day I called him, “Alhassan, let’s go to the farm,” and he said I should go and he would follow me.  When I went to the farm, he did not come, and I thought that he must be thinking of something.  I sent somebody to tell Alhassan to go and find his own father, that if he thinks that I am not his father, he should go and find his father.  The day I said this on the farm, the message reached him, and before daybreak he came to the farm.  I was able to say this to him because his father and I are from one mother.  If he had run away to his father because of what I had said to him, his father would not have allowed him to stay with him.  He would have driven him back, or his father would have told him to go and find another place to stay.  Why would his father have told him that?  Because he and I have the same father and same mother, he knows that whatever happens, how I am going to love my children is the same way I am going to love Alhassan.  And so Alhassan knew very well that if he took what I said to run away to his father, his father would not receive him. When Alhassan met me on the farm, I told him, “From today you should know that it is you I gave birth to before I gave birth to my son Abdulai.  If you call me somebody’s father, that somebody looks like you, and if I call you somebody’s child, that somebody looks like me.”  And I told him again, “As we are in the farm suffering and doing work, if you happen to get a girl and you love the girl, if I refuse to take responsibility for you, then God should punish me.”  And we were going to the farm until Alhassan got a wife, and I sent people to greet the parents of the girl, and they agreed to give their daughter to Alhassan because they know that I am Alhassan’s father.  But if it had been that Alhassan’s father and I had one father and different mothers, when Alhassan refused to come to the farm and I said this to him, he would have run to his father and his father would have said that I was going to cheat him, and so he should sit down and not return to me.  And by that time I would have nothing to say.  And my son Abdulai is older than Alhassan but he has no wife yet.  He found a girl and he sent people to tell me that he loved the girl, and I replied to them, “I don’t know whether he loves the girl or not.  My hands are out from all his troubles.”  Up till now, he has not got a wife yet.

        And truly, a family stands in different ways, and you have to get inside it before you can know it.  It is when you get inside that you will know that a family is a family.  And in our families in Dagbon here, when you look inside the talks of family and come to see the differences, you will see that one father and one mother has strength more than one father and different mothers.  You see Afa Adam, the one with me:  my senior brother Mumuni at Savelugu is his father.  He has a wife and is giving birth to children, and I am the one who took the responsibility of getting a wife for him.  That is how the family moves.  But if I take it that I have to be favoring my own children over my brothers’ children, then it would show that I don’t have relationship with their fathers.  And Alhassan, if he has to give a gift to me and his father, he will give me first before he can go to his father.  Sometimes I myself have to tell him, “Go and do such-and-such a thing for your father.”  It’s because he is staying with me.  But if his father and I were not having one father and one mother, he would have gone by now.  You know that Alhassan can sometimes do unnecessary things, and I have to say it:  I have to call him and abuse him.  Any time I abuse him, he will not be annoyed.  The reason why he does not become annoyed is that I am his father.  But if it were that I and his father had different mothers, and I called him to abuse him, he would just stand in front of me and tell me that I should not disturb him or do anything bad to him.  And he would say, “It is because I want that I stay with you, and if I don’t stay with you, you can’t do anything to me.”

        And so the first thing that has strength in our families is one mother and one father.  If you and I are brothers of one father and different mothers, and we give birth to children, these children will have their ways of knowing us.  If one mother gave birth to us and we are two, our children will know that we are different from our brother with the same father but a different mother, and they will give respect to the two of us more than to the others our father gave birth to.  But the children will call all of us their fathers.  And any of our other brothers will call our children his children, too.  If you and I have one mother, I will take your children to be the same as my children.  But if we have one father and different mothers, I will call your children my children, but I will not look after your children the same way I look after my own children.  And the children will not mind each others’ troubles.  And so one father and one mother is the strongest thing.

        What brings it?  It is all from the beginning of the family.  It comes from our mothers.  The time our father was having our mothers in his house, maybe these women were not having one mouth, and whatever they were doing, there was quarreling among them.  If that were the case, whatever happens, the children these women gave birth to will not have one mouth.  The children of one woman, no matter how they fight, they will have one mouth and they will mind each others’ troubles.  If one of them gets trouble, it means that all of them have got trouble.  But if they come from one father and different mothers, sometimes they will not even mind to kill each other.  That is why I have told you that a family is one thing, but its talks are many.  Unless you know the inside of family, you will not know what you will do before your family will become wide.

        And I want to give you another example, the Andani family and the Abudu family:  the confusion between them is because they do not have the same mother.  Naa Abdulai’s mother was different from Naa Andani’s mother.  Naa Abdulai’s mother gave birth to three children, and Naa Andani’s mother gave birth to him alone, and she died and left Naa Andani.  Naa Andani was staying with Naa Abdulai’s mother, and Naa Abdulai’s mother was taking care of Naa Andani.  Anything Naa Andani wanted, Naa Abdulai’s mother would have to do it for him.  There was no quarrel.  And today, do you see the result?  You see the difference now, but if they had had one mother and one father, there wouldn’t have been any argument between them.  And so if you see people who come from the same mother and the same father, the family is very strong.  You and the one who have one mother and one father, you won’t refuse one another.  If you refuse the other, your mother won’t agree.  And so one mother and one father:  that one is very strong.  And the strength of the mother is such that if the children come from the same mother but a different father, you will see them strong, too.  And so those who come from the same mother are strong on the part of the family.

        After that, the strong thing in the family is that our mothers were given birth by one father and one mother.  Let’s say that you and I, our mothers have the same mother.  My mother’s sister is your mother.  If your mother gave birth to children and my mother gave birth to children, truly, we will love each other despite the fact that we have different fathers and we only know each other on our mothers’ side.  Whatever happens, we will have to see each other.  If we give birth to children, our children will have one mouth.  And so this is also a strong thing in our families here.  But if it is that a man gives birth to daughters and their mothers are not the same, then their children will not have one mouth.  They will only know that they are family, and that is all.  That one is never strong.

        And so what I am showing you, these are the strongest things in the family.  When you see that a family is strong, if you watch and follow it, you will see that these two things are the foundation.  But as for one father and different mothers, there are some families that stay together peacefully and some that can even kill each other.  And truly, it is a bad thing on the chieftaincy side.  It started long ago in the olden days.  Those who have one father and different mothers, if they can get medicine to kill each other, they can do it.  You know that a chief has many wives and these wives can all be giving birth to children.  Let’s say a chief has five wives who give birth to children, and the children are all boys.  If they grow up and they are all about the same size, all of them will go out to make medicine to kill each other, just to become the regent if their father dies.  Even today they are still doing it.  But it started in the olden days, and we have talked about it, and that talk is still a big talk on the part of our chiefs.  But if the princes have one mother, even if one of them wants to make medicine like that, he won’t do it, because he knows very well that if his senior brother gets something, whatever happens, it will come to him, because his senior brother’s stomach will be paining for him.

        And in our families, if we are brothers and we have different mothers, if you have money but I don’t have anything, you can be giving me what I want, but it won’t be because you love me.  But if we have one mother and you have money, if you don’t give, others outside the house will even blame you and come to tell you, “You are not supposed to eat your money alone, since you and this man have one father and one mother.”  And so what I am showing you on the part of the family, it is a big talk in Dagbon here.  Even if one father and one mother give birth to a thousand children, the children will have one mouth, and each of them will be worried about what happens to the other.  But if children have one father and different mothers, if something happens to one of them, the other will rather be pushing the fire to burn him more.  Even as we are sitting today, I have been seeing people like that:  they have the same father, but they don’t care what happens to one another.  In Dagbon here if we see people like that, we ask people who know about them, and if they say that they have one father and different mothers and they are one family, we know what is happening among them.  And if we see people who have one father and one mother, that is what we call a real family.  That one is strong.  Even if they don’t like each other, then it is only that they don’t like each other in the face but not the stomach.  Their stomachs will pain for each other.  And that will be increasing the family.  That is how it is in Dagbon here.

        As you see my house, I am there holding the house.  My brother’s children Alhassan, Adam, and Abdulai are there, and my own son Alhassan, with their children, and my small children are there, too.  And so not all of them are my children, but that is how we gather a family in a house, and you see that we live together.  In a few years’ time, we will be very crowded in the house, and if some of them get money and want to go and build their own house, truly, they can do that.  But I have no way to drive them from the house, and they also will not run away.  We are sitting peacefully in the house.  That is how our Dagbamba families are.  But if we had different mothers, we couldn’t stay like that.  Every day you would see us quarreling.  It’s only a few people, those who have sense, who can stay like that and the house will stand.

        And so how I have talked about the family, I am showing you that we Dagbamba want the family to extend, and we don’t want the family to separate.  And what we know has strength inside the family is a child whose fathers have one father and one mother, and what is following that is a child whose mothers have one father and one mother.  That is how it is.  And I think that how I have talked about it today, it will do.  And tomorrow, if God agrees, I will start the talk about children and how they grow up in their families, and I will talk about the benefits of giving birth to children.