A Drummer's Testament
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Chapter III-13:  Special Problems of Children   <PDF file>

Difficulties of children; children and bad spirits; twins, orphans, relation to mother's house

Paragraph outline and links
Proverbs and sayings
Dagbani words and other search terms

Contents outline and links by paragraph  <top of page>

Introduction: different types of children

1. children can affect the parents’ lives; wealth and poverty

A bad spirit: alizini

2. child can be an alizini, or bad spirit
3. alizini is not normal; changes itself, threatens parents
4. soothsayers or someone with medicine will recognize the alizini
5. an alizini can come to a child; babies not left alone in a room
6. example: the alizini child of Sumaani
7. example: medicine man took the child; no funeral, no mourning
8. alizini can be like a snake; need for medicine


9. bring different luck to parents; many people fear twins
10. differences: for typical Dagbamba, twins bring issues: constant soothsaying, slaughter goats; Muslims do not do anything special
11. twins from family lines
12. soothsaying for twins’ names; twins as “people of the god”; check to see if twins will go to mother’s family house
13. soothsaying to find what the twins want: nintugari, begging in the market
14. buying and maintaining goats for the twins
15. many issue for typical Dagbamba, but not for Muslims
16. special difficulties if one of the twins dies; don’t say the twin is dead
17. special difficulties if twins are male and female
18. parents sometimes use medicine to kill twins
19. if child dies, image of a pot that has spilled water but not broken

The importance of the mother

20. problems of taking care of children all fall on the parents
21. mother’s love is more than father’s love
22. strength and importance of mother’s side; also with other tribes
23. mother suffers more for a child; strengthens the bond
24. in Dagbon people don’t ask or talk about someone’s mother’s house
25. similar strength of the uncle, especially the mother’s brother with same parents


26. if a newborn’s mother dies, soothsayers know which side will care for baby; respect for orphans
27. after a funeral, funeral elder shares the children on the father’s side
28. small children stay with mothers; if remarry the step-father will take good care of the orphaned children as blessing; some people gather and take care of orphans
29. when the children grow, they return to father’s side house


30. continuation to next topics

Proverbs and Sayings  <top of page>

Everything has got separation and exceptions.

A pot of water was standing and has fallen down, leaving the pot.

Everything on this earth is changing, but we have never seen a child change a mother.

Fathers change, but a mother is not changing.

Where there is patience, there is no heartbreaking.

Key words for ASCII searches  <top of page>

Names and people
Paganaa  (Paɣanaa)
Pagawuni  (Paɣawuni)

Towns and places
Jimbagayili  (Jimbaɣayili)

Cultural groups
Dagbana, Dagbamba

Miscellaneous terms
Asalaam Aleikum
maalam, maalams
Ni ti zugusun  (Ni ti zuɣusuŋ)
ŋahiba  (nahiba)