Twins in Africa

Being a twin, I tend to spot others more easily. This pair of twins wasn’t hard to notice here in DRCongo.

Living in Ghana as a Peace Corps Volunteer, being a twin took on even more of a special meaning. Ghana has the highest number of twins per capita in the world, and they believe that they are good luck.

Specific names are given both to twins, siblings that come after twins, mothers of twin, etc. My name in Ghana was either Ama Atta Kakra or Ama Woeta, depending on if I was in a Twi or Ewe speaking area. This meant that I was the younger female twin born on Saturday.

Since people knew just from hearing my name that I was a twin, people would often ask me about it. In the Volta region, where I lived, there is also a special brown and white beaded bracelet that twins wear. This meant that as I moved along in public transport or in the market, people would comment on my bracelet. Of course they would be even more surprised when I turned around and started talking to them in the local language.

In the market they would always ask me where my sister was, since they could fathom why we were joined at the hip. So each market day I would go through the ritual greeting of them asking me where my twin was, and me telling them that she was at home. When she came to visit Ghana, and joined me in the market, the ladies nearly fell over with joy that she had come to visit.

In the village I also had special moms who were the mothers of twins. If one twin dies, the mother keeps a small wooden statue of the twin, and wears the bracelet typically worn by the twin. The first time I saw this I was so surprised, as the woman had very little in her sparse hearth area, but there was the little wooden doll with a bracelet matching to mine within easy reach of her daily cooking duties.

I feel honored to be a twin in general, but finding them around the world is an excellent treat.

Miss you sis!

Miel

3 thoughts on “Twins in Africa

  1. Ms. Miel

    Drea – Thanks for your note. I loved my bracelet so much. I need to find another one, as my busted shortly after my return from Ghana.

    I’m very good at learning language, but equally good at forgetting them. I’m also have knack for learning languages that are very useful at the time, and of completely no use later.

    My languages include:
    Finnish (lived there for a year and learned it well, haven’t spoken it since)

    Spanish (studied in school, lived in Ecuador for five months, learned it very well, now am completely rusty)

    Twi (Main language in Ghana where I could bargain like the best of them)

    Ewe (Language in the Volta region of Ghana where I spoke nothing but for two years, learned how to read and write – which most locals can’t do)

    Dari (Learned basics of Dari in Afghanistan but didn’t get very far)

    French (I understand extremely well, particularly African French, but still am not that good at speaking)

    I’ve also picked up some Danish, Fijian, and Swahili along the way.

    Cheers,

    Miel

  2. Darcy Cronin

    Yes, Ghana was especially fun to travel as twin. Fiji was fantastic, everywhere really, miss you. Now I just get to travel vicariously!

    It’s wonderful to have a best friend no matter where you are in the world. I’m proud to be your other half, keep up the great work!

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