Growing Up in a Small African Village
Dr. Robert Peprah-Gyamfi
Perseverance Books (2010)
Reviewed by Marissa Libbit for Reader Views (10/10)
“Growing Up in a SmallAfricanVillage” is the true account of life in a small Ghana village called Mpintimpi, written by a former resident. Dr. Peprah-Gyamfi makes it clear that his intent in writing the book is to educate people about this little known place in the world to draw attention to the needs of its people and to raise money to build a hospital there. In other words, the book is written from the heart of a man who deeply cares for his former village and is seeking ways to support his former home. The cause is quite noble. Not many people turn to writing a book when they need a fundraiser idea, so Dr. Peprah-Gyamfi should be commended.
That said, the book is not highly engaging. However, one does get a clear account through the author’s stories of what life was like in his village: poor hygienic conditions, illiteracy, inferior roads, limited medical care, and overall general poverty. I kept finding comparisons to early colonial life in America, but the author grew up in the twentieth century. Yet the people made a life for themselves growing cocoa and providing an education for their children. They cared for one another the best way they could.
Within “Growing Up in a SmallAfricanVillage,” readers learn that despite the limited conditions in which the author grew up, the reader still gets a sense that he has positive memories of his childhood. He nicely sums up his feelings about life in Mpintimpi: “Without any doubt, however, Mpintimpi has had a lasting influence on me. It has among other things taught me humility, resilience, compassion, respect for the elderly, learning to share with others; for that I will be eternally grateful to the little village…” I truly hope that Dr. Peprah-Gyamfi’s goals for improved living conditions in Mpintimpi are achieved.