Without a doubt, Nana Awere Damoah is now a household name. Judging from my readings of his exploits on the literary scene, interviews, contributions to political, social and economic issues on various platforms and of course his writings, Awere Damoah has made such significant impact on the lives of Ghanaians. Having been privileged to meet the man and discussing various topics with him, I would not be amiss by saying that his writings reflect his thoughts (of course that is so in more cases than one); but what Awere Damoah brings to bear on his writings is his love for humanity.
What Awere Damoah does with Excursions in my Mind, a 133 page book, is not only to inspire, but to empower everyone, young and old with nuggets of wisdom to help them in the journeys of life, as well as to help build up character both morally and spiritually. These nuggets are in the form of anecdotes, Scripture passages, personal experiences of the author, poems, action exercises and quotes from famous people. What is also striking about Excursions in my Mind is that though it has Christian undertones, it does not set out to preach to the reader what he should or should not do; the empowerment series says it as it is, and so can appeal to a cross-section of people.
The author sets out his ideas or nuggets in simple and easy to understand language, interspersing the flow with vernacular on occasion. As usual, the language and narrative are all laced with humour, a trait of all Awere’s writings that I’ve come to admire. Without the ability to laugh at ourselves, life itself becomes dry and we, as human beings, would wither in that dryness. So, some of the stories had me cracking up with laughter, of course not in ways that would make the story lose the lesson or moral it seeks to portray.
I was particularly touched by the recounting of Awere Damoah’s story about the sacrifices of his parents to get him where he is today. I am sure this true-life episode may not be new to some readers since they may also have had similar backgrounds; what is moving in Awere’s case is his level of gratitude and his determination to ‘look after them till their teeth fall out.’ (49-53).
Awere Damoah also shares with his readers, his personal loss of close family members. (pp131-133) I see this as a sign of his humanity, that in sharing his personal tragedies with his readers, he is reaching out to them, offering them solutions to help them also in their time of need. What best way to share your love and concern for humanity?
I believe that Excursions in my Mind is a book that everyone should get and read, to arm himself and generations yet unborn against the hazards of life; for in doing so one will be able to reach into himself to tap into his inner strength to be able to build a better person for himself and for his country.