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They will ask me why things are so different.
TEDDY TOTIMEH AND WIFE MAAMLE

TEDDY TOTIMEH

One of my dreams is to take my children on a trip abroad one day. And show them the entirely different world that exists beyond our shores.

To show them what human beings like us have been able to do, drinking the same water, breathing the same air, under the same sun and moon. They ask a lot of questions. And I know they will ask me why things are so different. I know they will ask me why we do not have this, and that, and that, and that back home. I hope that when they ask I can throw them off with: we will get there one day. I don’t think they will be thrown off. I know them. When they are on a quest, they really are.

I have given up on asking the question. I would rather contribute towards answering it. Answering not by stating the problems but by contributing to the solution. Ultimately the solution boils down to a simple scheme: finding my purpose and doing my best.

In the last quarter of 2015 I have lost three friends who impacted my life in various ways. People who made this country a better place. Two were physicians, and one a diplomat.

The first finished medical school in the UK before Ghana gained independence. He was offered a position to train as a surgeon on completion, and he dutifully informed the government at the time of this opportunity.

He was told to pack his bags and come back home, because Ghana did not need surgeons. He cut off all communications with the colonial government, sponsored himself through surgical training, and then informed the government when he finished. He was immediately offered an appointment in the premier teaching hospital and he would from there pioneer great things in Ghanaian medicine.

He would become the first African editor of a critically acclaimed surgical textbook with an African context. He would become the first Ghanaian with IV fluids named after him. In his eighties, he continued to see patients and teach medical students. Prof Badoe was a legend. He made things happen in an environment which was just as difficult as it is now. It is interesting that in certain respects, we have still not built on what he established.

It took 11 years to bring out the first edition of the textbook. At the time, there was no one in the country who had typeset a 1000-page book before. The story of how that book finally got launched one evening by a government official in the then Ambassador Hotel, is a story as inspiring, as it is dispiriting.

In my profession, there are things I take for granted now, that are there only because somebody broke his back in a big way. Now the book is in its 4th edition with multiple reruns, in multiple African countries. Every surgeon in English-speaking sub-Saharan Africa has used the book or referred to it or cited it at one point or the other. It is now more than a 1000 pages, and still the biggest book published in Ghana. The day Prof Badoe had to pay duty for the paper that was used to print the 4th edition was a sad day. He went all the way to the head of customs. He still had to pay. But we have the book today.

The second friend I lost was my contemporary. We sat in the same class. He had a chronic disease that would send him to the hospital every once in a while. He went through the gruelling seven years fighting the battle on multiple fronts. He would become the consummate physician. He would become the go-to person for all matters blood in the hospital, and I dare say in the country. Very few people knew how often he would be admitted for treatment in hospital, and bounce back hale and hearty to work the next day. I miss his voice on the phone. We did not meet much, because we were both busy, but we did talk. He would become head of the blood bank. He would become a trainer of trainers. He would lead high-profile symposia and represent Ghana on international trials. He stuck to what he did best, and boy, he did it.

My third friend was one of those whose homes I never knew. I would meet him in church every Sunday. He was such an example of love and hope and fight! He lost his sight to glaucoma, but he lost nothing of his love for life, his devotion to his family, his power of encouragement to the people who were privileged to be with him. His memorial service was as encouraging as his life was. This was someone who had left a heritage.

Maybe when my children wonder if we are not the same as the people on the other side of the ocean, I will have some examples to share. I work in Ghana because of people like these three. I have been blessed with knowing even more living examples. I have hope in this country because the human being is the most astonishing creation in the universe. We were created to do astonishing things. We can choose how astonishing we can be. I will tell my children to choose to be as human as they can be.

 

Teddy Totimeh is a 33-year old medical worker in Ghana. He lives with his wife in a small hospital precinct in Accra, the capital of this West African nation. This is his first short story in a magazine, but he has previously published poetry. He likes reading, scrabble, and music.

 

 

34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 02 THE RIDE TEDDY TOTIMEH STOP LIGHT RUTH KNIPE 55X2 ROSEMARY MOSCO WARMING HOUSE JEFF ESTERHOLM TEACH ME HOW TO DANCE TO THE BLUES ROBERT LOUIS BARTLETT MEMORY CASH KIM KOLARICH ANYWAYS DOROTHEE LANG FOGCUTTER FRANK HABERLE GOING BACK TO YOU MATTHEW WARD CUPS OF COFFEE LEE KERN TELEPORTING THOUGHTS JOHN ARTHUR PEGG FORTUNES AARON BURCH WRONG WAY MARTIN CHIPPERFIELD CALL NOTES TRACE SHERIDAN SPIDER ON THE WALL ROBERT K OMURA OPIUM CLOUDS ARASH FARZANEH INTO THE MARGINS JA TYLER THE REALITY OF EROTICA TOM GANT THIS WALTZ TIM KENNY SIN INSURANCE MICHAEL P FERRARI ROUTINE KEN RODGERS THE NUMBER 15 BUS NANCY GAUQUIER RAPTORS AND RAGE ASHLEY CALLENDER DO NOT ASK ROD STEWART THE FLIGHT BACK LESLIE JOSEPH CHANT UNDONE MITRA SOME PEOPLE JOSEPH GOOSEY POP MATTHEW ABUELO INVULNERABLE HEARTS SARAH TUTTLE MORNING OF RUE COREY MESLER MOMENTS OF REAL CLARITY CRAIG WESLEY KNOWLEDGE CATHY DELALEU REGRET IS A WOMAN’S FIELD LAURA LEHEW BLACK CROW DAVE MORRISON LAUNCH PAD: ROSEMARY MOSCO OF 55 WORDS 
INTERVIEWED BY TRACE SHERIDAN A JOURNEY INTO WORDS: DOROTHEE LANG OF BLUEPRINTREVIEW INTERVIEWED BY TRACE SHERIDAN SKIVE WRITING: MATTHEW WARD 
INTERVIEWED BY MARTIN CHIPPERFIELD LIT MAG THAT’S RESTAURANT QUALITY: AARON BURCH OF HOBART INTERVIEWED BY TRACE SHERIDAN POP LIT: TRACE SHERIDAN AND MARTIN CHIPPERFIELD 
INTERVIEWED BY SEAN MERRIGAN MESLER’S MIX: COREY MESLER 
INTERVIEWED BY MARTIN CHIPPERFIELD MUD LUSCIOUS: JA TYLER INTERVIEWED 
BY TRACE SHERIDAN SUBTERRANEAN HANG-OUT: TIM KENNY 
INTERVIEWED BY TRACE SHERIDAN

 

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Aaron Burch

is the editor of Hobart and sometimes writes short fictions (recently: Quick Fiction 10 & 11, Opium 4, elimae, Smokelong Quarterly).

Dorothee Lang

is the editor of BluePrintReview, an experimental online journal, and author of Masala Moments, a travel novel about India. She lives in the South of Germany and takes regular trips through the real as well as the virtual world and collects moments in oil on copper. Currently, she also engages in time traveling—through a collaborative project she initiated, an utopic novel written by seven writers from five continents.

Al Balmer

studied photography for three years in the early eighties before his interest in lighting took him into magical dark places known as theatres where he spent the next 15 years or so backstage as a lighting designer and stage manager. In 2001 Al gave up theatre to have more time to be creative and is currently rediscovering writing poetry and photography.

Leslie Joseph

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Ruth Knipe

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Mitra

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Rosemary Mosco

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Michael Ferrari

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Jeff Esterholm’s

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Lydia Riley

a proud native of Kansas City, Missouri, divides her time into delicious wedges of writing, drinking, and screaming at the television. Currently unemployed, she is waiting for word of waitress positions at the Waffle House with bated breath. Wanna warm-up, cowpoke?

Jane M Bratton

is a runner-up in EditRed’s City Smells competition, and her essay Homecoming will be published in their anthology. She has been a guest columnist for The Cincinnati Enquirer. Jane and her family live in Kentucky.

Zayra Yves

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Nora C Gruenberg

is a 30-year-old wife and mother who lives in Chicago's southwest suburbs. She had to go to college and grad school to figure out the only thing she really wants to do for a living is writing.

Brian Gonzalez

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Rosie Sandler’s

creative non-fiction piece Under My Feet is in the first print issue of The Local Writer, and her flash Journey will appear in the next Slingink Shorts anthology. She has been shortlisted for competitions in Essentials magazine and the Essex Chronicle newspaper.

Julia Press-Simmons

is a Star Trek/Star Wars junkie with a healthy addiction to the open mic. She lives in Pennsylvania with her family. She is working on her first novel and she also write plays and short stories about dragons. She loves dragons.

David Kemp

lives in Northern Minnesota, where he enjoys the company of his longsuffering girlfriend and their three children, the piney confines of his ten-acre slice of paradise, and coffee.

Verdi E Mathis

is an HR specialist with the Federal Government. She is a widow and the mother of three young men, and resides in Capitol Heights, MD. She is seeking publication of her first novel.

Suzanne Jubenville

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RJ Williams

was born in Haiti. She lived in Panama as a little girl and moved to New York City in her early teens. She enjoys reading and long walks, and she is exploring her passion for writing. She lives in California with her two children and loves to laugh.

Robert Louis Bartlett’s

recent fiction and poetry have been published in print and online in the US and Canada. His short script A Sort Of Delivery is presently under consideration by two independent film companies in Los Angeles, and he is currently working on a collection of short stories. He lives in Arizona and works as technical documents writer for a home-design firm. Bartlett’s writing has been published in print in Canada’s Storyteller Magazine and Atheneum; on the web his fiction has been featured at Facets, FictionWarehouse, The Spillway Review, The GroundZero Literary Project, and the photojournal Reality X.

Louis J Harris

lives and works in Germiston, South Africa. His novel Revival is about a gay literary detective. Authors who have influenced his writing include John Steinbeck and the early works of Morris West.

Kim Kolarich

is an actor, playwright, and fiction writer from Chicago. She is working on a collection of short stories and a full-length play. A graduate from Columbia College, she trained as an actor with the Steven Ivcich Professional Studio in Chicago, and studied playwriting at the Chicago Dramatists. Kim spent several years in Los Angeles where she acted in theater, television, and film.

Frank Haberle

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Matthew Ward

lives and writes in the Australian east coast city of Newcastle, where, he says, everyone looks happy, especially when they’re squinting into the sun. In 2004, his story, Jake With A Snarly Smile On His Chops—a tale that questioned the existence of God and championed the ampersand—was published as a novella by Independence Jones. n late 2006 World Audience published his short story anthology, Her Mouth Looked Like

a Cat’s Bum. His short stories have appeared in several magazines, printed as well as online. He created Skive Magazine, now in its frenetic fifth year.

Lee Kern

a 26-year-old freelancer living in eastern Pennsylvania, first realized he enjoyed writing at the age of eight when he wrote a story for his elementary class. The assignment was four sentences, but he insisted on six pages. The story was about a video game character, and since then he’s grown into his own as a literary, science-fiction and a fantasy writer. Influenced by the works of Ernest Hemingway, Robert Jordan, and George Orwell, he constantly works to keep his style both sparse and interesting. He writes while listening to themusic of Bear McCreary and Within Temptation. He is reading The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

Matthew Abuelo

made a name for himself as an anti-war/activist poet when he was banned from a coffee house on Long Island in 2003 for reading poetry which criticized the invasion of Iraq. Born in 1975 he was raised in a military family, relocating many times during childhood from Oklahoma to Germany to Washington State. He has won numerous awards including the Editor's Choice award from the National Library of Poetry. He lives in Manhattan and works as a media analyst. His political blogs appear on blogit.com. His newest poetry collection is Organic Hotels.

John Arthur Pegg

born in 1976, claims he is one naughty, twisted writer. His stories sometimes border on the grotesque, slightly macabre side, sometimes on the bizarre, light side. He sleeps exactly six hours a night with a notebook and pen always within reach.

Sean Merrigan

is website editor for EditRed. He says he is half-Welsh, half-Irish, and born in Zimbabwe. He arrived in London at the age of 8, and has been a Catholic altar-boy, a gentleman’s outfitter, and a musician. He once played drums in a sex-cult, though only on a part-time basis. “Last year I was paid a substantial amount of money by a large and acquisitive UK book retailer to go away and not work for them any more,” he says. “This suited me fine thanks very much. I have spent the intervening time writing and staring moodily out of windows.”

Sarah Tuttle

is an undergraduate in Environmental Studies and English. Tuttle has been published in two issues of Flutter Poetry Journal, and her school literary journal. She has a poem forthcoming in Ibbetson Street.

Corey Mesler

has been a book reviewer, fiction editor, university press sales rep, grant committee judge, father and son. With his wife he owns Burke’s Book Store, Memphis, Tennessee.

Craig Wesley

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Robert K Omura

lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada where he practices law. He holds a BA in psychology and MA in history from the University of Calgary, and a LLB from Dalhousie University. He recently returned to his love of writing after a 15-year hiatus. He is active in education, law reform, the environment, and the outdoors. Omura’s fiction and poetry has been published in The Arabesques Review, Barnstorm, The Rose and Thorn, Poems Niederngasse, edifice WRECKED and blue skies poetry.

Arash Farzaneh

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JA Tyler

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Tom Gant

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Tim Kenny

tiring of London life, returned to his Lancashire roots in the hope

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Laura LeHew

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Ken Rodgers

lives, teaches, and writes in Boise, Idaho. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco. A combat veteran of the Vietnam War, Ken says his writing seems to loop back often to his military experiences. Ken’s poems and short stories have most recently appeared in Switchback, Ascent Aspirations, VerbSap, Roman Candles, Fiction Attic, and Tiny Lights.

Nancy Gauquier

lives in central coastal California. She says: “I wrote The Number 15 Bus when I was living in San Francisco. Everything in it has happened to me, but not on the same day.” Her stories have appeared in Takahe, Open Minds Quarterly, and online at Pindeldyboz.

Ashley Callender

lives in Launceston, Tasmania. His writing and his family keep him pretty busy. “I like to write drabbles because they teach me to cut the crap,” he says. “I am home-schooling one of my children. Time will tell if this is a good thing.”

It is not only form or style that makes me write, but the discovery process of the inner self.
JOANNA JEANINE SCHMIDT 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 44
My mother and I have this special connection.
MARI CASEY 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 43
I tried to fix my head, hang out with people, stop writing for a bit.
POLINA SIMAKOVA AKA AGRIPPINA DOMANSKI 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 42
I am a writer because writing keeps me sane.
NATASHA NOAH 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 41
I write to stay alive, to feel human.
MILENA PETROVIC 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 40
As is frequently the case, I began this story with a vague concept: in this case a story about sex.
LIZ FYNE 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 39
Thoughts of gender, identity, and expectations. And Adrienne Rich poetry.
REBECCA DIMYAN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 38
The poems are about the competition, jealousy, frustration, friendship, loss, and joy that all bands experience.
JOE DE PATTA 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 37
When it all falls away we find ourselves still alive, and so we continue.
JOSHUA DULL 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 35
I’m an artist because it allows me to be free.
SHANNON MARIE KELLY 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 27
Words are the only tools that I even remotely know how to use.
MOURA MCGOVERN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 25
Most of my poetry deals with gang violence and the impact it has on someone's life.
KANISHKA LAMPKIN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 14
I write because I’m good at it. Sure, I dress up good too.
ETKIN CAMOGLU 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 30
I want to discover, to explore what I don’t know yet.
TANIA VERHELST 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 32
When music beat me up and threw me out of the car I began to write.
DAVE MORRISON 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 01
I like a poem that blows itself wide open at the end.
SUSAN WHITMORE 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 31
 THE 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE BY MARTIN CHIPPERFIELD 34THPARALLEL@GMAIL.COM