Below is the part of the speech I gave in response to the toast at my wedding on 15 June 2002. In 2009, I shared it within a group of friends as we all shared how we met our spouses and how we got married. We titled that sharing ‘My Valentine Story’.
On the occasion of our 13th wedding anniversary, I share this with you all.
Congratulations to my wife, friend, lover, confidant, critic, counsellor, editor-at-home, inspirer and boss, Vivian Damoah. I am so glad you accepted this simple Wasa boy and made him into a man. I love you dread!
I started praying for a marriage partner at the age of 14! I always thought I would marry one of the numerous ladies I grew up with through secondary school.
April 1st was the birthday of Sharon, one of the Joyful Way ladies in Kumasi and she was in Africa hall. I was then President of the Joyful Way Kumasi branch. I went to Africa to see Sharon and we had a nice chat at the Porter’s Lodge. Then, I went up to room 40, which was a popular meeting place for us Joyful Way executives – it was the room of two of our members of the Exec, Joyce and Fafa. It was in this room, on this day in 1998, that I was introduced to the sister of Evelyn Richardson (then), a member of Joyful Way in Accra, and her name was Vivian. She was introduced to me as the mother of the Joyful Way girls. It was a normal encounter. That was the first time I had ever seen her, and we had both been in the University since 1994.
Subsequent to that, I visited Vivian a number of times when she was Africa hall Vice President. I was just fulfilling a promise to visit.
The most significant meeting was on her birthday, Nov 1998. On the previous day, she met me on the stairway in Africa hall, and told me she had something to tell me. She told me I would hear from her. A note followed, in which she asked that I come to her room – 18 Africa – with my room-mate Seth Attram and Glover (who had left then for Accra), for a serious discussion. We were in our final year. I was worried, because I thought one of the Joyful Way ladies had done something wrong. I got there with Seth, only to find out that it was her birthday! I was impressed about how she had kept me in suspense, because I thought I was a master at that.
I had met my match. I can’t elaborate on all the interesting tricks we played on each other, for example asking her to record onto a tape music on a CD, and she going out of her way to buy another cassette, so I could get the whole 2 volumes; the greetings we exchanged through Evelyn, her sister and Patricia, our mutual friend; how I got lost the first day I went to visit her at home and yet persisted till I found her house, all the time she was on their lobby upstairs looking out eagerly for moi!
In the second semester of our final year, my visits to her had increased exponentially! And she was coming to Katanga hall, the farthest hall from hers (Africa hall) as if the Africa hall porter’s lodge was in Katanga! Her roommate Ekua (who is now her brother’s wife and was our maid of honour) would be so worried when i went to visit their room and Viv was not in. The clouds were gathering for a downpour…
11th July 1999. It was a Sunday. After church at PENSA, which was at Africa hall, I went up to room 40 to see Fafa and Joyce. I descended to room 18 with Fafa to see Viv who wasn’t feeling well. But she had the strength to compliment me on how well I was looking! It was at the junction between Africa hall and Republic hall that I first shared with Fafa (the first time with anyone) that I wanted her to pray with me concerning Viv, that I liked her, that she was a nice friend to me, etc. When I got to my room, I told my roommate and friend Seth as well.
Monday 12 July. Something happened. I wrote to Viv at 2pm, wishing her all the best in the exams, etc. It rained between 2pm and 4pm. Then after the rains, I called a little boy and sent him to Africa to deliver the letter. A few minutes later, we heard a knock on our door and we were like ‘How can the small boy come back so early?’ In came a different boy! With a letter from Viv, wishing me all the best, etc. It turned out that we had been thinking of the other around the same time, had written and the two couriers had bypassed each other! In about 20minutes, the courier boy returned with Viv’s response! My roommate Felix Afeti started prophesying!
By the Friday of that week, I had asked Viv to come over to my room, we went for a walk, and I proposed on Okoree street, asking for her hand in marriage!
Immediately the birds stopped singing, the wind ceased, the branches of the trees craned their long necks, traffic stopped on that street, nature came to a standstill, and at exactly 9.23pm that 16th July, She said ‘Damoah, I give it to you!’ and that response was within seconds!