How African Sun Gods Help Childbirth: My Birth Story with Akain
Chronicles of A Ghanaian-Japanese Vodu Healer
“If Sena is crazy about Vodu today, it does not surprise me. Vodu was part of him even before he was born.”- Christopher Voncujovi, my father.
I was born prematurely on June 8th in Setagaya, Tokyo, at Toritsu Boshi Hokenin Hospital to a Japanese mother and a Ghanaian father. I was born at just 32 weeks (8 weeks before the safe due date) after I kicked open my mother’s amniotic sac. I was tiny. My weight was just 1900 grams, and my body length was about 47 cm in total. According to my mother, I was so small that her hand would be able to cover my entire back. The first time I was fed, I only drank four cc’s of milk. My parents were scared that I would die because I was so frail. But I survived thanks to my parent’s love and care as well as the hard work of Togbe Akain, my father’s patron Vodu spirit.
Let me tell you about my birth story. It is a story that highlights my parents’ struggle to conceive me and the challenges they faced as an interracial couple in Japan. However, it is also a story about how Vodu assists families and individuals struggling to have children. In the Ewe language, Vodu can be translated as “Free/Liberate The Community,” which speaks to the longstanding role Vodu has played in helping individuals and West African communities practically overcome their challenges.
Before my birth: Interacial Marriage in Japan
Even before I was born, my parents had struggled as an interracial couple in Japan. My mother came from a Japanese family in Gunma Prefecture that had a successful furniture business that was running for close to 150 years. As the only daughter, she was expected to marry a wealthy Japanese man that would support her older brother, the heir, to run the family business. So when my mother told my Japanese grandparent that she was with a Ghanaian working as a professional magician, they were not pleased. They thought that it was a disgrace to the family. “How can we take black children out in public? What would people think of us? Don’t do it”, they…