Banned from crossing Ghana's river Ofin because you are menstruating, or banned from going to school on Tuesdays, doesn’t sound realistic right?
Okay, how about the thought of being banned from cooking one’s favourite delicacy because you’ve had sex or are menstruating? Well, these may sound bizarre when put this way. But, in Ghana, these myths do exist.
On January 10, 2018, it was reported that girls in the Upper Denkyira East district, in the Central Region, were missing out on their education due to a directive by a river god.
The directive issued by a local river god, River Ofin, prohibited girls in the periods from crossing it and also banned crossing on Tuesdays. The report carried by Joy News outraged lots of Human rights organizations and sparked fierce criticism.
This just confirms myths and taboos surrounding menstruation around the world. There have been reports in India, "where menstruating women and girls are often considered unclean and impure and are subjected to discrimination during their periods when, for example, they may not be allowed to go to the temple, or prepare and touch certain food," reuters.com reported.
In Ghana, there is a myth about this food, Wasawasa; a popular staple food made from yam in some parts of the Northern Region.
Yes! women who are in their menstrual periods or have had sex are not allowed to cook this meal without having had a spiritual bath to cleanse them.
It is believed that the food doesn't like filth and therefore, a woman needs cleansing when she has sex in order to be fit to prepare Wasawasa.
"...if you have sex with your husband, you have to take a spiritual bath, otherwise the food won't come out well," 19-year-old Ashietu who sells the food told Joy News in an interview.
Wasawasa is prepared from pounded dried yam. It is mixed with red beans and then boiled for hours until it turns into a rice meal.
It takes 9 hours to prepare this nutritious meal, this notwithstanding, people who enjoy the food describe Wasawasa as a nutritious meal that gives a lot of energy.