The Late Christine Akosua Atubra Dzogbenuku
I desire to depart to be with the Lord, which is better by far” Philippians 1:23
Christine Akosua Atubra Dzogbenuku “Da Tine or Christie” as she was popularly called was born on 12th November, 1944 at Dodi Papase in the present day Oti Region of Ghana.
Her parents, both of blessed memory were Leonard Gobe Yao Atubra and Madam Louise Abra Adzigbe, from the Tendeku Clan of Ve-Koloenu. Christie was the sixth and last child of her father Gobe Yao Atubra, who lived and had cocoa farms at Dodi Papasi, Tentianyor and Dodo Amanfro in Oti Region.
No sooner had Christie come into the world and started toddling, when she was beset by the early tragedy of losing her mother.
Not long after that, her father also followed. So, Christie grew up, not knowing her parents.
Madam Clara Ankusi Atubra, a benevolent aunt who also lived at Papase at the time with her husband, Papa Addo, assumed the care of the orphan Christie in addition to their two young boys, whole heartedly. They treated the young Christie as their daughter, with love and affection, providing all that would make her feel at home.
The couple taught the three children humility, respect, truthfulness, and obedience, and above all hard work. Christie grew up knowing the couple as her parents and called them Mama and Papa.
Christie started her primary education at Papase E.P. Primary School and continued to the Middle School completing in 1959. The training acquired at home, which she displayed at school, coupled with hard work, made the teachers and her mates, love, and admire her. She held the position of Class Prefect until Form 4 and was eventually made Girls Prefect of the school. When she completed school, she helped her aunt in her bakery business. Christie grew up to be a very beautiful, respectful, and obedient teenager admired by everybody. Christie was baptized and confirmed into the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
On one of her regular visits home to Ve-Koloenu, her father-in-law to be, suggested to his son, Ras-Desta Dzogbenuku, then a soldier based in Kumasi, to take notice of her and make plans to marry her. He immediately consulted her parents and performed the marital rites before returning to Kumasi. As soon as the month ended, he returned to take Christie away to Kumasi. Christie’s separation from her aunt, was very emotional.
It was like the Biblical separation of Ruth and Naomi. Christie was then a member of the E.P. Church choir and so on that Sunday immediately after Church service, the choir marched in procession to escort her to the roadside to see her and her husband off. Christie’s husband was transferred to Accra shortly after she arrived in Kumasi, and on arriving in Accra, Chico as he was nicknamed, was immediately enrolled in the Ghana Military Academy and Training School.
Not long afterwards, their first child Marilyn was born at home in VeKoloenu. Christie and her family lived at Michel Camp and later at Flagstaff House. After a few years Christie and her little three children – Marilyn, Charles and Alex joined Chico in the United Kingdom, 1968, where Chico, was then Secretary to the Military Attaché to the Ghana High Commission in London. While in London, Christie took the opportunity to attend the Singer School of Fashion School, where she learned how to cut patterns, and sew clothes. She also bought her first electric sewing machines while there. They were in London for three years, where their last born, Brigitte, was born. They returned to Ghana in 1971. On their return to Ghana, Christie spent a large part of her time, honing her sewing skills and eventually started making and selling clothes. She spent time teaching young ladies to cut and sew, as well.
Indeed, had it not been for the restrictive nature of the Armed Forces Regulations, and the fact that she was married to a man who lived the military regulations, she might have gone into full time dressmaking as a trade. Unfortunately, she was limited to doing it only as a hobby, or part-time. In effect, Christie was a full-time stay-at-home spouse.
In 1982, Christie had the opportunity to travel to the United States of America for a year, where her husband was on a course, at the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She went on that trip with her last baby, Brigitte. During these trips abroad, Christie was often thrown into very unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations, because of her modest background, and it was not easy fitting into the role of military hostess, as the wife of an army officer.
This was a role she was destined to play throughout her life, as the man she was married to, was intent on rising all the way to the top. After visiting him in Lebanon, Cairo, Israel, and a few other countries where he was either on a course, or some operation, combined with the numerous military functions and receptions they were invited to in Ghana, she gradually eased her way into the role of a senior military spouse.
She often confided in her children though, that she really did not enjoy these big, noisy functions, but being the devoted wife and mother that she was, she never complained, or reneged on her ‘military wife’ duties. Christie loved gardening. She cultivated little gardens wherever she and her family were posted. In 6BN in Tamale, she always had fresh tomatoes, okro, nkontomire, and peppers behind her kitchen, and always cooked her meals with these fresh crops. In 2BN in Takoradi, where her husband was Commanding Officer, and therefore living in a house with a bigger compound, she went into lettuce, green peppers, cauliflower, to name a few.
At this time, she began taking orders from restaurants and retailers. Eventually, she and her family moved to Whistler Barracks, Teshie, where Chico was then Commandant, Ghana Military Academy and Training Schools, and here, because there were large acres of unbuilt land.
she started gardening on a modestly commercial scale. She spent a lot of time in her garden growing vegetables like cabbages, lettuce, carrots, green peas, shallots, cauliflower, and green peppers. Every morning and evening saw her dresse up in her gardening outfit and tending to her veggies and shifting her sprinklers. What started as a small hobby, began earning her money when she became a regular supplier to various restaurants in Accra. Christie loved to cook and did not encourage her children to buy street food or eat from outside the home. She made her own kenkey and waakye and her food was always commended by friends of her children who visited often and were well fed. She was a fantastic hostess and would ensure that she left no stone unturned when her husband’s friends or others visited the Dzogbenuku home.
There would always be a supply of drinks home-made khebabs, pepper grilled chicken, her own domedo recipe and indeed heavy meals like fufu and light soup or banku and okro soup. Her soups they say were to die for. In fact the adage was “where two or three are gathered, there shall be a party!”. Such was her love for cooking that she almost rendered the Commandant’s cook Corporal Amu redundant.
In 1988 when her husband retired from the Armed Forces, they settled at Teshie Nungua Estates. Being devout Christians, they joined the United Church in Teshie Nungua Estates. Christie enrolled in the Church Choir, while her husband Chico joined the Men’s Fellowship. Christie also displayed her selfless devotion to the Church choir. Even back at home, she always identified with the choir by joining them whenever they paid a visit. Christie and Chico both worshipped at the United Church until 2011 when her beloved husband was called to eternity.
In 2016, Christie moved to Agbogba, North Legon, to live with her elder daughter, Marilyn who had lost her husband. Christie’s health gradually began to deteriorate and was receiving medical attention from time to time. Her children ensured she got all the medical attention they could afford, to keep her well and strong. However, on 4th July, 2021, she took her last breath on earth, and went to join our Father who is in Heaven.
The Late Nii Amartey Laryea
And I heard a voice from heaven saying “write this down: blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes says the spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from this work; for their good deeds follow them” Revelation 14:13
Early Life and Education
Nii Amartey Laryea was born in Takoradi on November 27, 1958 to the Late Seth Nii Amarh Laryea of Amaartse We, Accra and a surviving mother, Gladys Tiyaa Ampofo of Aburi. He started his formal education in Takoradi and finished at Aburi KEMP School. He was an alumnus of St Paul Technical School in Kukurantumi and Takoradi Technical University majoring in Electrical Engineering.
Career and work life
Nii started his career as an Electrical Engineer and worked briefly with the defunct General Electrical Company in Accra. During the 1983 economic meltdown in Ghana, he travelled to Nigeria to find greener pastures. He however returned after a short stay. Upon his return to Ghana, he decided to reactivate his Art skills which he had acquired in 1975 from a Mallam. Together with his uncle Nana Asabre Bampoe II, (popularly known as Yellow Man) and cousin Miller Opoku Ware and a few others, they set up the carving village at Aburi popularly known as “Y Junction” or the “Aburi Craft village”. Soon their trade stabilized and started attracting many young people who were equally unemployed to be trained and earn a living.
He was for a very long time, the General Secretary of the Aburi Industrial Centre, under his leadership the Centre had an agreement with the University of Ghana where students were attached to the Centre to be trained as part of their Industrial Attachment. A relationship was also built with Ghana Export Promotion Council, ATAG and other organizations which run a series of training for the carvers.
He was made a Board member of the Craft Village and subsequently Board Chairman until his unfortunate demise. He loved his work so much and always wanted to be present to ensure his artworks are kept well and ready for the market. Even in his final week when he wasn’t well, he went to work from Monday to Saturday until he decided to visit the clinic on Sunday.
His trade in crafts took him to other parts of the world including Germany, USA and UK. In the year 2002, the Lansing City Council in Michigan USA recognized him as a volunteer for the All Around African World Museum Reading Readiness.
In that same year, the Lansing State Journal published his works in their newspapers commending him for bringing handmade African Art to the Lansing Community in Michigan, USA. (26th August 2002)
As part of his retirement plan, he was establishing an art gallery at home so he could sell his products online through www.niiamarteysgallaery.com but this could not be completed before his home call, God had a different plan for him.
When the Missionaries of the Church of Christ first came to Aburi in the 1980’s, Nii was baptized and became a member of the new Church that was planted. His dedication to duty and passion for the Lord’s work came to bear soon after his baptism. He was a dedicated member of the Church and nothing would prevent him from attending Sunday service as well as midweek church activities. He picked up major duties in the church until he was made a steward of the Mampong Church of Christ in 2000 when Preacher Eric Budu of Blessed memory was transferred.
With dedication to service and the support of the leaders at Mampong in particular and the Churches of Christ on the ridge, he was able to serve as a steward for over 20years.
His social life was centered around the church and his family. He had great love for children and would ensure that children are well catered for at any occasion especially at church.
He would attend all naming ceremonies, weddings and funerals of church members as well as family members.
Family and Children
Nii was first married to Madam Alice Koranteng in 1985 and divorced in 1987. The union had a son. He later married Mrs.Edna Keteku Laryea in 1991 and had three children out of the marriage.
Physically he looked strong and his brush with sickness was nothing anticipated. He drove on his own to the clinic never to return. July 4th 2021, shall always be remembered for the painful exit of Nii Amartey Laryea.
He was survived by his mother, wife, four Children and three grandchildren.
MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE.