Claudia is a writer, a doctor in Ghana and currently a student, studying on a master’s programme at Cardiff University.
Can you tell me a bit more about yourself, when did you start to write?
I started writing in my teens when I became hooked on books like Nancy Drew, Hardy boys, Mallory Tower and the Secret Seven. I adored Enid Blyton and I wanted to be just like her, so I decided to pen some stories. I started keeping a journal, which I have continued to do since I was fourteen years old!
What drives you to continue writing today?
I enjoy writing because it gives me a voice. It allows me to express things that are sometimes difficult to say verbally, to pour out feelings and ideas that are inside, bursting to come out.
I am always pleased when people enjoy reading my articles: when they say that they enjoyed it, that it made a difference in their lives or it made them understand something clearly. This always encourages me to find time to write.
Which writers do you admire most?
Jeffrey Archer, for his wit and clean crisp English, I love the twists in his tales. Sidney Sheldon, for his larger than life characters, I can never put his books down until I’ve reached the end. Maya Angelou, her poem Phenomenal Woman makes me proud to be female. Martina Odonkor, also known as Mamle Kabu, Kuukua Dzibordi-Yomekpe and Elizabeth Irene-Baitie. These are awarding-winning Ghananian writers; I aspire to be like them, if not better!
Where else do you go when you need inspiration?
My favourite place to write is on the beach. The breeze relaxes me and clears my mind. It reminds me of God’s beauty and grace. At moments like this I always feels feel intensely grateful for my life, I write down whatever I feel at that moment.
Thankfully back home in Ghana I live in Tema, a coastal town, so this is something I can do often. I even worked on an offshore vessel for a year before coming to Cardiff.
Do you like living in Cardiff? What do you think of it?
I absolutely love it. I love the fact that I can easily walk to most places, I walked from Heath Hospital to Cardiff Bay last weekend. My favourite place is the Cardiff Museum; it transports me into another era. I think I would have enjoyed living in the days of bonnets, full gowns, lace brollies and horse-drawn carriages!
As an international student I also enjoy meeting people from all over the world. Although I am the only African in my class, I am comfortable studying with doctors from Thailand, Malaysia, India, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, to name a few.
Claudia’s writing, Burning Blues
“This is an excerpt from one of my manuscripts. I chose this because it made my Dad laugh when he first read it and that always warms my heart.”
Once I had the misfortune of accidentally dropping her favourite ceramic mug. Thankfully, there was not even a hairline crack in it, yet, amazingly, she arrived at the salon and immediately started berating me.
“You careless and useless bush girl! How dare you drop my mug!” She was foaming at the mouth.
“Where is it?”
“If you have so much as cracked it, you shall experience my wrath!” As if what I was experiencing was not it!
My heart was beating so fast and so loudly that it could have jumped out of my chest.
I hurriedly and clumsily went to the back room to bring the prized mug, nearly dropping it a second time.
“Waa, look at her! Do you want to cause more damage to it? What is wrong with you?”
“If we were anywhere else but in this salon, I would have given you a very spicy enema that would have taught you an unforgettable lesson! Give it to me! Let me look at it!”
She grabbed the mug from my quivering fingers and scrutinized it as a scientist would have a specimen under the microscope. It seemed like eternity before she finally put the mug on the styling counter.
“You are lucky that nothing happened to my mug!” Her tone was still threatening but a decibel lower in intensity.
“I am sorry!” I said in a squeaky voice.
“You better be! Now go and buy me some bread from Auntie Ewurafua’s shop, on the double, you careless girl!”
I surely would have been in big trouble had I broken her mug because Madam never jokes with her breakfast. Had the mug been destroyed, in what would she have prepared her daily cocoa drink of six heaped tablespoons of chocolate powder, half a tin of evaporated milk and two cubes of sugar? She typically accompanies this concentrated beverage with half a loaf of freshly baked white bread, loaded with an omelette – made of four eggs, sardine, onions, tomatoes, green pepper – and baked beans. Two sachets of water must be on standby.
She usually takes her time to eat breakfast and it can last for as long as an hour. How someone as slim as she, could eat so much still amazes me!