Born: 1975
Financial adoption: Mrs. Jellema – Dekker; J.J. Trommelen; fam. van Dijk en Beltjens, all from Holland.
Abena is a severely mentally handicapped woman who was born in the mid seventies. In 2001 she was brought from the mental hospital in Accra to Hand in Hand Community. At that time, she was lonely and frustrated, probably because she missed her friend Afia, who had been brought to Hand in Hand the year before. Abena has her own place where she always sits, directly next to the dining-hut. You don’t miss her because of her strong personality and loud deep voice. She often screams and weeps out loud and with her loud voice nobody misses her weeping hours. Sometimes the cause is obvious to understand (a missing ball, tin or other treasure) but often she cries without obvious cause. If Abena is crying intensely, she often takes off her clothes and runs around naked. After consoling her in all kind of ways we now leave her to cry her tears and then start her work at the workshop. If at the workshop she behaves in a disturbing way she is ushered firmly but gently on the verandah till she has regained her composure. She likes the workshop and the beadwork so this approach helps to reduce her extravagant behavior-sessions. Naturally Abena can also be very happy. She roars with laughter, and then shakes your hand enthusiastically. Abena doesnt talk but she can say mama. She loves necklaces and medicines. On the other hand, she hates money. If you would give her some, she throws it on the floor with disgust!