Nyamekye was born at the Hammersmith Hospital, London on the 17th of October, 1955. Her parents of blessed memory were Dr Oku Ampofo and Mrs Rosina Oku Ampofo a medical doctor and an elementary school teacher respectively who lived and worked in Ghana. In the pre-independence days in Ghana, medical doctors were scarce and had to be trained abroad, as such doctors were part of the privileged class. Dr and Mrs Oku Ampofo came to London for the birth of Nyamekye because their previous children had all died at young ages from the sickle cell anaemia disease. The couple hoped that the more advanced health facilities in London would help their next child live. Nyamekye was also born with the dreaded sickle cell anaemia desease. She was named Nyamekye which means ‘God’s Gift’ by her mother with the hope that God would help take care of her. Nyamekye was an only child.
Her elementary education started at Mampong Akuapem in the Eastern Region of Ghana and then to the Achimota Primary School which is a co-educational boarding school in Accra, Ghana, joining the primary Class Two in 1963. While at the primary school, Nyamekye had several health challenges common to sickle cell sufferers. In Primary School, Nyamekye was small in stature and came across as a delicate child and she was thus treated as such. Accordingly, she had special privileges such as having warm baths when the other pupils had cold ones and having home cooked food and pastries brought to her at weekends. She shared these items generously with friends. At Girl Guide camps she slept on a proper bed unlike the other Guides. In spite of these privileges, Nyamekye was never pompous or loud as some of the privileged ones were. She was gentle, friendly and kind.
Nyamekye had her secondary school education at the Aburi Girls Secondary School, Aburi also in the Eastern region of Ghana from 1967 to 1972. She did her sixth form course in the same school from 1972 to 1974. Nyamekye’s poor health continued in secondary school however she was determined to succeed in life and live life to the full. She therefore never gave her poor health as an excuse not to participate in any normal activity with the exception of strenuous physical exercises. Nyamekye committed her life to the Lord Jesus in sixth form.
She entered the University of Cape Coast in the Central Region of Ghana in the year 1974 and completed her Bachelor’s in Arts degree specializing in Sociology and English in the year 1977. She was a very active member of the Inter hall Christian Fellowship and the University Protestant choir. It was during this period that Nyamekye met Mr Senyo Tetteh who was then studying Architecture at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. The couple met at a Christian Students’ Conference in December 1975 and started dating the following year. Because the couple went to Universities in different cities and the fact that reliable telephones were non-existent at the time, their dating activity involved mostly letter writing with the occasional meeting.
Nyamekye did the statutory compulsory one year national service and an additional year teaching History at her Alma Matter Aburi Girls Secondary School from 1977 to 1979. In spite of the desire of her parents to go and read Law at the University, Nyamekye discovered during National Service that her passion was in the field of teaching. She therefore decided that she would go back to University after the National Service and specialize in African History, a subject she loved.
Nyamekye entered the prestigious University of Ghana at Legon in Accra Ghana and did a two year master’s degree in her favourite subject “African History” from 1979 to 1981. Soon after her postgraduate studies she got married to her sweetheart Senyo Tetteh who she had met five years before. The wedding took place in July 1980 at the Aburi Girls Secondary School chapel. Senyo was by then working as an Architect with a private firm in Liberia because of a recession in the building industry of Ghana.
When Nyamekye joined Senyo in Liberia after the wedding, she initially took on a low paying job to supplement her husband’s income. Senyo was touched by her humility and modesty. After about a year Nyamekye got a job as an Assistant Lecturer in the History department of the University of Liberia. Nyamekye and Senyo lived and worked in Liberia for five years from 1980 to 1985. Nyamekye was a conscientious worker who was thought of highly by her students and colleagues. She was surprisingly in such good health during this period and she had her two sons without any health complications during the deliveries. At one time she was even part of a women’s aerobic exercise group together with her friends Vivian Isaac and Beverly Barnes.
When Senyo her husband lost his job after the recession brought on by the military coup in Liberia, the family moved to England in 1985. In the United Kingdom while Senyo tried to get a job to support the family, Nyamekye again took on low paying jobs despite Senyo’s insistence that this was unnecessary in the light of the family savings and initial state support. She used to leave the house at 4 am to go to work. God started to bless the family financially after approximately six months of arrival in the UK when both Nyamekye and Senyo got permanent jobs in 1986. Nyamekye decided to change professions and move into Social Work because of her love for people especially children. She took her faith in Jesus very seriously and she spent a lot of her time reading the bible and praying for her family and friends when she was home. It was not surprising therefore that she miraculously got a job with Brent Local Authority in their Social Services Department. Although she was late for the job interview and was the only applicant who had Sociology instead of a Social Work degree, she so impressed the interviewers that she got the job as a Fostering and Adoption Officer. She later told Senyo that God had revealed the questions and answers to her in a dream and this was the reason for her unusual excellent performance at the interview. She worked at Brent from 1986 to 1988. God blessed the family in the United Kingdom in many ways and Nyamekye despite her earlier health challenges before marriage, Nyamekye continued to be in such good health. Senyo usually joked when the boys and him had severe colds in winter and had to be nursed back to health by Nyamekye, that she was the healthiest member of the family. Because of the long distance to work in Brent, Nyamekye moved to work with Hackney Social Services sometime in 1988. She continued to work very hard at her new place of work and her bosses were impressed by her commitment to work and the fact that she hardly missed a day at work. Her work colleagues in Brent and Hackney will be shocked to hear that Nyamekye had sickle cell anaemia desease which affected her energy levels and therefore made her tire so easily. She never complained about her health and just got on to doing whatever tasks that she had to do. She told Senyo often when he asked that she should take a rest that her mom had advised her not to allow her health to be an excuse to not live life to the full. Nyamekye lived life to the full. She often organized the family to visit Museums and other places of interest in the UK and trips abroad to Ghana, Italy, the USA and Canada to visit family and friends. The family weekends were always busy with activity. Nyamekye was a devoted wife and mother and she loved her husband dearly. Like her husband, she was interested in helping marriages thrive as such the couple were almost always part of their church Family Life ministry wherever they lived. Accordingly, she supported her husband in pre and post marital counseling and also to run couples bible studies in their homes in Liberia, the UK and in Ghana. She had such high moral values that her presence often made many people who knew her decide to do the right thing in situations they would have done otherwise. Her husband and sons often jokingly referred to her as ‘the headmistress.’
The family moved back to Ghana in 1993 to help support Nyamekye’s ageing parents. Although her parents lived about an hour’s drive from Accra where she lived with her family, Nyamekye took time off often to be with her parents. She took time off to take her mother to her hospital appointments until her mother died in 1996. She continued to combine her fulltime work as an Administrator first with the United States Aid for International Development (USAID) and the British High Commission in Accra Ghana with looking after her aged father and her own nuclear family. Her father died in 1998. Nyamekye continued to be in good health until 2006 when she started to feel unwell. During a visit to the Doctor in 2008 we were told that she had developed chronic kidney disease and she should start dialysis immediately. Senyo and Nyamekye both shed tears that day and decided to seek a second opinion in the UK.
Nyamekye and her husband travelled to the UK sometime in 2008 where the doctors confirmed the earlier diagnosis of chronic kidney disease leading to kidney failure. Nyamekye and Senyo decided to fight the disease through prayer and natural remedies however Nyamekye’s health continued to deteriorate at a fast rate. She lost a lot of weight and was very ill during this period. Because the cost of dialysis in Ghana is prohibitive and the family could not afford the treatment, Nyamekye and Senyo decided that she moved back to the United Kingdom to be do dialysis. Nyamekye disliked the cold weather in the United Kingdom and the fact that she was away from her family. She therefore visited Ghana for a month during the summer and Christmas holidays and Senyo visited the United Kingdom as often as he could usually twice a year. Those visits to Ghana were memorable occasions because Nyamekye enjoyed them tremendously and she seized the opportunity to invite her family and friends over for meals. Nyamekye loved to cook and she took time to teach family and friends how to prepare delicious recipes. She continued to be an active member of the Ilford Elim Pentecostal Church (City Gates) and she hardly missed a church service. To keep herself busy and active, she volunteered with the Redbridge Foodbank, a Charity Organisation for the homeless where many a week she was on duty serving food to the homeless and disadvantaged. Last November, her health suddenly deteriorated after she moved flats and this she did after taking her usual annual winter flu vaccination. The vaccination caused her to feel very ill. She ignored pleadings from family and friends to spend the Christmas in London and instead planned to travel to Ghana. She had planned to leave London, UK for Christmas in Ghana on the 17th of December, 2013 however, she was taken ill on that day and had to be admitted into hospital where she spent three days. When she came out of hospital she was still quite unwell but travelled to Accra, Ghana with her youngest son Oku on Christmas day. The whole time she was in Ghana although quite unwell, she tried to participate in most of the Christmas family activities. She returned to London on Sunday the 18th of January, and was rushed to the London Whipps Cross Hospital on Monday night where she died at dawn on Wednesday the 22nd of January, 2014. Nyamekye, was an amazing lady. She lived life to the full and we know she is now permanently healed from all pain and sickness which is certainly better. However, she will be sorely missed by all her loved ones and friends especially her best friend and husband Senyo and their two sons Eli and Oku. She was such a good human being.
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