We all have a relative who is not family. Like Uncle Joe

The first time I met Uncle Joe was when he visited my family at our home in Abeka. I do not recall what introductions were done on that day but the visit was memorable for the beautiful smock (batakari) he gifted to my dad. My younger brother and I remembered him as the uncle who promised to bring us smocks but has not – till date, he still has not.

When my parents sent me to our hometown in Abor to live with my aunt for a while, I saw more of Uncle Joe. There, my cousins called him “Brother Joseph”. Those who were very respectful referred to him as “Efo Brother Joseph”. It was there, in my hometown, I learned how Uncle Joseph was related to us. He was not!

He comes from Agbozume and met my family when he got enrolled in Abor Secondary School. He stayed in our house as a tenant and attended school because Aborsco (as the school was nicknamed) was a day school. Well, that was all I was told at that time.

My family must have been really good to him. Several years after completing secondary, he still visited us. He attended family gatherings and was even more loyal to the family than some of us who were blood. Through attending training college and getting his first few teaching postings, Uncle Joe remained as constant as K in a mathematical formula in my family.

I completed junior secondary school and left my hometown for Anloga to pursue senior secondary education. I did not hear from or about Uncle Joe for a while. One day, somewhere in my second year in secondary school, my father called me.

“Boy, your sister, Sefakor, is getting married next month. Can you get an exeat and come home?”

I was super excited. Some “akonta sika” would flow!

“Who is she getting married to?” I asked.

My sister is ten years older than I am and we did not grow up together so I did not relate much to her to be in on her love life and know whether she was in a relationship leading to marriage and who she was dating.

“Joseph”, my dad answered.


“Oh! Your uncle Joe”, the old boy clarified.

I could not hold myself from laughing. “I see…”, that’s all said and dropped the call.

Everything was clearer now. His exclusive visits to my nuclear family alone and his fondness of my siblings and I, especially my eldest sister could now be explained. Sly man, Uncle Joe! All the time we were referring to him as blood, he was working thing out to authenticate it. And he achieved it.

Uncle Joe has been married to my sister for ten years now and they have three beautiful children. They even named their first son after me. It still does not change the fact that a man I thought was my uncle is now my brother-in-law.