King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village
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The charming real-life fairy tale of an American secretary who discovers she has been chosen king of an impoverished fishing village on the west coast of Africa.
King Peggy chronicles the astonishing journey of American secretary, Peggielene Bartels, who suddenly finds herself king to a town of 7,000 people on Ghana's central coast, half a world away. Upon arriving for her crowning ceremony in beautiful Otuam, she discovers the dire reality: there's no running water, no doctor, no high school, and many of the village elders are stealing the town's funds. To make matters worse, her uncle (the late king) sits in a morgue awaiting a proper funeral in the royal palace, which is in ruins. Peggy's first two years as king of Otuam unfold in a way that is stranger than fiction. In the end, a deeply traditional African town is uplifted by the ambitions of its decidedly modern female king, and Peggy is herself transformed, from an ordinary secretary to the heart and hope of her community.
could certainly tell a couple of embassy staff about what had happened. Maybe they could advise her on what to do. Sighing, Peggy pushed back her swivel chair and took the elevator down to the second floor to see her friend Elizabeth, a lovely doe-eyed woman in her thirties with velvety dark skin. As Peggy told her the whole story, Elizabeth’s eyes opened wide. “Should I take it?” Peggy asked. “Yes, you have to take it!” Elizabeth replied, slapping her desk so hard a stack of visa applications
sadness of her parents’ marriage. She had spent her first decade in Washington intentionally avoiding men and concentrating on improving her secretarial skills, obtaining a diploma in computer information systems from Strayer University. For a time, she even considered becoming a nun, though she wasn’t Catholic. She had always had a spiritual calling and felt that nuns, in their habits and veils, seemed to be shielded against all the violence and injustice of the world. She started visiting the
women in the USA? Do they have courses there that teach girls how to do it? I would like to take such a course.” Peggy plunged her fork into a chunk of pineapple and thought about it. No, she hadn’t learned this particular skill in Washington, or London, for that matter, places where fighting chauvinism was a favorite female pastime. She had learned it well before she ever left Ghana. But how? Then she recalled that it had to do with the dinner dishes, which she and her siblings were supposed
death of Uncle Rockson, who had built it from scratch and lovingly maintained it, his successor never lifted a finger. The rainy season in coastal Ghana did a lot of damage to roofs and walls, and when the heaviest rains ended in late August, most families brought out ladders and cement to patch things up. But not Uncle Joseph. When a big hole opened in the ceiling over the king’s bed, he put a bucket in the middle and lay on one side of it, and his wife on the other. Uncle Rockson’s younger
cloth head wrap. Then she threw both arms straight up in the air, shaking her head violently from side to side, howling like a wounded animal, as many Ghanaian women did when emotion overcame them. “Please, Nana! Let him out!” she cried again. Peggy knew that although words were powerless to bring back her children, or her marriage, or her mother, as king she could utter one word to turn this woman’s pain into joy. I could fix her broken heart, Peggy thought, end her grief immediately. But then