Category Archives: Fun

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Go Volunteer the thing! Saturday shall not pass you by! #NVDay

Volunteer tinz
Volunteer tinz

So what are you doing on Saturday 21st? Nothing? You mean you will wake up, drag your lazy behind to look for Hausa kooko and koose, come and eat and then go back to sleep some more? Naa, you better be serious! Saturday is National Volunteer Day and it’s better you find some good to get your fingers dirty in, you lazy punk!

Ha! So talk of volunteering! I was in this guest house in Congo where it’s some women’s job to clean up and help anything we will need. I don’t ask them to do anything for me, me naa, I don’t like that! But one Saturday morning, one of them caught a volunteer spirit and when she saw I had put some rice on fire for my brunch, she hopped on it. “Oh, let me cook it for you, don’t worry, sit back and let me do it! Come back in 30 when it’s done!” I couldn’t even protest, I was like..ah! are you…ok! Ok? Lol

So she did my cooking, chale! Let me cut this story short na the memory kraa kills my volunteer vim. She cooked something like starch!!

Oh chale, starch oo! How a hungry me paa will come and find butter-soft rice sitting in the kitchen that somebody’s grown up mama has supposedly finished up as ready-to-eat, I couldn’t understand. I said a prayer for what Christmas jollof tastes like in her house!

So that is that! Did I tell you what the Ethiopians said they will do to the Nigerians? You know that the two countries have been paired to try and eliminate the other from qualifying from the World Cup next year, eh? The Ethiopians said they will send one troski-load of their world-famous pretty girls to go and catwalk in Nigeria players’ faces. Konfuse them and let them play nonsense so that their boys will win the right to the World Cup place..lol. Talk about volunteering spirit gone amiss.

So if you want to join the National Volunteer ‘thingy’, berra hurry yourself up and check out all the stuff going down on Saturday at nvday13.eventbrite.com. Unless you live under a mushroom, there’s bound to be one close to you! Or follow #NVDay anywhere a hashtag works. I think those guys at GhanaThink are just fabulous, aloo? They have turned a meaningless celebration of Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday into a volunteer movement as if all the Barcamp  Barcamp ish is not enough. Heeeyyy, go back and click on the link! The two Barcamp links. All are different things! Lazy punk won’t even take his time to read..smh! Smack Abocco on the back when you meet him in town for me, eh? Thank you!

So I’m out.

I’m not joining the volunteer day myself, and so what? Is it your concern? M’ada kraa! I will be flying into good old Accra on Saturday and just take it that I will be the one sleeping your morning sleep for you while you go round and dig worms, plant trees, sweep people’s backyards and share a hearty spirit one with another in the name of volunteering! Oya, be on your way!

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One silly boy, that awesome childhood and a Golden Baobab Prize

I have some very silly old school mates paa. Like Yaw. Imagine last time on our group Whatsapp chat he asked us whether any of us had read some Enid Blyton book bi so that he can crack a joke based on the story. See his silly self. Nobody had heard of it kraa let alone read it. He spent his little years in England and he thinks Ghanaian basic education teachers have time for snow and winter and anything else apart from Jack and Jill (the poem) and A lion (the poem).  We’re busy watching By The Fireside and kwasasa aa, wo se Enid Blyton.

So I asked him, herh you Yaw, what do you know about Ananse and how any of his children came by their names? He offered up a warped spelling of Etikelekele that I forgave him for. Does he know what it feels like to go to bed dreaming of Okonore Yaa? Does he have any idea about swallowing of Yams through an armpit, like the replacement wife God gave Ananse? He can’t be serious asking about Enid Blyton.

StorytellingEnid Blyton my hard Ghanaian foot!! Where was he when Maame Dɔkono and Doctor Rokoto were doing “yɛ waane waane waane a, ɛyɛ brɔde, anyɛ mankane” in the full glare of GTV’s one-dimesional camera they bought when colour TV was not fashionable? Kyekyekule!! If you don’t remember that song with ‘Kofi Salanga, Lala Tilanga’ in it, you can’t be a real Ghanaian. And even the Choco Milo advert with plenty kids at the beach and Choco Milo Space Ship descending from Choco Milo heaven? Yaw can never be serious.

So yeah, it’s good to read books, eh! That reminds me of Golden Baobab‘s yearly prize. They got Golden Baobabsome scrumptious prizes for different categories of kids writing and just hop over to their website and check out this year’s competition. Yeah, thank me later. If you can’t write a cool kids’ story and submit deɛɛ, there’s no hope, my friend, no hope for you.

Yes yes, I know I’ve not been writing as much as you want to read but if I don’t write, you too just be there eh? What do you want me to do? I’m not even tickled koraa mpo.

Ahaa, I’m going. They said a simple issue called counting of pink sheets is taking grown men with grey in their hair a heck of a time in the Supreme Court. Ei, people’s fathers! And they will say they used to top their classes when they were kids. Me deɛ I’m done.

You just have to love Accra

I spent some stressful day in Accra some days back, eh? Me kraa, I vowed to stay out of the capital for a long time till all the construction work is done.

Accra dey bee
Accra dey bee

Imagine: I set off like 5:45am from home far out in Akuse for a 9am meeting! I missed the meeting time not because of the length of the journey but because when I got into Accra of all places a full hour before the meeting time, I had to snail through unbelievable traffic right from the motorway till I got to the venue. Set that one against the fact that I spent more on transport picking dropping inside the capital than I did in getting into the capital and hwɛ, Accra people should take their Accra, w’ate?? Kai!

On returning, I got to Madina on this eventual day of the destruction of the old station and parts of the market to make way for the new road. Several dudes kept pointing that the station I was looking for was right up ahead, right up ahead, Oh, just keep walking – I almost ended up walking my way right out of the city, ahba! The station had been relocated to some old neglected site and no-one could just tell me!! I kept climbing over the rubble of the morning’s demolition, finding my way through the remaining half of people’s kitchens, shops and around some careless market women who didn’t mind selling their wares on top of the chaos. When I finally found my way to the station a full hour after I started searching, here I was, staring at the mother of all queues!! I kept going in an attempt to find the end of the queue, I almost collapsed. It was already 6:30pm and I had a 2 and a half hour journey ahead! I finally got a ride at 8pm so imagine!

When the bus got full too a, because all the drivers and other passengers were having a hard time finding the station, the transport fare duly got inflated, just like that!! A full extra One Ghana cedi! Oh chale!! When you’re looking for a bus home in Ghana and there are no options, like maybe it’s very late or there are scarce buses or there are chaw people looking to board, be prepared to pay up to fifty per cent increment, wae!! It happened to me that evening.

As usual, people started giving it to the driver’s mate when we set off. Only the devil can sanction such a jump in the transport cost! Aren’t all the drivers on this particular route just plain villagers? They should take this uncivilised behaviour to Nima and we’ll see if they can pay their dentist for a new set of teeth! And a whole lot of unmentionables my Christian self will not even permit me to type, oh chale! One woman even suggested that after charging all that, since the bus had no AC or radio, the mate better sing for us the whole journey or he return our change, no two ways! Some post-kaya man on the bus took that as a call for entertainment and disturbed us thenceforth with some unpalatable music from his loud China phone till we were grateful to have him get off!!

Ok, I’ll be returning to Accra again soon and this time, I hope I bring a better story. Whatever it brings, no place rocks like Ghana. I can’t wait till our 55th Anniversary next two weeks! Dɛdɛɛdɛ!!

From Ghana with Love

Today, I should share some original Ghana pictures with you all to start the year off. Some were taken in different parts of the country, others appeared in different facebook tags and the rest just surfaced!! Enjoy ankasa.

This chicken is happy, jollying itself across the neighbourhood, not knowing what in the name of soup is going to happen next!! Had it known…

Run away chicken
Run away chicken

Proud and shameless signboard announcing itself prominently on some streetside in Takoradi. We hear oo, Alhaji, we hear!!

Yoo, we hear!!
Yoo, we hear!!

Some proud repairman on the wayside had the high airs to question my reason for taking shots of his mess of a signage. Papa wei paaa!

Spot the correct spellings
Spot the correct spellings

There is no replacement for a good game of draught on the beach on a Saturday afternoon!! For these men deɛ, everyday is Saturday afternoon. Laziness papa bi!

Play and let me cut you Kwakwa
Play and let me cut you Kwakwa

And finally, one dude on Legon campus wrote his girlfriend’s name on the hard fleshy branch of a hopelessly spikeless cactus plant. Mosquito romance…you are the only sardine in my chop box!!

What does Millicent mean? Millimetre-centimetre??
What does Millicent mean? Millimetre-centimetre??

Oh, one last one. One last one!

Hot shot - No comments!
Hot shot - No comments!

Let the year bring us many unfortunate people to poke fun at, can I get an Amen on that!!

‘MAMA, MERRY CHRISTMAS!’ – ‘WOBƐRE EYI….!!’

Merry Christmas.

A New year dawns
A New year dawns

When we ruled the neighbourhood as little kids, Christmas was about mischief. Knock on someone’s door and run, call your friend out and point a water gun in his face or just go stake balloon lotto till you get bored. Try-your-luck: that’s what we called it! I have no idea why I never won any fat balloon on that thing…smh.

So Christmas is here again and come and see Ghanaian children singing all over about their dreams for a white Christmas. Snowy white Christmas! Cracked lips and Harmattan is all they’ll get. I hear some shopping mall at Spintex dressed a host of Father Christmases to give away freebies to taxi drivers….there was a looong queue…lol.

Ok, so enjoy the season. Let 2012 come and let’s get more action as we roam Ghana a little again, catching people to bash.

Today is Boxing Day. Be nice to everyone you meet in the way, lest ye be boxed, Amen!

GHANAIAN TRAFFIC, SOME NIGERIAN DUDE AND OKYEHENE’S CHRISTMAS

Christmas is coming and Ghana is getting fidgety about it all again. Children are pestering their parents for toys and what-nots and big people too are planning parties and the like, looking for a chance to spare Christmas no forgiveness. In Ghana, we only know if Christmas is around the corner when traffic rises like some old woodcutter’s blood pressure. It’s happening again!

Accra traffic
Accra traffic

I went to Winneba last week, relishing the chance to run away from Accra traffic. Look at me, forgetting that it’s November and everyone has started doing their own Christmas shopping. Winneba too oo, in the middle of November, I went to sit in some traffic eh, me naa I wanted to come back to Accra and come and sleep. Oh forgerrabourit!! Winneba is way cooler then Accra kraa when it comes to traffic. I enjoyed the place and gave my sister’s neighbour an early Christmas gift, teaching her to drive.

I run to Takoradi on my last day at Winneba to pick up some stuff and look around, and when I sat down to eat some nice jollof bi at some joint around where that huge City Lights billboard is, here comes some Nigerian dude who sits across from me in the restaurant. I smiled at him, welcomed him to the table and the conversation began.

As we talked, I kept the innocent schoolboy smile. In all manner of bossy tones, this guy derided Ghana just like that, oh chale! Ghanaians will sit here and Nigerians, like him, will come and take all our oil money away. Nigerians are big! When they do stuff, they do it HUGE! For Ghanaians, small is cute and we like it like that! Not Nigeria. “See, wona good pastors don good well well! Di bad wons too no get shame. Our bad businessmen too fi chop your money better. Simple simple people for Nigeria fi show you money wey your eyes never see before. Wona population too make um easy say whether good tin or bad tin wey Nigerian person dey do, everybody go know say na Naija man be dat.” Then he went on to lecture me about how Swedru is the Yahoo capital of Ghana, when I told him I would leave our table and then just hop unto a bus for Winneba, the next town from Swedru. He actually laughed at me for not knowing how terrible Swedru is when it comes to yahoo boys. Oh, that is how Nigerians call fraudulent internet Sakawa boys oo. And he knew because some of his boys hang out over there. Then switching from pidgin now, “And all those pirate CDs that they sell on the streets in Accra and over here, I know where they even bring them all from in Nigeria. That one is just child’s play for the people who do it? They don’t even see anything wrong with it again, ah ah.”

Sam was a nice young man oo, but to boast about Nigeria and mention many negatives instead made me shake my head ankasa, when I was riding back to Winneba. We exchanged contacts for the fact that we were all interested in each other’s countries and then parted ways, maybe never to meet again.

One thing that Sam doesn’t know is that slowly slowly, it is Ghanaians who are chopping Nigerian people’s money!! It’s even laughable. The amount of money that Nigerians spend in schooling in Ghana every year is more than the money they budget for education in their country.

Winneba Sunset
Winneba Sunset

Yeah, so I was talking about Christmas in Accra. Go to the mall now and see the silly things they have hung over there. Ghanaians celebrated the American Thanksgiving Day here even more than Americans themselves koraa mpo. I’m sure some Ghanaians even had the famous Thanksgiving turkey koraa to top it! And why must it be turkeys alone that get slaughtered at Thanksgiving at all? I can guess it was a lack of turkey money that made me see those people on the next street slaughter a chicken on the day!! Hehe…na Thanksgiving too, is it by force? Some man went to insult the Okyehene and got summoned last week to the palace to come and clear his name. After a fruitless defense, he was asked to pay compensation with 72 snow-white sheep…loool. After all, Okyehene too deserves to eat Christmas meat…na nneɛma!

72 times Sheepish
72 times Sheepish

Okay, enjoy December and make sure you stay safe oo. No accidents and the like. Let’s see 2012 together and find more people to bash! It’s ok, your ears itch you too much, ahba…..

Beat the Harmattan with AfroChic Harmattan Collection

Beat the Crap Outta the Harmattan
Beat the Crap Outta the Harmattan

I hate the Harmattan! Every year it beats me dry! This year, I have a mind to beat the harmattan to it la. Every year, I crack my lip before I realise that the dryness has been around. This year deɛɛ, no way! So I’m doing all my harmattan recruitment before time, nkuto and all.

Welcome: Rock the Beauty
Welcome: Rock the Beauty

Ok, in the spirit of harmattan, I received a facebook invite to a clothing exhibition…ok wait…this is not just one of them oo. This is AfroChic. Ah, you’re still asking what it is? Ok, let me update you sharp sharp. The thing that caught my two eyes was the name. The exhibition was tagged The Harmattan Collection and right there, it was an instant hit for me! So, one more place to visit for Harmattan shopping. Let’s go wae, na adzɛn!!

Better than Persian Gold
Better than Persian Gold

I went to take a look. First thing I did was look up directions online. And when I got to the place camera in hand, my my…the green carpet!! Freshly manicured grass that seemed to mock and defy the harmattan spread out before me…and the exhibition was outdoor…just revolutionary. So, in the beautiful sun and shade, I stepped on the green carpet and made for the show. Some lady and gentleman manikins stood there to usher me in and I felt welcome at first sight.

Green Carpet Manikin Welcome
Green Carpet Manikin Welcome

So I checked out the designs hanging from the racks. Different colours, different shades, different designs and different sizes. Look, this sounds like hype when you read from AfroChic’s website! Daada wo ho!! I saw them fiili fiili with my naked eyes. I was stuck at the dresses section for a long time, wondering how such beautiful outfits hadn’t all been snapped up already. I walked over to Esi Cleland and asked her how she got such awesome names for each and every design. Professor Charming, Harmattan Pawpaw (yep, I saw that coming…lol), Floral Punctuation and more. My favourite was one called Incredible Rosy or so. Everyone who tried that one stood out like a red rose in the midst of whites. The clothes caught me in their bright patterns and I knew I had a good time coming.

Esi
Esi

As time went, people kept coming and going, each person finding something that fit and getting helped to find a perfect fit. Everyone walked away satisfied. I heard Esi tell one lady that she wouldn’t be allowed to walk away with that dress because it looked all tacky on her…now that’s customer care!! So I was smiling all through. I saw that friends came and flattered themselves with a design or two, first-timers came and were so lost in variety that, they lost track of time. As for me, I just observed. I took enough pictures to share with you all and keep you waiting for the next exhibition. There’s one every three months, yep! So start preparing for the next when you hear of it! And please, I’ve already taken all the pictures so when you go, don’t go and sightsee, w’ate? Go and buy some for your wardrobe. It will wash your sins away!

Colours
Colours

If you want to see the whole album, I put it here on facebook for you all. Don’t miss it.
Ok, for those who have seen the pictures and were asking if I’ve now become a male model, please please please….why??

Oh oh…before I forget, you can make an online order and get it shipped for a small fee for you. Nobody gets left out of AfroChic. I walked away from that exhibition feeling so covered for the harmattan.

So I’m continuing my harmattan shopping. And those of you who are still sitting at home waiting for the sand to rain Saharan dryness on you, repent and go get yourself AfroChic. I’m going to enjoy this year’s harmattan and right now, I’m out, just like that…in style!

Out...Just Gone!
Out...Just Gone!

GOD TO MEET YOU; IT’S A PRESSURE!! OH..AND BLOG ANNIVERSARY ON WORLD BLOG DAY

Some people are doing their own things on earth paa oo. When judgement day comes eh, they will all slack like no one’s business.

Can you imagine? Today is the anniversary of my blog. I started this one last year and I’ve enjoyed every article I have written so far. When I go back and read, I see the many places I’ve been, the stuff I’ve seen, the amazing colour of this country Ghana. It’s utterly amazing but Ghanaians are some of the most remarkable people in the world, no jokes!

I love African markets
I love African markets

I was walking around Makola last week and run into a chaotic scene of a woman complaining bitterly and the others listening, telling her, ‘Amalia, it’s ok, eh? It’s ok!!’ I wondered what it was all about and in catching wisps of the conversation, I realised she had been duped. Someone had taken no small amount of her money and her day was ruined, while she rained countless blasphemies on the dude’s head. I was like, “Easy, Madam, easy. God will meet him somewhere and it will be his pressure to answer!”

The same day, I was in a trotro towards Circle and the mate was in this huge quarrel with a lady on board when I got on. So huge that the mate could hardly concentrate and give me an answer when I asked how much my fare was! And you see, the lady was a Northerner. Thing is, there are very many Northern dialects that we southerners don’t understand a word of!! Kai, the lady used the advantage!! She cursed and swore, rained expletives and abominable profanities in another tongue on the poor mate to heart’s content!! Everyone in the bus just kept telling the mate to cease retorting. ‘Don’t mind her. Don’t mind her!’ After a while, the mate listened, but not without occasionally replying her back with “Ekraa, wo ti bɔɔ fɛm” loool. Oh sorry, it means ‘whatever, your head still hit the ground’. Hehe…his simple case was that, for a lady to be so ill-mannered and uncontrollably insulting, she must have hit her head on the ground when she was born….haha. All her brain was distorted. And no matter what the lady insulted, this was all the mate will say. Before long, the entire bus was laughing with the mate, at the lady. She was incensed. Once we got to Circle, she stuck her head out and called by first name to some policeman directing the rising traffic at rush hour, asking him to hurry up, na there was this document-less trotro she was driving in. He should hurry up, hurry up. The policeman was baffled, not hearing her from the distance and over all the noise of cars on the road, not finding any fun in having to follow this car that just kept moving. Oh, by then, the mate and driver were as quiet as the reception room to hell, afraid that if they were not smart, they would have to visit the police counters!! Their luck was that the policeman gave up the lady’s calling and they had the chance to speed away to dump us all at the station a safe distance away, whew. When you do the wrong thing and then for God to meet you, it’s a serious pressure!

Ok, that’s supposed to be ‘good to meet you,’ and the response is ‘it’s a pleasure’.

Black Star at heart
Black Star at heart

Ahaa, today is world blog day!! There are a couple of blogs you should read alongside this one. Make it count. Ghana is a beautiful country. So, new blogs, god to meet you and I daresay that’s a lot of pressure right there. Keep writing and happy world blog day, everyone.

The Vim Views & Versions – Blogs of a MIghTy African curated by Ato Ulzen-Appiah


The Gamelian World
curated by Gameli Adzaho

Cerebral Sparks curated by my own buddy Agana Agana-Nsiire

What Yo’ Mamma Never Told You About Ghana curated by Esi Cleland and having timeless resourcs on Ghana and our peculiarities too. Esi has sadly given up writing on this blog.

Nanawireko curated by (yes, you know who) Nana Wireko

And then finally,

African Soulja curated by me, as a journey through reviewing African poetry.

Do enjoy, people. Good to meet….ok…wharever…

RAMADAN RAZZMATAZZ PLUS A GUY WITH A FEW LOOSE SCREWS

I want to be carried in a kayayo’s basin this month. Oh, why are u laughing? I’m serious!!

Ahaa, it’s Ramadan, the Muslim fast. I have had a couple of experiences with Muslims since they started fasting so let me blurt it all out before their fast ends. Right now, they will spare me if I say something wrong.

All the best waakye in every neighbourhood is sold by a certain Hajia, tell me I’m lying!! All the Hausa kooko u buy on your way to work is sold by a certain other Hajia, bettings!! And then the grilled meat, the best are sold at Nima where almost everybody is a Muslim.

Ok, you see, there was once that I got to the station at Achimota, looking for a bus home. It wasn’t very late too oo but some mate came and said since there was a winding queue, they were going to charge one Ghana cedi flat!!! Instead of sixty pesewas. How they rained unmentionables at him in that queue?? No mercy at all. He was all sorry for himself before the bus got fully boarded even, people swearing at him that they’ll send him back to the village he came from before he gleaned even five extra pesewas from them. It was pathetic. If he had done this at Nima on a normal day, only he will have an abnormal day: kokooko someone will land a blow on his mouth, so help him God. Ahaa, so we boarded that bus and were of before the mate knew what was going on. Sixty pesewas we all paid him, na nneɛma!!

Not exactly a Trotro
Not exactly a Trotro

Ehen…there was a pretty Muslim lady seated beside me on that bus, prettily adorned in their mayafi, who didn’t utter a word when we were busily offending the mate. Holy Ramadan times are not for picking petty squabbles in a trotro when the East is there to be faced, so she was mute as the word all through. I guessed the month called for it or else her voice would have been most welcome in that loud castigating chorus!! And gladly would she have offered it.

Yeah, yeah the other day I was coming from Accra to Achimota again when our bus picked up a heavily rastaed man who had a few loose screws up his head, how would anyone have known?!! I’m sure he’s been making a chimney of his head, those people smoking saa, like it’s a square meal. Immediately the bus set off he started talking out loud, cursing all Ga people till kingdom come, saying that aren’t they all Nigerians who migrated here and are now claiming Accra to be their own?? “‘Ile Ife’ that’s where they came from!!! If they misbehave, we’ll burn all their houses down and gather all of them in one corner before they’ll see yes!! We’ll show them we own the land. And that foolish Rawlings, he thinks we don’t know him!! He and all the Ewes, foolish Togo people!! They are here!! Look, if it wasn’t Boakye-Gyan!! Boakye-Gyan!! like Rawlings is a small boy!! We will sack all of them to their Togo. Foolish people! Even we are not saying anything. We will burn their cars, we will burn their foolish houses and we will show them where power lies.” You see, when people are seriously doing their holy Ramadan, you are here, with no manners whatsoever, spitting nyaa to whom it may concern!! When he got down that bus, wasn’t there a general uproar over how silly some loose-heads can be?? We just drove on!!

Ahaa, on the same day, I felt so sorry for a young, pretty kayayo girl who tripped over the pavement and fell with the heavy load of goods on her head, the poor girl. She looked Muslim too, with the insignia of her religion showing, and I pitied her that she should carry so big a burden while she fasted. Sorry wae!! I felt so much to blame, I don’t even know why?!! Ahh well, I just said my sorry and walked past her too.

Ok, so yeah, my loudest greetings to all the Hajias who make all the good food at the street corners and still have no moral right to taste it to see how good the salt and spice are because it’s Ramadan. The food still maintains the quality too, so yes, I doff my scraggy hat for them. Please, Ramadan, pass fast so that they can eat, wae. And take your hungry self and go and jump into the sea, na adɛn??
Ok, I’m gone. Christmas is coming.

NATIONAL SERVICE IS DONE, ONE ISLAND THAT KEEPS CALLING, ONE GIRL

National Service is over, halleluyah!! Now to settle and find a permanent engineer job and all of that! Ei, God is good oo. Na adzɛn!!

To celebrate the end of National Service, I went on a boat cruise on the MV Dodi Princess to Dodi Island, many nautical miles off Akosombo. That boat is a real princess, I say. Three decks, a grill on the upper where you can have gizzard and tilapia, beautiful live band music on the middle deck and a little pool and a tanning area on the lower deck. The trip was just gonna be fun and as soon as I got on, I was sure of it.

Spot the Princess
Spot the Princess

So, expectations were that I’ll have a smooth cruise to the Island, see what it has on offer and then return better refreshed…in fact, shedding off the stress of these past few months. It couldn’t have been more appropriate. And if the Captain of the ferry will allow, I’ll peek into his cabin and see what sea-farers have been hiding in..lol. Little did I know I was going to come back changed!! Changed and challenged!

So there were diverse people on that boat; Caucasians, Indians, Americans, in fact, one American Joey came to ask for my standing space on the upper deck so he can smoke. These people! Ah well, I obliged! The cruise was breezy and I was snapping away at the sights, taking in the entire cool for its worth. I wanted to have fun and I was having it well.
The Island was a long spit in the distance soon and when we all got wind we were almost there, the excitement built up. We just wanted to go shake it all off. We got to the Island at approximately 1315GMT and we were to be heading back in 30minutes. So, in thirty minutes, shake off the stress, see what you can, take what pictures you can, and hop back on the ferry. Good to go! In thirty minutes, get your life changed, you don’t know!

You see, it was a trip that was made by us urban folk, going to sight-see. When we got to the landing, we saw a troupe of young people, ready with drums and all, to dance us a welcome. But us? We deserved it? That was for presidents and dignitaries. At least, that’s what the news has shown us all along. But these people were merry, simple-hearted people who had nothing to give us but their song. And in that minute, they made us their dignitaries.
When we got down to the landing, a few of us got out our cameras and stood around the troupe to send these scenes and memories back to mainland. Others joined in the now-began dance. The Island people wore clothes that you and I would most nearly use for rags and in the rising heat, many of us tourists started asking ‘Where are their houses’? Nothing showed!

Welcome party
Welcome party

You see, the Island is rocky! There’s bush all over the hillside. There’s no single structure as far as the eye can see from the landing. In fact, when we crossed the hill to the other side, we deepened our curiosity. Still no semblance of habitation, yet here were happy people, giving us their song. It looked like all they had. We didn’t even know where they had appeared from on the Island. They were poor, but in that minute, they seemed richer than us. They were the people who were alive!

Listen, the real life that God may have given us to live, still resides beyond the cliffs and the rivers, in the hearts and eyes of people who are not intelligent enough to know what a bomb is, what a gun is used for, what it means to see your neighbor suffer while you celebrate. I kept absorbing all this in as we walked up the cliff, past pockets of natives who had gathered themselves around different forms of instruments, and entertained us as we went. All they asked were any stray coins that we would be kind enough to drop in their little bowls and plates, if we thought they were doing anything worth it at all with all their music.

Along this line was a little girl not more than four years, maraca in hand, not knowing any tune to play, with a bowl in front of her, who just looked up at us as we passed. She had no song but in her eyes, when I stopped, I could see that she wanted to play us the best tune on the Island. She was adorable with her hair held up in those innocent African knots that don’t get done anymore by anyone in the city. When I knelt down beside her, she looked down shy, not even knowing what to do to please my demanding gaze. With her head still bowed, she tried to play me a tune. Incoherent, unrhythmic and not audible enough for me to hear the words! The Island people were Ewes, like me, and at least, I could have understood her just as I did all the others. She was the only one I wanted to understand. I couldn’t. She moved her maracas and made a slow rattle sound that accompanied her tune. Her grace cut me to the heart. This girl was the reason why I came to the Island.

I pushed a tear back (yes, I mean that!!) and a note into her side pouch. She stopped playing, looked up and saw that I had stretched my palm out towards her. She smacked me a five and then I got up, got her to pose and then I took this picture of her. We didn’t exchange any words but her eyes told me everything. And if she looked hard enough, she would have noticed that she had changed me.

This Little Girl
This Little Girl

There is life still beyond those rivers, I thought, when the ferry pulled away finally. I left my heart on that Island as the ferry cruised away. One day, many years on, I will return with this picture. And find the little girl who made me see that we are running around here in circles and missing the joy that God has put in the little things that we should enjoy.

We circled the Island before we could finally see tiny huts and mud-houses scattered on the hillside. The Conductor told us that the people live this far away and ferried all the way to the landing just to give us a welcome. They gave up their whole day just so that we can return with a smile.

When we pulled away, a gleam of light caught our eye. It was aluminum roofing and we were informed that it was the only aluminum roofing on the Island. It belonged to the chief’s palace.

I owe that Island a return. Maybe you do too.