Harmattan Blues

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

The weather patterns have changed again and at this time of the year you know it is harmattan. At first there was a little hide and seek of the dry winds from the Sahara but now it is in full swing. Now is the time to see is the myths and legends are true.

I keep walking through town expecting to hear people’s heels and skin cracking due to the dryness of the weather. That is a myth I’m yet to verify.

Nii Kpakpo, business is booming for the cosmetic sellers and I wonder why in a place like this where all the natural ingredients (Shea butter especially) exist, folk still buy imported creams for the weather. The white man who designed the cream has no weather like ours so how then did he perfect the cream to make it any effective.

Our people are so gullible.

The other day I sat in my office and a French product was brought round for sale. It was expensive but they said it was good. Aptly named Harmattan Range, it included Heel Balm (didn’t even know something like that existed), face moisturizer and an assortment of other cosmetics for harmattan season. And the whole range was very expensive.

Funny enough, there was an instalment pay package plan that will have you paying for the whole range even long after the harmattan season has passed.

Bite me!

You should see the way our women were showing desires of possessing the range.

What can these range of cosmetics do that common and cheap Shea butter can not do, I wondered.

Yesterday I passed through the market and got me Gh1 worth of Shea butter and a small tub of Robb to see me through the harmattan. I’m going to try it for a week and I am pretty sure I will not spend more than Gh5 per week taking care of myself in this harmattan, plus my allergy pills.

The weather here is pretty cold hitting lows of 18degrees in the wee hours of the morning and highs of 38degrees after midday. How can one place experience hot and cold weather like that and not realise that it is only in Africa.

Kpakpo I checked the weather for Zaria in Northern Nigeria and realized we are better off here because they hit lows as below ten degrees and highs as over forty degrees during the day. Now I understand why they say God has deserted that place at this time of year.

Nii Kpakpo Thompson, this is the best time to find a wife in this region because the harmattan brings out their real beauty. Beautiful women will know how to take care of themselves in this situation whilst those who don’t know grooming are obvious by the way they look. Clothes should complement the weather and skin should be on point, well oiled and glowing.

It is also a time to walk around town with your eyes alert and your body in a state of flux. Due to the dryness there is a lot of spitting and as such it is very wise to walk with your senses sharp. When you hear the rattle sound the lips make when a person spits you just duck – no questions asked.

With the dusty weather and kola chewing, people tend to spit unwanted contents in their mouth at random, even without checking where it lands. Usually a brownish gob (don’t know whether it’s the kola or dust) it could land on you.

Yes! Disgusting but true.

Kpakpo, reminds me of my first time in Tamale that I almost got hit smack in the face by a flying spittle from a bicycle rider in the centre of town. I was dumbfounded and until then I had not realised it was a season of the spittle. Upon closer observation I realized I was the one to be careful.

The harmattan also reminds me of the days in high school Nii Kpakpo. It has become a chore and an arduous task to take a bath in the morning because of the cold weather. With cold winds and weather, tap water is like deep frozen cold water. Back in high school, especially the boys schools, boys will ‘cut coat’ (wash only necessary parts of the body with water) and some will not even bother to bath for days.

My friend Jack at the Nyankapala campus of the Savannah university tells me that it is exams time and some boys even claim that when they bath in the cold, the water takes away some of the stuff they have learnt for the exam. So for a whole week or two (period of exams) of writing papers, they don’t and won’t take a bath.

How interesting!

The drive to work has become a chore too. The dusty roads under construction don’t augur well for my allergies especially when I forget to take my pills in the mornings. Taxis are getting rickety and it’s no consolation there are no trotros here. Would even be worse if they were I’m sure.

Nii Kpakpo, the good thing is that Christmas is coming and can’t wait for the break period. Look forward to spending some alone time with your sister to pay her back for being a dutiful town this whole year. Don’t know how I would have survived without her.

She is an amazing woman, I tell you.

Well, this harmattan is going to last a few weeks and we will brave it out. It’s not as bad as it seems but us humans are adaptive creatures. We will see it through.

Kpakpo, I see you are still on leave and having fun. Will link up later when I can.

Till later then.

Your Cousin in Law
Savannah Boy


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