Christmas Day

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

It is Christmas Day and I didn’t go to bed early. Instead of the just posting a generic message for all of my friends on social media, I have decided to send personalized messages to some of my closest friends. Damn! I knew it was an arduous task but I didn’t anticipate it will be this difficult especially finding like minded and similar interest friends and tag them together in one post.

So far it’s past midday and I’ve only gotten to E in my friends list.

Kpakpo, suffice it to say I dozed off whilst i was still sending the personalized posts to my friends. Sleep was good because I only had to turn and cuddle up to your sister and her warmth made all the Christmas Day sleep worth it. Sleep was pretty short but I had enough rest.

Nii Kpakpo I woke up with a start because all of a sudden I had this eerie feeling that something was amiss. It took me just a few seconds to realise why I had startled out of sleep. Why the eerie feeling?

Today of all days, on Christmas Day, I hadn’t heard any of the seven mosques in my area blast out their ‘Allah wu Akbar’ from their speakers calling the faithful to worship. It was a deathly silence and for a moment I was forced to believe I had woken up in my bed in the Bearded Man capital.

Even sent a message to one of my friends that I was coming to eat a lunch of jollof at her place. She confessed later that she was confused because she knew I was in the savannah. But it wasn’t her fault. I had confused her in my confusion.

Maybe the confusion was partly because from the night before I had witnessed a street carnival with cycle displays from the number one akomfem joint in the savannah – Mba Yahya. This joint boasts the tastiest and most tender akomfem in the savannah and I’m sure it was a corporate responsibility – SADA or GYEEDA compliant – to give back to the community. By organising a street party with loud speakers in the back of a motor king cycle truck blaring the latest hits, most of which the people who were dancing to didn’t understand the language in the music. They just boogie to the tune.

And who cares if the government sojourning birds to Burkina have found greener pastures on the other side and decided not to come back. The akomfem eating must go on!

The ministry must do well to solicit for that Chinese loan so they can buy parachutes for the birds that can’t fly so they can get back. Also a returnee package should be arranged for them or what do you say Kpakpo.

But back to my Christmas story. The mosques were quiet and instead when I woke up to pee I could hear, today of all days, not a Christmas carol but somebody screaming in the distance ‘shaiiytaa waii-raaaaay” to blaring background music of Gh Dancehall artiste Shatta Wale singing one of his popular tunes “DanceHall King Everywhere”.

In that heavy dagbani accent, with my early morning hard, Nii Kpakpo you can imagine I peed all over the ceramic bowl in laughter.

At least my Christmas morning started on a good note.

Methinks I also heard Santa shouting above the ‘shaiita warey’ Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Maybe he’s on his way to Ho and just trumpeting his destination.

The one thing that I learnt from this however Nii Kpakpo, is the diversity of the world in which we live in. Christians celebrate holidays like Christmas and we all consider it a holiday. It is not announced that it is a holiday only for Christians. It is the same with the Muslim Eids, we all celebrate the holidays.

However, whatever you do on that day if it doesn’t pertain to you is your own business. That is how come Christians in the community will play carols whilst a Muslim plays ‘shaiita waiirey’. Moreover, for a predominantly Muslim metropolis, everybody seemed in a hurry for wherever reason to meet the Christmas Day deadline.

We have to go to church but first I had to go buy bread for breakfast. At the bread seller’s place her 4 year old son is brushing his teeth and I’m told it’s his second time that morning. I greet merry Christmas and he responds nonchalantly. He doesn’t know the significance of this day because it is just another day for him. I get into a discussion with his dad on what Christmas was like for us when we were his son’s age.

Kpakpo, those were the days when we had Piccadilly biscuits and you saw them in the shops only during Christmas. We also only had coca cola or fanta (soda) for ‘our days’ (school vacations) and rice and chicken especially, only at Christmas. We so looked forward to these delicacies that we counted the days to the birth of the Christ child with fervent ardour.

We ended on the note that these days the children have it all and there is nothing to look forward to.

It was when heading back home that walking past one of the mosques in my community, I saw a poster notice on the mosque wall that said “All phones should be switched off”.

Nii Kpakpo, a funny thought occurred to me. Remember that hit song ‘Wind your Pudaada’ from a couple of years back. You know the song actually starts with a Muslim prayer ‘busimilahi something something’.

Imagine somebody left their phone on in a rush to get into the mosque and he had that as a ringtone on one of these loud Chinese phones. Just when the muezzin says Allah wu Akbar the phone goes off with the prayer in the beginning then the song follows ‘ wind your hudada! Shake your hudada! Baby wind your hudada! Shake your hudada!’

Before the owner cuts off the tune, the harm would have already been done.

But hey, there are worse songs that can be played wrongly in the mosque just as somebody’s phone blurted out the new hit ‘TONGA’ whilst the reverent minister was stressing on the importance and significance of the birth of Christ to mankind.

Whole place went deathly silent and I think I’m the only person who laughed out loud at the irony of the significance of the TONGA ringtone on the sermon of significance of ‘Christo’ birth.

Heading back home from church Kpakpo I realize that some Muslim school children’s groups are organising some sort of day out at the park near our house. The park is directly opposite the public toilet. On our way to work on cold harmattan mornings, the ten meter stretch of road past the public toilet is always warm. Shit literally keeps the atmosphere warm around that place and if not for the smell, you could actually enjoy the warmth.

Well, some of the children are climbing the metal railings of the nearest building to the toilet for sport whilst others are actually climbing the toilet walls into the toilet area to ease themselves.

All on Christmas Day. To these children it’s just another day and it doesn’t change anything.

Kpakpo, we are home now and I just realized just as it seems GTV has patented Home Alone as their Christmas movie to show every year, TV3Gh is also trying to adopt Dennis da Menace. Well for now I’m just laying in this sofa cradling the television remote whilst your sister prepares me a city dish in the kitchen.

No savannah food for this savannah boy today of all days on Christmas Day.

Chale! She’s put the food on the dining table so ahbaa na Bo! Catch you on the flip side.

I’m off to have my Christmas lunch at the dining table with one of the prettiest women on the planet.

A little rest and later I have a party to attend in the evening. Maybe I’ll tell you all about it if I have fun. Wondering if partying in the savannah will be as intense as in the capital.

Nii Kpakpo, merry Christmas and you have a blast this Yuletide season. I’m so sure I’m going to write to you again before the year 2013 ends.

Piccadilly Christmas to you.

Your Cousin in Law
Savannah Boy


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