Saturday, May 12, 2012
Sorry for no updates for a long time. I just finished traveling around Ghana for a bit during the term break for our school. The incident I’ll talk about today is something called Bob Marley Day. What is Bob Marley Day, you ask? It’s the day that he died, May 11th. My friend in the town Sena told me about this on Thursday, but I dismissed it as an esoteric holiday that only a few people enjoy. It seems I was wrong. My village friend, Mensah, came to me raving about Bob Marley Day. It took a fraction of a second for me to realize why it was called Bob Marley Day, and exactly how people celebrate said day (think Rastafarian). That would explain why earlier in the night, as a funeral wakekeeping (common practice for all funerals in the south of Ghana), I smelled pot in the middle of a crowd of middle aged people, typically quite tame in their demeanor. My friend proceeded to tell me that everywhere in Ghana people celebrate this Day, and no matter what happens the police and military won’t do anything (I don’t know if I believe this, simply because there may be so many people blazing that its impossible to police them all). My market town Ho? Apparently it would be chaos if we were there… instead we are in the villages, so entertainment was limited to watching semi-drunk potentially-high motorcycle riders do circles in the road, and a rogue pick-up truck driver that, had I been two seconds slow in my reaction time, would have run me while walking on the side of the road. Now, I’m on holiday for two weeks from drinking anything. People just don’t seem to grasp the concept of more than one night of sobriety. Here’s a verbatim transcript: “I have something here” “Sorry, I’m on a break from taking anything for two weeks, so I can’t partake” “Okay, then I’ll buy you something tomorrow” Another interesting slice of life: “Let’s get some palm wine” “Okay, but I will not drink any because I’m on a break” ”Oh, why? Palm wine doesn’t count as alcohol” Speaking of which, apparently palm wine, regular wine, beer, and sips of the hard stuff don’t count against my abandonment of alcohol (according to the norms of some of the locals). In summary, Bob Marley Day was interesting, but mainly full of people who were chain-smoking cigarettes (not exactly my thing, as I’ve never tried them).