This is the true essence of Musings of Midnite.. the random, tangential little story journeys my mind goes on when i cant sleep….
When I was prepping for college in America, most of the ‘International Student’ guides paid great emphasis to the phenomenon of ‘culture shock’.
“the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.”
The general sentiment seemed to be that the industrial strength awesomeness of the U.S.A. might overwhelm a lowly ranked global citizen such as myself.
But surprise surprise, the international students i knew adjusted just fine. Hell, some had been waiting their whole lives to have their L.A.F.A.’s ( Locally Acquired Foreign Accent) legitimized by geo-location.
Things were going smoothly for me as well, until one fateful day, i was presented with a bowl of chilli.
*Ok.. this appears to be a bean stew of some sort. Its smells nice, let me taste it. Hmm, why is it called chilli? It’s not spicy at all. There’s minced meat in it though, that’s good. Okay but why is this stew in a bowl, and where is the rice, potatoes or spaghetti that I am supposed to eat it with? *
I ask a neighbor about the carbohydrate accompaniment, and he hands me a pack of saltine crackers.
Ey Jesus! It seems I’m expected to eat this beans stew with biscuits sprinkled on the top. Ok calm down, girl. Just breathe..you can do this. Besides you’re starving and it’s the only food here.
I hesitantly pick up the spoon….
Communing with the Spirits.
An uncle of mine told me that when he was young, he and his friends couldn’t wait for Odwira.
(Odwira is a festival celebrated by the Akans whose traditional home is on the Akuampim ridge eg. Akropong, Larteh, Mampong, and Adukrom. It commemorates their defeat of the Ashanti’s in the Akatamansu war, but also honors the yam harvest, and the ancestral spirits.)
For them, it was a bigger deal than even Christmas. Families would prepare a lavish meal with the best of the harvest, and take it to the shrine as an offering to the gods and ancestral spirits.
Each year, my uncle and his friends armed themselves with zinc buckets, snuck into the shrine in the dead of night, and gathered up as much of the food as they could carry.
Then they would find a safe spot, and stuff themselves until they couldn’t move.
I can only imagine the fetish priest falling to his knees in wonder the next morning, so moved that the ancestral spirits were so pleased with their offerings that they consumed every last piece of juicy meat.
One of my fathers’s defining characteristics is the master skill with which he wields the word “rubbish”.
As an adjective.
As a complete sentence.
As an acceptable response to my long, detailed questions or comments.
As scribbled in large letters across one of my elaborate back-to- boarding school shopping lists.
Ah the joys of growing up in an African home
I was relaxing on the balcony recently when a huge owl flew up and perched on the balustrade a few feet away. I was completely fascinated because I’d never seen an owl in person, much less in Tema in the middle of the day. As I was admiring is beautiful plumage it turned and looked at me knowingly. Then it hit me…… see the way my Larteh hometown people are set up…. hmm.
So I said “ Oh.. hello Aunty! I almost didn’t recognize you. Thank you for coming all this way to check up on us. As you can see, we are all fine”. Nana Asieduaa blinked at me twice, then flew away.
I hope you enjoyed reading. I’m not even going to do the customary spiel where i promise to write more regularly.
By now, you know i’m a bald-faced liar. 😀
But thank you for still being here ❤️