VILLAGE ORACLE By PAPAVI YAOVI: Transitioning From ‘Valentine’ Eve To COVID 19 ‘Quarantine’

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The Earth is the LORD’s and the fullness [blessings and benefits] thereof; the world [systems] and they

[peoples, races, colours, tribes etc]

that dwell in it – The Bible, KJV. Ps 24: Vs 1

Ghanaians have an obsession with holidays like no other country in the world. Not because holidays are particularly evil, but because the Ghanaian is not known for making the best out of it in terms of utilizing the rest that the body needs to restore strength and vitality.

Holiday diseases

I remember the first time I had to enjoy my annual leave as a staff of one of the Ministries in 1979. Day 1, 2, 3 4 and I was just getting bored. So, I took advantage of the long 42 day rest to visit my nurse senior sister at Dodowa, then very far away from Accra for a typical Accra man used to Accra-Circle-Accra-Tema-Accra-Makola routes.

That has been the lot of some of us from the indigenous communities of Nii Lante’s Odododiodioo and Ga Central; Peter Ala Adjetey’s La; Prof KA Busia’s pal, ASO Mensah’s Teshie and Prof Joshua Alabi’s Nungua. Some 40 years ago, La, Teshie, Nungua used to be one political constituency up to Labone and Burma Camp and Airport/ Legon into parts of Madina.

Irrepressible IC Quaye’s relatives, including Yemo Ali and Koo Minini, were the homeboys in these northern parts of town administered by the La Stool. And, to win that huge constituency known then as Kpeshie (after the now degraded Kpeshie Lagoon), you had to be a Peter Ala Adjetey, Harry Sawyer  or Sam Okudzeto, if you didn’t enjoy government incumbency then.

Over there at Dodowa, enjoying my leave was worse, because the Dodowa Health facility put up by Kutu Acheampong was situate at the nether part of Dodowa Town as you moved to Somanya, along the new Chinese-owned Tomato Factory 1V1D project. Thank you, Nana; thank you, Alan…Let’s hope the tomato producers in Shai-Osudoku do not behave like those in the Upper East who failed to take the opportunity offered by the JAK Ghana-Italian Tomato Cooperation and Heinz to get the Northern Star Tomato Factory on track…

I must admit, it took me time to organize myself in making annual leave beneficial to my soul. Today, however, courtesy of wide reading and interactive stuff sold us by global telecommunication actors, we can plan out time up till retirement and beyond.

The next point I could have gone to enjoy my leave was our village, Shiashie. It used to be a hamlet, not even a village. Today, it is a residential area for the affluent. Then, it was a kraal for our unlettered grandparents and Siberia for our then middleclass uncles. 

My grandfather and his senior brother had bought acres of land there and had set up a cattle ranch there. In the mid-70s, we heard that some of the wretched among the cousins and grandchildren were selling off parcels of the land with our educated uncles looking on. By the time our grandparents were bedridden, the properties and investments were clean gone as were the perpetrators. Attempts to retrieve the property ended up in tortuous court litigations…I don’t want to cite names…

Another way I could have enjoyed the leave was rest daytime and join the local boys at Aviation or La Wireless Cluster of Schools Park to play football. How I loved it – until a couple of Opeeleys and Dan Oppongs run their knees into my groin and I had to take a compulsory rest. Thank God, I returned fire later after I had recovered by deliberately hitting the ball into the balls of one of the Opeeleys. I reckon it would be worse than having a Kalashnikov-toting Russian security apply a testicle crusher to your balls.

Or the La Beach, with Hearts of Oak’s Anas Seidu and President George Weah and some of the Accra New Town and Kotobabi boys who walk all the way from their area through the Flagstaff House and Cantonments to Palm Wine Junction and Trade Fair Site to the beach – to play beach soccer. Even so, the day was still long and the sun tortuously slow in setting for those of us who didn’t know how to utilize our holidays beneficially. 

Valentine eyesores

As expected, the sad spectacle about Valentine here in Ghana is not just about the red and white or the Osu RE culture of Sodom and Gomorrah from the Togo Embassy stretch to Papaye Restauarnt, but also the spectre of teenage girls dressed as dolls, prostitutes and gypsies, assailing the sanctity of our rural sober environment, including late businessman Siaw’s Kwahuland.

Those of us who are quiet travelers along the route to the Middle Belt and the North and who have received some austere upbringing lower our heads in shame when girls the age of our children or grandchildren virtually parade their anatomy and vital statistics every kilometer of the way – from the mandatory rest stops to the unauthorized bush urinals.

But that’s just the beginning of the real action as Kwahuland throbs with rhythmic promiscuity and cultural abominations.

Siaw

We grew up learning important lessons about patriotism and communal development from sages like late businessman Siaw, whose elderly son friend of mine runs a weekend resort along the Nyaho Tamakloe Hospital stretch.

So Kwahu went into the annals of community development as a result of sons and daughters learning from Siaw that Home-going at Easter is organizing to send a token home to develop small projects in our backyards until the Canadian Embassy and the Royal Netherlands Embassy began intervening to build water closet lavatory facilities in La and other communities in the mid-80s. Did that spirit die? Only our traditional leaders in the region can tell.

Today, all we remember Kwahu for is not even the thrilling Kwahu United Football Club (Asase Abban) or Jake’s paragliding tourist attraction. It is Valentine Day insanity and debauchery under the noses of its traditional authorities and religious community. Well, we have come to call that freedom of expression the same way some of our female lawyers endorse provocative skirt for church – until the perpetrator herself is ready to conform.

Lockdown, quarantine, detention et al

For those of us then unaccustomed to being home or unoccupied, the lockdown was a quarantine, detention and house arrest. The list of gripe issues are endless on this score, especially living with female or male species, who add their own interpretations to whatever you say – even when you meant well.

So, you just have to allow yourself to be cowed into submission every angle of the conversations about menu or sound of music and choice of which TV station the dial should be on. If you are not fortunate to have someone who is glued stiff to his or her phone listening to hilarious Obinim and Ken Agyapong jibes, you would be forced to put on Job’s patience, so that neighbours or next-door co-tenants do not overhear your gripes and gossip in overt and covert tones each time a table or chair squeaks in your room.

Thank you God, for the Muslim community…Such occurrences are ‘Haram’ to their relationships. Thank God, too, for my Nyebros and Nyesis in the Volta Region. Over there, we can be one poor man and two female farmers in the same room, and there would be no Trump and Putin fights or Chinese and South Korean altercations at sea.

Koose and koko; waakye and gari

If you are a town boy like Papavi Yaovi, you loved your koko and koose; or waakye and gari, for breakfast. Unfortunately, the Lockdown ignored the sanctity of our rights in that regard. Now, we must take gari and rice boiled in oil, if we had children living with us. Or, Fante dokonoo and roast koobi – like it or not, while we await the political manna which the two parties, for absence of any serious national conversation, have accepted as the talking point for now – though development boys like us believe the solution to that is a door-to-door delivery, with our assemblymen and women, who know the terrain, leading.

De-locking when?

As for when this Third World War would end, we must simply pray that the US, Russia, UK and China manage their cases soonest and effectively, because if they didn’t, global travel alone would conspire to re-infect us and blame it on the cantankerous Chinese for whom human rights are the preserve of only the descendants and apostles of late Chairman Mao.

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