*This is an account of a trip that I took from Aboso in the Western Region of Ghana to Accra in the summer of 2006. The entry was written in the bus, and I thought I'd post it here because it fits with the spirit of this blog. Enjoy!
I sat in the bus and made ready for a long journey*. The bus filled up slowly. All around me, other vans getting ready to begin their own journeys. Women were busy selling epitsi, ɛmo dokon, abodoo, ɔfam, nkatsekek etc. Like connecting dots, It hit me that it wasn’t that there were no desserts in
When the van filled up, a fairly attractive man who I judged to be in his late twenties or early thirties stood up and articulated in flawless fanti, tarkwa fanti (which is closer to Takoradi fanti and slightly different from Cape-Coast fanti), "enuanom na adɔfo, wɔmma yentu hɛn ho nyhɛ ewuradze ne nsa". (tr:brothers and sisters, let us commit ourselves into the hands of God). I shut my eyes, a smile formed on my face. Some things never change. After the prayer, calm fell over me. Somehow I felt that even though the van seemed really old (the kind that every Ghanaian knows causes tetanus.lol) and I didn’t have much leg room, that it was going to be a pleasant and a safe journey. I was used to salesmen praying in vans at the start of journeys and then going on to sell their medicines which they often claimed could cure everything from common cold to diabetes. What I did not anticipate was that this man was going to serve us a fully cooked and digested sermon. After the first five minutes, I started to fidget. I wanted some quiet. I had even brought a book with me to read. All around, people seemed to be paying rapt attention. Why was no one else bothered by this? Had the driver even sought our consent before allowing this man to disturb our peace? I dared not speak up. I knew that when it came to matters of God, Ghanaians were fairly predictable. If I voiced any discontent with the present goings-on, I would be seen to be strange and I may even be branded as the devil. I seethed in silence. Finally, the preacher said something about how no one paid him to do the work of God, and since a brother had to eat, he was asking that people be generous and give him something. I knew it! This was a business. It made you wonder how much of the sermon was motivated by the expected monetary gain at the end of it, and how much was God- inspired. Perhaps if people were blessed by it then it didn’t matter? It appears my fellow travelers were very impressed by our preacher man. Needless to say, the hat, which he passed around did not return to him empty. One thing consoled me. Since he was done, at least we could enjoy some quiet for the rest of the journey. We had now reached Bonsa. Much of the journey still lay ahead. Alas I rejoiced too soon, for before this man got off at the next village, he introduced a salesman, selling medicines. Oh no! Now I was really pissed at the driver. How much was he making from all this? The salesman reeked of kalabule. He had the typical