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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bronya in Ghana

When I lived in the States, it seemed that all my Ghanaian family and friends used to crave to be in Ghana for Christmas. They would talk about it so much that you would think Jesus was going to be reborn right there in Accra! I assume the big deal was because 1. the weather is pleasant 2. it's a great time to see family and friends 3. it's home.
So experiencing Christmas in Ghana was a semi-big deal for me because now I had the chance to see what the big deal was. Well, folks, I'm here to say Christmas is Christmas for Ghanaians. There's the caroling and decor just as we have in the States but here, it's almost out of place... If not for the tinsel and lights at every vendor in the market, I would have forgotten it was Christmastime. And oh, don't forget the annoying "Feliz Navidad" by Bony M. that Ghanaians love to overplay. The one thing I loved about Christmas here was the caroling in Twi. Man oh man. I don't speak/understand the language so well, but when I went to Carols Night on campus, I was almost moved to tears. The harmony, the voices, the celebration was just sheer pleasure. I loved that the most; celebrating the birth of Christ with songs of praise. It was wonderful.

But, the one thing that I now believe is highly associated with Christmas all over the world is Christmas presents. It didn't help that I was the supposed rich foreigner who had enough money to spare the whole community because I was randomly approached, or shall I say reminded, about giving people a Christmas gift. And these people were absolute strangers! For example, I had to go to the Nigerian Embassy for a visa (about that later) and the manager at the desk winked at me and said the next time I come back to pick up my visa, I shouldn't "forget" her Christmas present. Was I supposed to remember?
Or the folks who delivered my barrel of items I shipped from the States. They asked several times for a Christmas present. I assume they wanted a tip but geesh....
In these cases, folks just want a few cedis to grease their palm and I don't mind dashing money here and there but I had this creeping feeling that I wish someone would think to give me a gift too! I like Christmas presents!
But I thank God that I was even in the position to make someone's holiday nicer with money that didn't even equate $5. It seems that the little is greatly appreciated in this country and it was nice to be a part of that.

I hope you all had a happy Christmas, Afehyia Pa! (


Anonymous said...

girl, the manager at the embassy meant a "bribe". Don't get it twisted. lol!

The New Ghanaian said...

Hahaha as Yedei mentioned, it is "bribe" as well as the usual, seasonal Ghanaian rhetoric. Ghanaians like to assume that others, including strangers will be considerate in remembering us during Christmas time...Safe trip to Naija. We trust that you'll be in good hands.

Ama Kyei said...

@ Yedei and TNG- bribe.... yes, but I was confused because the lady had nothing to do with the service. I would have gotten my visa either way; I think she was testing her luck. I think they ALL test their luck when they ask for their "bronya dea" (sp:)

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