The Brits are in town, you’ll know because all the TV chat shows keep referring to all the Borgas (sometimes spelt Burgers and derived from the suffix of many German towns e.g Hamburg) who have descended on the city. There’s a concert almost every other day, cashing in on the foreign currency that has rushed into the country. The price of everything has gone up, in Ghana they don’t believe in Christmas sales, apparently it doesn’t make good financial sense even in a recession when people need cheaper goods.
Firecrackers (here called Knockouts, I don’t know where that name came from) are really popular here. A bit too popular. I thought I was avoiding the ubiquitous sound of fireworks and similar items, alas I was wrong. The Kayayos (male street hawkers) have traded in selling dog-chains and “PK PK PK!” (chewing gum) for Santa hats. They wear their own merchandise because they’re in the Christmas spirit! Christmas doesn’t take 4 months to arrive, here, like it does in the UK. There is no talk of Christmas until Advent begins, but when we get the Christmas fever it hits hard.
Last night the was a band of men drumming and singing on the road just behind my house. It was both a beautiful display of culture (anyone who knows me knows I love my African drumming) and darn right rude cos obviously I would like to sleep and give Santa a chance to arrive. Christmas here is a big deal. Not for the shopping reasons, but for the religious reasons and the sense of community is heightened. We greet everyone with “Afehyia pa” (pronounced ah-fee-shea pah) literally meaning “the year greets us well” and they respond “Afe nko mbo to yɛn” or “(pronounced ah-fee ko boh tu yehn) which literally means “may this year go and meet us again”. It’s really got nothing to do with Christmas so it will still be said in this season well past New Year’s Day. I’ve known my mum to call someone on 14th January still greeting with Afehyia pa, her excuse being “well it has been a year since I last saw you and the new year has barely even begun” talk about bending the rules.
Anyway, on a personal note, it’s my first Christmas in Ghana, the first time I have woken up in a different country from my mum, had her wake me up with phone call, got dressed left my room and said to my grandmother face-to-face “Merry Christmas Grandma” and been able to see her face light up at the joke that is my persistence in speaking English with her!
Merry Christmas everyone. Afehyia pa!
(do me a favour, if you read this, respond either on the blog or below the link to this with “Afe nko mbo to yɛn”)