Do Resurrect More Often, Sir By Frederick Sowah

Do Resurrect More Often, Sir

By Frederick Sowah

Published on Fri, Apr 17 2009 by Frederick S.
For different reasons some Ghanaians wouldn’t mind celebrating Easter more than once in a year. I suppose this would involve additional re-enactment of millennia-old scripts involving betrayals and denials by trusted aides-de-camp; grieving female admirers that visit tombs only to discover dearly departed has departed from supposed final resting dome; transient trips to Pluto followed by reclaiming of right(ful) seats in other regions of the universe; and the result: clean slates for you and I to re-sully until same time next year. I am no authority on bailouts—be they financial or religious—so let me stick to the subject of why some of my countrymen may want additional helpings of this moveable feast.

The Easter period is an annual four-day weekend affair in Ghana. The last four-day weekend in Ghana was in December of 2008—during the last general elections. The electoral exercise itself was not a holiday but it fell on a Sunday sandwiched between the Farmer’s Day holiday (first Friday in December) and another "une fete (tres) mobile," the Muslim Eid-ul-Adha festival, which fell on the day after the elections. (A popular sentiment in Ghana during the elections was that the long holiday feeling surrounding the elections helped reduce the tension brought by the extremely close results and second round voting that those results necessitated.) Traditionally, many Ghanaians like to visit their families in the villages during Easter and fete them, but these days this generosity is being extended to non-kinsmen.

Joy FM, a popular radio station in Ghana, for several years has organized an annual Easter soup kitchen that feeds and clothes capitalism’s bottom-rungers. The event relies on donations from companies, individuals, and institutions, which provide cash, food, clothing and other items, which are distributed to the thousands of underprivileged individuals, mainly made up of street families, who attend it. I listen to Joy FM’s breakfast show on my way to work, and was touched by the deluge of phone calls responding to the program’s appeal for donations. High inflation (attributable to high petroleum prices and depreciation of the Ghana cedis against the dollar) has always made life difficult for Ghanaians; however, the current economic crisis has added more pain to that bite, making generous acts like these all the more special. Joy FM is not alone in this quest to help the needy; many individuals and organizations have publicly and privately donated to the poor in the past and have continued to do so in these tough times.

The poor and needy are not the only Ghanaians who would want a couple more Good Fridays in a year—paragliders wouldn't mind, either. Paragliding is becoming a popular attraction in Ghana and a special paragliding festival has become an annual event during the Easter festivities. Although paragliding is generally viewed as an all-year-round indulgence for tourists from outside Ghana, some locals are accepting it as a veritable Easter to-do item. Kwahu—a mountainous region in the eastern part of Ghana where the paragliding program usually takes place (the event did not come on this year)—is fast becoming a popular Easter generation. Aside the usual Kwahu natives that go back to visit their families during the period, many other people have started trooping there during Easter—and commerce booms in that area during the period. Because driving on the very narrow roads the mountains to Kwahu can be quite a daunting task for the uninitiated driver, the local commercial drivers that ply their trade on those roads offered to navigate cars up the mountains for an average fee of about seven dollars. (Apparently the fee is a little higher on the downward trip because the drivers say it is more dangerous.) Commercial drivers are not the only ones whose pockets experience a bigger bulge during the Easter periods: Pharmacies in the area report significant increases in contraceptives. Food vendors also profit well from the influx of Easter merry-makers.

I think four-day weekends are what the masters of the universe originally intended for mankind, but changed their minds when our Lady of Eden bit the pome. What a world it would have been with no work or school on Fridays and Mondays! What higher trade deficits third world countries would have piled up in that ideal world!


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