The evening was coming and we knew the sun was going to take a rest from shining on us all day. I wanted to go out, but in a real way, not in the small-township-of-Kikam way, but that opportunity was over 6 hours away by bus and it was too late to hop on an airplane to Accra. Instead I would have to settle for our usual outing from this week which consisted of going to visit Emmanuel’s mother, then a series of visiting the local spots (bars).
I was always on the look out for other couples and there simply weren’t any. I was learning that the duties of the wife here were encouraged more than enjoying oneself and being out of the house – as if that was frowned upon. Being out of the house was reserved more for funerals and child naming ceremonies. Otherwise, you are at home cleaning/washing/cooking or at the market selling to make an income.
We locked up the house and set off down the half dirt, half grassway towards his mother’s house. She was sitting on her porch this evening and she smiled when she saw us. I greeted her in my broken Nzema: “Apoke newe?” She always smiled when I tried and she would often say something to me, but many times Emmanuel would not bother to translate what she was saying so I would fill the space with me joking and we would all laugh. We sat with her and her and Emmanuel spoke. I’m sure it was gossip from how they would lean in and listen to each other and at times whisper. Emmanuel’s daughter was darting about in the yard fetching water to prepare her bath. I tried to practice English with her, but she did not seem to want to welcome the lesson. Emmanuel overheard her trying with her English and he immediately began to chastise her for not wanting to learn. I could only make out “kwasia” which meant dumbass in English. I asked him why would he do that and he would only smile and say that she should want to learn to do well in school. This daughter-father relationship was an unusual one to me, not endearing, just dogmatic and they seemed very comfortable in it.
We said our good nights and went out on the town – as much as that meant for this town, that is. A spot in Ghana is synonymous with a club except not as boisterous. You go, enjoy your drink with some kebabs, but no dancing is done.
The first spot was playing the usual electronic organ induced Ghanaian music loudly. I would think that the loudness would signify how many people were inside, but once we stepped in we were 2 of 4 people. One person was the bartender. We sat at 1 of the 2 tables available and sat down. The bartender came to take our order. Emmanuel, as usual, ordered Star beer and I ordered a Fanta. We sat and listened to the music sometimes with our own thoughts and other times with Emmanuel proudly looking at his ring, then comparing his ring to mine. We both smiled at each other. Once our drinks arrived usually Emmanuel would have another Star beer.
By this time I learned to pace my sugary drinks because this was not the last spot we would go to. Besides the drinks not being good for me, when it came time to release there were no bathrooms to go to. I would have to do it village style. Village style, from what I had observed, was standing to pee inside of a field of bushes or squatting to pee behind a house or wall. No tissue nor water to cleanse yourself unless you brought it. Then you wipe and go or shake it and go. None of the spots nor restaurants had running water to clean your hands, so you had to buy a sache of water to pour over your hands to rinse them. Since I always chose not to pee in this fashion the only other choice was to make the trek back home, which was too much walking to have to do in order to come back out.
We made our trek to the other spots in pretty much the same fashion at each one. There was a highlight because at one place Emmanuel wanted to sit outside instead of inside, so the bartender had to bring a table and chairs outdoors for us. We enjoyed the breeze and the passersby as the loud music invited everyone at this bar to stand outside. No dancing, just standing. Sometimes a feeling would creep up in to my mind that I was being shown off so that people would know who I belonged to. I did not have the correct questions to bring this forward, so I didn’t.
After me having 3 Fantas the evening was complete. I was surprised at how Emmanuel did not seem to be tipsy after drinking 2 Star beers at each spot. I was prepared to help him home if necessary, but he always seemed to hold his composure after drinking so much.
We walked the long distance back to the house. Sometimes we would smile and talk about politics. It seemed he was very proud of Ghana despite it’s poor leadership. I would often question what is there to be proud of if your leadership receives and borrows so much money, but cannot find a way to put it in to the infrastructure and is only thinking of their families and immediate friends. Neither of us had an answer. Also, it wasn’t as if I was an expert on what good country leadership looked like, so we would move on to other topics as we walked the distance away from the loud spots and in to the solitude of the crickets and the distant clap of the ocean.
*I know what you’re thinking: this one wasn’t like the last one. Well, duh. Not every step of my life is like our beloved reality shows. Smile. But thank you for staying tuned for the upcoming book: Wanted: Green Card to be available on Amazon soon.