Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ghana Three Days of Giving

Since Monday people have been telling me Merry Christmas.  Now as an American, I find this weird because once a holiday is over in the States there is no need to acknowledge it anymore. However, here in Ghana people still walk around saying Merry Christmas, Christmas music is still playing and people are still asking how you are enjoying the holiday. The only thing missing is the guy selling the ornaments and trees on Oxford Street. I guess he is wise enough to know when a good thing is over.

I also must admit, that I will not pass judgement for the holiday decorations and music. After all, in the States some people definitely let the decorations and music linger waaay past its time. Don't act like you haven't seen Hoarders or Clean House, where a layer of dust appears on decorative Christmas items. Then this morning a conversation with my gate boy helped me undestand why three days after Christmas,  people were saying "Merry Christmas".

As I was leaving the house, my friendly gate boy with the biggest smile on his face says, "Good morning, Madame, Merry Christmas. Now, I actually like this gate boy, who is unlike the lazy night guard that is too busy to open the gate as I leave in the evening, so I decided to strike up conversation. "How was Christmas?" I asked, with just as big of a smile. His response, "Oh Madame, not that good." Of course being a fool I ask why. "Oh Madame, there was not really any money-o". (For those not on Ghanaian lingo, o is a common syllable inserted after all words, especially when you want to emphasize something).

Now if I was a newbie to Ghana, I would have immediately reached in my purse and gave him a few cedis. However, as a vet, I knew he was lying, with a smile. I playfully pushed his shoulder and told him that I knew the house had given him his Christmas bonus, plus more. He instantly started laughing.

Then it occurred to me why it had been Christmas for the last few days. Each person that said it was hoping that I was naive enough to contribute to their after Christmas fund. It's obvious they don't know I am cheap. Not to mention, I refuse to practice the act of dashing- or giving money away because I feel like you are less fortunate and you have helped me somehow. I mean let's be real, I am the stranger in the country. I can't go broke feeding you. In America, people in Arizona don't stand at the border and ask Mexicans to give them something extra for turning a blind eye, and Arizona has a 9% unemployment rate!

All I can say, is thank God I am a New Year's baby. At least I have a legitimate reason to hassle people for funds after Christmas.

Until Next Time. Smooches.

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