Friday, May 25, 2012

Things White People Do When They Come to Africa

 Although, some of the items on this list can be applied to all countries in Africa, certain things appear to be Ghana specific. If you are the type to be easily offended or get your panties in a bunch, please close the screen now. However, if you have an awesome sense of humor, please move to item number 1.

1.Take African Drum and/or Dance Lessons- That’s right the strong vibrations and excited steps of African drumming and dancing has attracted everyone, even the rhythm less. Therefore, it is not uncommon to hear the sound of an offbeat foreign drummer and observe their offbeat jerking and convulsing. But hey, the important thing is that both those watching and participating are having fun. Don’t expect them all to fail though; every now and then, someone with a ¼ blood will show up and show out.

2. Pay 10X More for Products: I am never amazed at how much white folks are willing to pay for the simplest trinkets. It’s like everything has extra value because they have purchased it straight from Africa. And God forbid it is a kid or an elderly person selling it, it becomes a must have item, at all costs. I always wonder what their expression is when they realize that the boy the next street over is selling the same item for half the price.

3. Have a Village Experience- For all intents and purposes; let’s just say the village is synonymous with the ghetto, and, for some reason, white people insist on having a village experience. They will go into the slums of a foreign city and indulge in all the forbidden fruits that lead to runny stomach and stolen merchandise, without worry. Yet I have a feeling that if they were back home and encountered a “village” situation they would they be locking their car doors and crossing the street to avoid contact, not sitting at a local pub buying everyone drinks.

 4.Date A Rasta- This behavior is really a result of Number 3. It is inevitable that on a village experienc a white person will discover some indigenous beauty and as a result, get some indigenous booty.  Unfortunately, all gainfully employed, well-educated and traveled African men need not apply. The white foreign woman is more interested in the man who sleeps on a floor mat and needs her financial support. But then again, I am sure she is not looking for anything permanent anyways…at least I hope not.

5.Get Their Hair Braided- No trip to Africa, or Caribbean nation, is complete until a white woman gets her hair braided. Nothing like seeing a 90 pound girl with 10 pounds of weave in her hair to remind you of the beauty of black hair.

6. Adopt Children- The new trendy accessory, an African baby is a must have for the progressive white family. No, all jokes aside, I actually think this is ok. As long as they can keep the baby’s hair greased and slap some lotion on that baby’s legs when its ashy, I have no objections. There are plenty of children in Africa that are seeking and deserve good homes.
7. Give Up Good Hygiene- I have noticed the longer a white person stays in Ghana, the less they care about their hygiene. Anyone who stays for over 90 days, and has not secured steady employment, will more than likely go down to having three outfits, showering every other day and washing their hair only in an extreme emergency. Hell, you might even catch them bathing at a public urinal.
8. Smell Their Food Before Eating- It never fails that if a local dish is placed in front of a white person they will shamelessly bend their back and smell the food; committing one of the most taboo acts in African society. And, God, forbid it’s a sandwich or meat, then they just put it right up to their nose.I guess someone should tell them you cant smell runny tummy until it comes out of the human body.

9. Get House Help- Wait, never mind most of them of had it before.

10. Fall in Love- It never fails that once a white person has come to Africa, they will fall in love with it. They will start non-profits, get friends to donate to a local village and even quit their jobs to become volunteers; all for the love of Africa. But hey, who can blame them? It is a great place.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pick a Pocket

Monday I fired my maid. I didn't fire her because she was lazy or because she was too sassy in the mouth; although she was both things. I fired her because she stole. I would tell you I feel bad, but I don't. If you really know me, you know I am a capitalist and I don't mess with money. Unfortunate for her, she never realized this about me.

In Ghana  many service class people think it is ok to steal. In their mind they have so much less than you have, and as a result, they sometimes feel they are entitled to a piece of your pie. So when the grocery bill went up slightly after he coming, I didn't say anything. After all, I cant spend my time worried about where the extra 2 cedis is, but when she blatantly took 8 cedis from the pockets of the laundry she was doing, the story line changed.

Now, of course, some of you will say how do you know she took the money. Because the boocakes and I purposefully put the money in the clothes to see if she would take it. We then baited her and told her she had to check all the pockets of the clothing because we were missing a receipt. Funny, the receipt came back, but the money never did. Although, she did mention she found one cedi. However, she took that to buy washing soap.....on her own volition.

So when the crocodile tears started to flow after I dismissed her, I was not the least bit moved. But I will admit I did apply the utilitarian principle, "Is the man who steals because he is hungry the same as the man who steals just to steals? " My answer has always been no. But when I looked at this situation she wasn't starving, in fact, she has been eating out every day for the past few weeks....probably on my dime. Since she has started working she has started wearing weave, the mark of a professional woman in Ghana, and I have noticed her wardrobe has expanded. Therefore, the only reason I could justify her taking the money was greed.

Perhaps I am wrong, but I have discovered one thing about myself; I don't really care about the utilitarian principle when I am the man being stolen from.

Until the Next Time. Smooches.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Whiter Walls.

Well, as luck may have it, I am moving to a new house. Yes, I did just move into this one slightly over 90 days ago, but the owner found a buyer and the buyer wants to live in the house. I would say boo, but I secretly hate this house. The water issue, I had at first, put a bad taste in my mouth; not to mention the other hundred issues I have faced since living here.

So I was lucky enough to get a do over. The only unfortunate thing, like all things in Ghana, is that you always are expected to put a certain amount of work in. With this house, it was the walls. The owner failed to use water cement when building so moisture was trapped in the cement, making it impossible to have a decent paint job. So I decided to fix two of the walls in the greatest need and leave the others for another time. After all, I am still adjusting to the fact that someone expects me to add valuable work to their property...still lost on that one.

Fortunately for me, I actually know people in this neighborhood; one, of whom, is a mason. So he came over we discussed the work and set the price. The next morning, I met his worker at the house and showed him what needed to be done and left to attend to some business.

Now, like with most carpenters and handymen, it is essential that you keep an eye on them. Therefore I returned, about 3 hours later, only to find every wall, with even the smallest water stain, chiseled out ready to be re-cemented. Yes, I said every wall. I would have acted a straight ass on the mason, but we know each other and it might have made future social situations awkward. So after the worker confirmed I had instructed him to do only two rooms, the mason conceded and we agreed I would pay the same price for all the work. So, in the end, we both left happy. Ok, I am lying, I was probably happier than he was, but , hey, at least I wont be giving him shady eyes and talking smack about his work over the punchbowl at the next party. So what is the lesson learned from this? Sometimes the best blessings come in the form of misunderstandings, because I just won the handyman lottery!!

Until Next Time. Smooches.