show time

“Ok Mohammad, don’t forget to face the audience. We want to see you when you are speaking,” I say. My final pep talk. I turn to the rest of the JSS students, all in ridiculous costume. “Oh, and have fun up there!” I hand each one a microphone as hundreds of Sankpalians, the Carter Center staff, and Sheriff Ghali and Sherifa Gunu, two of Ghana’s leading musicians all wait. “Show time baby, do your thing!”

And they were fan-freaking-tastic. I was like that over-zealous and obnoxious mother who was practically on stage taking pictures and throwing assuring thumbs up between scenes.

Last Thursday, the long awaited Guinea Worm concert ::heard we might get Sheriff to come put on a concert! Bagh!:: took place in our very own marketplace. A slue of amazing performances (and a few pretty ridiculous, lip singing crazies), including myself being pulled on stage by a half naked dancer who motioned for me to give it what I got (no problem). My JSS performed a Guinea Worm drama, followed by a Guinea Worm Q&A by Seidu, Suli, Zachari and myself. Sheriff closed the show by bringing a bunch of kids on stage to help him sing one of his most popular songs. At midnight we finally finished, and mothers dragged their sleepy children home and giggled about the highlights of the night. The next day the whole village was buzzing about the concert. I couldn’t go anywhere without someone calling out my name while rocking their hips, imitating my debut. The 70-year old primary headmaster, Avi John, put it best: “That concert last night was real groovy! Really, really groovy!”

The same concert took place the next night in Fulfuso Junction, which I also went to. Hey, free concert. As the show was about to start, a woman plopped down next to me, throwing all her belongings on my lap and frantically pulling beads on her wrists and neck. “I hope they have that guy who played the guitar like they did in Sankpala last night,” she says to me as she pulls out a compact mirror and smacks on some red lipstick. “He was good.” I hope they have Sherifa on again. Do you know she and her crazy dancers will be here? She looks up from powdering her nose, and narrows her eyebrows. “You mean me?” A beam of light catches our chairs and Sherifa ducks. 

“Agh, they are filming the audience. They aren’t supposed to see me yet!” Ohmagash, you are Sherifa, I stutter, suddenly star-struck. Didn’t notice you without your Mohawk! She pulls off her headscarf and her wild thin braids pop into place. Ah. Now you are Sherifa!

The Fulfuso Red Cross mothers come on to do a Guinea Worm drama after some of the musical sets. Hannah pre-warned me that it might be the world’s longest drama. Forty-five minutes later I started mentally writing my will, because if it’s possible to die of boredom I was in trouble. Sherifa turns to me wide eyed and tells me she can’t take another minute of it. I text Raymond, who was somewhere in the crowd, Oh my god, this might never end. To which he responded, “They agreed to run the drama as long as there is still Guinea Worm in Junction. It’s a way to bored the worm to death. Unfortunately it has serious side effects on human beings too.”

Well said. Work continues to be more fun then it should be. Sometimes it pays to be living in the most endemic district in Ghana. (Whatever that means)


dustykaster said…

I have a Blogspot now. I haen't figured out how to follow people's blogs though. Hope you are well.


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