Salah and glasses

2 10 2008

Tamale celebrated the end of Ramadan yesterday (Wednesday). Oddly the public holiday for Eid was actually on Tuesday because there was a difference of opinion as to when Ramadan actually started and the government in Accra decided to go with its ending on Tuesday. But differences aside Tamale was bustling with smart, brightly dressed people hurrying to celebratory feasts ladened with bowls of food. Most of the stalls were closed and the usually predatory shoe-shine boys were absent from the town centre. Instead a general spirit of good will prevailed and bands of colourfully dressed children demanded “Salah gifts”. And in the spirit of Christmas I played the part of Scrooge and denied them. Actually I’d have bankrupted myself as every child in Tamale honed in on my white face eagerly.

I’d had to go into town to collect a parcel from the post office. I hadn’t been expecting one so was a little confused when the office messenger gave me a pink slip from the post office telling me I had a package waiting. It turned out that the parcel that I’d given up on which my sister had posted at the end of February had finally surfaced.

Due to my immense stupidity I lost two pairs of glasses around Christmas, one of which was prescription dark glasses. I’d like to blame the effect of Larium on my short term memory but I suspect age, booze and lack of concentration were bigger contributors (one pair were lost during energetic dancing to celebrate the New Year, the other left in an internet cafe). As a result I decided to ask Ellen, my sister, to get a pair of “transition” glasses made up to the prescription I’d left with her. Being a kind and generous sister she did this and I overrode her suggestion that she send it registered post. A decision I later regretted. After waiting two months and visiting the post office repeatedly I lost all hope and went out and bought a pair of transition (reactalite, goes dark in sunshine) glasses here in Accra. Because Spec-Savers in the UK gave a free pair I’ve gone from having just one pair in February to four pairs now. I can afford to be as reckless with my spectacles as I like now

And I was able to give one of the new pairs an outing yesterday evening to celebrate Eid myself with a beer sitting on the roof of a bar while a live band played below, as I looked across to the central Mosque and chatted to Kim from the Peace Corp.

(Salah is the name locally used for the ceebrations around Eid)

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