Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fufu and Juju

My nephew has just taken up a year-long assignment running a private, non-profit, fee-free secondary school in a village in Ghana. The coastal setting is Club Med spectacular. The living conditions... not so much.

Judging from the few emails he's managed to send, it sounds like he will have plenty of stories to tell. I hope he decides to write a book. After the jump, an excerpt, just a small part of a larger story, from one email. It's been lightly edited for clarity and anonymity (best let students themselves tell these stories to their parents).

While the visiting student group was here, someone stole a cell phone and a camera out of the girls’ dormitory. A few days later, a guy jumped out of the bushes at night and grabbed one of the girls before running off into the bush. We went off into the bush with machetes and fufu sticks (giant poles used to mash fufu, one of the staple foods here) but were unable to find the guy. The students were so scared that they refused to leave their dorms that night. One girl vomited in her bed and slept in it, and one boy filled a bag with pee.

The next night, one of the workers thought he saw the guy again so we went off on another chase again without success. In the meantime, we identified the guy who stole the cell phone and camera. We threatened to have the police arrest him and discussed whether or not to put the juju out on him (look up juju … it’s basically witchcraft which these people still believe in and follow, leading them to periodically sacrifice people and do other unmentionable things). Fearing that we might put the juju out on him, he snuck back in the night and attempted to return the camera and cell phone without being caught. Two of our school workers were hiding in some cassava plants nearby, saw him, and the chase was on again. Once again we were racing through the bush in the middle of the night with machetes and fufu sticks, and once again we came back empty. The students were terrified.
Source: Dispatch from Ghana.
All I have to add is... Yikes!

No comments: