Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Wasn't Expecting That

[Belated Post]

Yesterday I had the chance to walk into town for a spell which had been something I was neglecting a bit as of late. For almost the whole weekend and Monday I had avoided going out much and that means that I don't talk and greet people often which in turn curtails my language abilities. A walk was in order, so I went.

I make many stops along the way with the people that I have met so far. Some I see every time I go out, others I bump into occasionally and am lucky if I remember their names or faces. One man in particular is Dunko (my approximation of his name) who operates many different types of businesses. I had not seen him in quite some time as he was either at the mosque praying or doing an errand related to his many endeavors.

So yesterday I managed to see him and we exchanged the pleasantries of greetings. I met his sister who just so happens to work across from his little shop. She sits on a bench next to a table of shoes. I sat there and made conversation for a good fifteen minutes before even thinking of getting up. I need to realize that whatever I am going to do isn't so important as talking and getting the hang of language and people right now. Just the same, she was from Accra which meant that she was a Ga speaker, not an Ewe speaker. I gather I will pick up a few phrases from her along the way as I go and come from town. It was a pleasure meeting her.

Back to Dunko though. I was taking my leave from Bernice and wanted to say goodbye to him in his tiny little square shop. He has told me that he trades in scrap metal, an assortment of goods that comes in from cargo ships that he buys for cheap, and other odds and ends that come his way, but his little shop is where he sells meat. I walk up and seem him brandishing his machete and making good solid thwacks on the chopping block of some sort of foot-like appendage. Ah, it is a hoof as I can see when I get closer. Upon  entering though, I see spread out over the rest of his table the other parts of the animal.

Including a severed head looking back at me. For some reason which seemed eerie and comical at the same time, the head of a goat just sitting there out in the open without the requisite body attached struck me as unusual. My recollection is me chuckling and saying hi to the head. I am fairly certain that no part of an animal ever goes to waste here, so I will not be the least surprised when someone says to me in the future, “Oh, I love goat heads for [fill-in-the-blank],” since that is just the way things are here.

But you never really expect to see a goat's head in someone's little stand. I mentally kicked my brain for not having the camera with me. You live and learn.

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