"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead

Saturday, June 11, 2011

“Respect your elders…but please put on your seatbelt!”

So my fast friend here in the village has become the chief of all the land of Patriensa. Since my arrival in town he has taken great strides to make me feel welcomed. As we sat and visited on the first day, he called for two Star beers to be delivered, the big size. He continued to refill my cup as I drank. I was the only one there drinking. Needless to say I felt and though I was being a lush. Pastor Kofi called it suffering in silence. He said there may be some time that I would have to entertain the wishes of my new royal friend. He is so kind and reminds me a lot of my Papa Tanner. He is a young man of a mere 90s. He told me stories about his homes in Kumasi, Accra, and Brooklyn, New York. He gave me the address of the New York one and told me how it was seven stories high. I told him that would be plenty of room for me to stay when I go to see New York. He laughed, but I wonder if he knew I was serious? He took me by the hand and led me just beyond the palace to the location of the old post office. It is currently in construction to become the first police station in Patriensa. A group of honorable community members and myself listened as the chief described his plan for the property. He was so proud of this project. When I first arrived he was showing us his new car, a BMW X5. Very snazzy, one of 16 vehicles he owns he told me. And although he is of matured age, he does not let his driver chauffer him down the road, he continues to drive. His first attempt to gain my humor was to offer me the keys to this vehicle to use while in town. Now mind you that would have been simply incredibly cool, the story did not end that way…

He grabbed my hand and we walked over to the car. I helped him into the seat where a pillow nestled nicely to give him a little boost of height. I go to the passenger’s side and get into the vehicle. He is waiting on me to put in the key and start it. Then I am instructed to put it in gear and make sure the parking break is off. After several minutes of trying to decipher the workings of a vehicle I have not driven from view of the passenger’s seat, we feel confident the “D” in the dashboard is saying you may now drive, and away we go, just me and my chief. Cruising through Patriensa in a BMW X5. He laughs so cutely when I ask him would he rather I drive. He said I couldn’t or he would die. Where would he get that from? I am the grandest of drivers. The initial movements of ride were not as bad as when dared to go throughout the village, waving at people, and then hit the main road. Here was the challenge. The chief had something in his mind. The rest of us had something different. Apparently no one communicate each plan to the other. So the chief and I passed the road to the work site and as he kept driving I calmly mentioned that he may want to go where Pastor Kofi and the Kontihene were heading. He said, No, I am going to see your place. OK. So we roll forward to my guesthouse and I get on the phone with PK to let me know they should alter their route accordingly. We arrive at the guesthouse and Prince, my house mate is not there at the moment so he gate is locked to get in. I talked with the chief and said he would be back. Let’s go look at the jobsite for now. Then we began a ten minute dance of drive to reverse to pray we don’t pull out in front of a car on a busy Ghanaian roadway. We continued on a bit further and then were lead by the Kontihene and Pastor Kofi through an obstacle course of dodging buildings and trees in order to make a path. Finally we arrive at our location, the glorious Patriensa Pure Enterprise, LTD site. There were several more moments spent strapped in with the Chief in our pursuits around Patriensa. I like my new friend. I love seatbelts. His fighthing spirit is much like my Nanny DeVaughan. He has come to check on me every morning and asked my presence several times to join him. He has offered me to meet the Chief over the whole Ashanti region and he also introduced me to the Medical Director of Agogo Hospital. I have learned that I am good with him I just MUST remember to buckle up!

Life is so fickle and fun. It is everything you need and nothing you want sometimes. But when it all works out into some comediac and relevant bliss, you just have to think….a divine eye must be pleased we all made it to this point. Gye Name.

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