Thursday, December 3, 2009

You Think You Have a Loud Neighbor?

Sunday, 22 nov 2009, balcony, Accra:

This weekend in Accra has been fabulous.  As I am writing this—just to give you an idea—I’m sitting on my balcony, still covered in grime from today, but immeasurably enjoying the cool pre-sunset temperature, and very much hoping everyone else in Ghana is doing the same.  I’ll bet you 50 Ghanaian cedi the kids across the way are.  From what I can tell, there are about 10 or 15 energetic young boys running around playing football at an empty school field.  They’d no doubt be playing football even if the weather weren’t as pleasant as it is—but I’ll bet you at the very least the small breeze and relative coolness of the evening isn’t entirely unnoticed by them. 

It’s about 5:12 on a Sunday night.  My balcony faces west, so I have a nice view (if you’d call it that.  Having been brought up in North Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico and in southeast Kansas, I consider myself a mite particular when it comes to “nice” horizons) of the round African sun setting over tin roofs and laundry lines, and into a smudge of pink pollution (note: more on environmental issues at another time).

My neighbor, The Mosque With The Loudspeaker (the loudness being no distinction from any other mosque, by the way; all the mosques have loudspeakers, just providing some background for you, more gentle readers), is also somehow westerly of me, though I can’t be sure of its exact location.  What I can tell you, though, is that

  • I do not speak Arabic, the language that is blasted over the loudspeaker five times a day.  I don’t mind the mosque being so close to my apartment, but it would really, really, really be nice if someone would turn down the volume on that frickin’ loudspeaker when it is time to pray at, oh, you know, DAWN. 
  • I don’t mind the fact that there are Muslims in my neighborhood, and very many in all of Africa combined—much, probably, to the dismay of my more conservative and fearful American friends and family.  In my opinion, God is love and Allah is God, so isn’t it all really the same?
  • Religious differences are not my jam.  Refugee rights—that’s my passion.  End scene.  Again, I don’t care what religion my neighbors are, or that it is part of their tradition to pray five times a day over a loudspeaker.  I do, however, wish that I knew what they were saying.  If I did, perhaps maybe I’d be able to engage somehow in a conversation about particular ideas.
  • Sometimes, especially at, you know, DAWN, I pretend I know what’s being chanted over the loudspeaker, just so at the very least I can ENJOY the interruption, instead of resent it.  I pretend the Arabic from the loudspeaker translates into, “Hello, hello, hello sleeping girl.  I am making you coffeeeeee.  Hello, I am making you coffeeeeeeeeee.  Sleeeeeeeeeeep while I put the pancakes onnnnnnnnn.  Sleeeeeeeeeep while I put honnnnnnnnneyyyyyy on the pancaaaaaaaaakesssssssss and sllllllllllllippers onnnnnnnnnnnnnn your feeeeeeeeeeeeet.”

Anyway, so that’s the mosque across the street.  

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