(Some sights of Yaounde by night).
In geography lessons, we learnt that Cameroon has just two seasons … the dry and rainy seasons. One is characterised by extreme heat and harmattan while the other is characterised by heavy rains and extreme cold though the effects of climate change have become more pronounced; making the heat waves and rains unpredictable. For example, the rainy and dry seasons in Yaoundé were quite predictable a few years ago. Rains were expected during the months of March and October. Nowadays, they are very unpredictable as rains fall almost every month.
Yet, there is what I call seasons within seasons in these two prominent seasons. The seasons which herald certain periods such as the season of plenty food, farming etc. There were noticeable tell-tale signs which served just as well as a meteorologist in this our part of the world where weather forecasts are not very pronounced.
(Yaounde by night in December)
When we noticed street vendors scattered everywhere selling roasted plantains and plums a little cheaper than normal, we knew it was the plum season and we readied our stomachs to have their fill. And so too with things like boiled corns, ground nuts, etc.
Extremely chapped lips and dry or runny noses were all indications of the dry aka flu season.
( An office Xmas Tree)
And then December and Christmas trees start shooting up in big businesses long before homes and we understood it was time for rice, stew, chin-chin and so on. Still, one very noticeable sign was the display of unique packets of balloons aka bolobolo in shops. Each time I saw these balloons in many provision shops around, a song we sang growing up comes to mind:
‘Bolo bolo burst, 5 frs go…small pikin loss Ibo man gain’
(Balloon which brings childhood memories)
Today the shops are owned by others as the majority of the Ibos have long gone back to Nigeria while the price has shot up to 25frs. Still, that song always came to mind and I always smiled at the childish determination to play the ‘lucky game’ until someone won the biggest balloon in the packet.
We all had our little wooden banks we dropped coins into formulating ideas of what we would buy come December. It was a period of heightened expectations with everyone on their good behaviour least they missed out on that new Christmas dress or shoes or rice and stew and the freedom to roam around and visit all houses in the neighbourhood if we could.
(Some characteristics of the Xmas period)
Today, I no longer celebrate Christmas. For one thing, I now understand this day has been celebrated long before the birth of Christ and history shows that in order to Christianized the Sungod communities, this day 25th December celebrated as the birthday of the invincible sun was ‘Christianized and given a rebirth’ as the birthday of Christ. I understand many believe they are honouring God and Christ on this day. However, I have often wondered how do you honour someone on a day purported to be his birthday but which there is no substantial evidence that himself celebrated that day?
I know many will argue the day reminds them of God’s love for mankind and the need to contemplate this love with family. That is a good enough reason and I respect that. However, I believe digging deep into the Bible which speaks God’s thoughts to us today will help us contemplate this love always with family and loved ones.
Furthermore, the materialistic tendency and the commercialisation of this period have made me wonder if this truly honours God and Christ?
( adverts on billboards, banners on streets doing promos during this period)
These and a lot of other factors made me stop celebrating Christmas. The hype surrounding this season has encouraged me to show love all the time not only during this particular moment. Nevertheless, as I saw everywhere around me glittering, the population rushig to the market like there was no tomorrow, the excitement of kids, I couldn’t help taking a trip down memory lane of the time when I too was an excited kid during the month of December.
(More sights of Yaounde)
May Love continue to lead 365 days not 11and ¾ months.
Keep reading, keep sharing and keep commenting. We are inspired by your comments, thank you.
ARREY E. AGBOR-NDAKAW.