I woke up on Sunday morning with a start. I had had the most bizarre dream and my heart was pounding wildly. With my head throbbing and throat aching, I tried to recollect the details of my dream as my eyes adjusted to the pre-dawn light.
Ah. I had it.
I had dreamt about a solar eclipse. One moment the sun was shining bright and bold in the heavens, and in the next the moon had crept over its entire surface, blotting light from the afternoon sky. My cousin Yehoda had rushed into my house dressed like a wet gypsy in purple, ragged fabric and ushered my children into the bathroom upstairs with haste. Her eyes were wild as though she feared some calamity would fall upon and devour us all!
I stood in the cul-de-sac in front of my home alone, urging my children to come out and see the eclipse for themselves.
“Come on guys! Nadjah, Aya, Stone, Liya! Come and see the eclipse!”
“No, no, Mommy! We’re not coming out!” they shouted from the safety of the bathroom upstairs.
So I watched the spectacle all by myself. When the moon had covered the sun, a rainbow shot over the circumference of the sky orb and smiled at me below. Then a unicorn came galloping by in a field of grass I never knew was close to my home. Next, 15 fighter jets, rocket ships and missiles flew overhead in some weird formation, but that was not before a giant satellite appeared from thin air to block my view and get a photograph of the sun and moons brief romance. In the distance, a band was playing America the Beautiful.
And then I woke up.
I had no idea a solar eclipse was to occur later that day; and I am convinced now more than ever that I have some gifting in the area of foresight. Either that or I have been wretchedly cursed with the inability to recall what I read and when I read it. Surely this has been in the news for a while? I don’t remember. I’m going with foresight.
Social media was all abuzz in the hours surrounding the eclipse. People were admonishing each other, making predictions and doing what West Africans do best in these extraordinary moments: make money off the event.
“How many babies do you think will be named after the eclipse today?”
“Hmmm. You know your people. Here are the possible names:
Kwadwo Adjei Eclipse Boateng
Lunesta Amina Muhammed
Elom Eclipse Delight Godislove Agbeve
“How many pastors do you think are making money off of this eclipse right now?”
“Ah! It wouldn’t be Ghana if some pastor wasn’t lubricating his palms, talking about the miracles of Almighty “Ghad” and how even as the darkness comes for a moment, the light will return quickly in your life!”
“Yes ohhh… and we should all bring our offering.”
“I don’t see how people can attribute the solar eclipse to the work of God when we know, courtesy of NASA, the exact date and time of every eclipse to come up until 2100!”
“Oh come on, Johnny. Don’t you know He’s an ‘On time God’? Of course we have a schedule!”
I asked my father about his thoughts on the eclipse. He was sitting in the house, as usual. He doesn’t get out much these days. He told me he’d had a long day at church the Saturday before. His car was trapped between 3 vehicles and he had to sit there from 9 am – 3pm. Poor man.
“You know, these days, Ghanaians like to bluff with their technology,” he chuckled. “You see them sitting in church with their iPad, iPod, whatever, scrolling through their tablet. Me too, I will bluff some.”
“What do you mean, Daddy?”
“When you come, you will download the whole Bible for me onto my laptop,” he instructed. “And then when the Pastor says we should hold up our bibles, I will have my laptop in hand and I’ll also bluff! My laptop is bigger than any iPad in the room.”
“And therefore more powerful, eh?”
“Yes, dummy! Of course! My laptop is 3 times bigger than any iWhatever. If they don’t take time, I will even bring my slate and chalk we used to use when I was a kid in school. That’s a REAL tablet.”
As is his custom, my father burst into a fit of laughter and completely ignored the topic about the eclipse. He wanted to talk about technology. So we did.
Did you witness the eclipse? Was it everything you hoped it would be, or were you upset you spent your last 5 cedis to buy glasses for a 30 second show? Not to worry. It’s the sign of the times. That’s exactly how Ghana’s government operates these days, doesn’t it? Over promise, under perform….