Sunday, August 23, 2009

RFAG #5: I'm a Celebrity

Everywhere I go, people will run after me yelling, "Obruni! Obruni!" At first, I thought it was quaint and my response was to smile and wave. Then I was a weirded out by it and my response turned into a scowl. But lately, I've started rolling with it, and respond with, "I love you too!" as if I were a celebrity and they were my adoring fans.

It does feel rather like being a celebrity to have throngs of people crowding around you, trying to touch you. I can appreciate how difficult the loss of anonymity must be -- if I go certain places, I will need to deal with my adoring fans, whether I want to or not. I feel like a one-hit wonder with a single famous catch phrase; when they shout, "Obruni! Wo ho te sen?!" I respond, "Me ho ye" and they go wild (It's not a very glamorous conversation: White man, how are you? I'm fine).

Just as there are areas in the US where enough celebrities hang out that people are too cool to be impressed by seeing a one hit wonder, there are places here with enough Obrunis that we get left alone. There is also an interesting age dynamic. Very young children act either shy or terrified, while small boys and small girls think it's the coolest thing ever when I throw out my one liner.

Adolescents, being so worldly, often act smug and indifferent, while the most confident ones will try to pound fists, call you homie, and be your friend. My other big fan base is old ladies, who are just as thrilled as the kids when I drop some Twi.

Finally, there's the random curious dude that will suddenly and completely unexpectedly start petting your hair, or touching a freckle and saying, "Look! You have small-small black man in you!"

Such is the life of a celebrity in Ghana.

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