Cookie's Bliss Kumasi

The Wave

These serious faces are typical of the transformation giddy, playful Ghanaian children undergo when the camera points in their direction.

Every couple of weeks or so, we walk over to the pizza garden at Nik’s for Sunday “cook’s night out.” We usually take a short cut through what’s left of the Kumasi Forest Reserve to avoid the traffic of Melcom Road and Ahodwo Roundabout.

Our neighborhood was once a lush forest reserve as indicated on our copy of a map from the 70’s. Parts of Adiebeba are still green – the rice fields east of our house and the little village inside the chain link fence where the last of the park equipment is housed.

We generally begin our walk just before sunset, when the kids are playing along the road, hanging in the trees, many of them still wearing their Sunday best while their parents pound fufu and stir their dinner stews. Both young and old welcome us as we pass, calling out “Obroni!” (white man!) to which Bob happily responds, “Obibini! (black man!)

A few weeks ago, on our way through the reserve, Bob thought it would be fun to teach the kids how to do the Wave. The Wave, according to Wikipedia is “an example of metachronal rhythm achieved in a packed stadium when successive groups of spectators briefly stand, yell, and raise their arms. Immediately upon stretching to full height, the spectator returns to the usual seated position.”

So Bob lined up the smiling children, from smallest to tallest and we positioned ourselves on one end of the line. He raised his arms over his head and we began to raise ours in turn but by now all the children were standing with their hands over their heads. “Okay,” Bob said or rather, “Da bi, da bi (No, no) “we must raise our arms one person at a time.” He went down the line, pointing at each child to raise their arms in turn until a wave had been achieved. Then he got back in line and kicked off another wave. It went better this time.

Two weeks later we were again cutting through the reserve on our way to pizza night. We could see the children playing up ahead but as we drew closer, they stopped running around and hanging from the trees. By the time we reached them, they were standing in a colorful line at the edge of the dirt road, stifling giggles, peering expectantly around each other in our direction.

Smiling broadly, we silently joined the line and started a wave. A wave of outstretched arms rippled down down the line with the help of some coaching by the bigger children. “Okay, now from the other side.” Bob proposed and the wave flowed flawlessly back towards our end.

We all cheered and broke into laughter. Filled with the joy of success, of something shared, we continued along our way.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.