Saturday, November 13, 2010

Light Off

I was sitting outside last night journaling when suddenly -- light off, a power outage swept through Aflao.

In the blink of an eye, the world became dark and quiet.
After the initial (somewhat humorous) cry of dismay echoed throughout the entire city, everything fell eerily silent. I hadn't realized how loud the sound of a dozen different radios blaring gospel music was until it cut out. I hadn't realized how bright our house lights were until they were gone either.

It was the most breathtaking moment I have had in Africa so far.

The shock of the sudden light off jerked me out of my self-absorption. I was totally engrossed in my journal, concentrating on writing down everything so I wouldn't miss a single detail- but that moment forced my chin up and said,

"Look at what you're missing now."

There was a split second I was tempted to grab my flashlight and keep writing,  but I realized that would've been sacriligious somehow.
Instead I gave in and let myself be in the moment.
For a long time I laid back on the benches in front of our house and just soaked it all in- the dancing black silhouettes of the coconut trees, lightning flickering in the distance. As the darkness saturated the night, I watched the stars appear one by one.

My host father returned from some errand and we talked for a long time. Some of my best moments in Ghana have been simply sitting with Worfa in front of our house. There is no doubt that the relationships I have made have defined my experience here. He taught me a song in Ewe and told some old Ghanaian stories that were neither history nor legend, but something in between. My host mother Victoria returned from market and some of our neighbor women came over. We sat eating Triscuits and laughing uproariously at nothing.

After they left, my host parents and I spread our mats in the sand and laid down to marvel at the night in comfortable silence. Several airplanes flew overhead and I wondered what Aflao looked like from the air. Was it even visible without the glow of electric lights?

It was a moment of exquisite freedom.

No Nollywood movies spouting their drama on the television.
No emails to answer.
No texts buzzing in my pocket.
No Holy FM blasting hiplife on the radio.
No light to tempt me to lose myself in a book or a crossword puzzle.

Light off.

1 comment:

  1. One of your better posts, Katherine. I saw you thinking, not reacting. And it was beautiful.