As the countdown begins for the Christmas season in Liberia, the quasi totality of the population is very worried. They are worried because, according to the tradition here, parents have to make special preparations for this season. The children have to wear new clothes and shoes, and eat their favorite food on that day. Then, they have to be given the ways and means to go to recreation centers. Liberians in majority are worried because they are finding it difficult to make ends meet.
Seating in the Haitai shop, a glass of Haitai in his hand, Maxim Kpatcha, 54, looks very pensive as he zips the hot tea. “Max, what’s up my man? Are you with us or you are far away? Looking at you, it looks like you are worrying over something.” His friend AB Fallah asks?
“AB, my man, right now my brain is very hot. I am thinking, thinking, and thinking, and I cannot find the solution to my problem. I don’t know what to do. Christmas is right in the corner and until now, I don’t know how I am going to get new clothes for my kids. I know that day we will just cook dry rice.” Maxim lamented.
AB gets up from his seat and dresses near his friend, puts his right hand on his left shoulder, few taps, and starts to talk to him. “Look Maxim, you are not the only one who gets such a problem in this country right now, so you have to put yourself together and stop thinking too much before you drop and die from high blood pressure. Come on man, look around you a while, and you will understand what is happening.” He says to Maxim.
“Boss man, one more glass for you? That one that free for you boss, so your heart will cool down. You know boss, me, I think God not agree yet that why; pray boss, pray and every thing will be alright one day.” Hamidou, the owner of the Haitai shop, tells Maxim.
Maxim plunks down a paper he was holding in his right hand, yanks to him a small receiver that was playing Ghanaian music, turns it off, and begins to answer Hamidou: “Look you, when we are talking about Christmas, don’t talk inside because you are not a Christian and this is not your feast. You don’t understand the importance of this season Hamidou, so stay far from this discussion.”
“Sorry oh, boss man. I just wanted to give my own na advice oh. That true that I not Christian but we the Muslims have our Christmas too, and when the time comes we suppose to do the same thing for our children and wives. I can start putting money on the side every day until the time comes.” Hamidou responds.
George Glah, 51, who has been listening to the conversation between Max, AB and Hamidou, intervenes to call out to Maxim in this manner. “Look my brother Maxim, I understand your concern and preoccupation, but I want you to look around and tell me if you feel the fever of the season as it used to be during our days.
“I mean, during our days, few days from Christmas, you could feel the fever all over the place. All shopping centers used to be packed to capacity every day, during two weeks preceding the main the day. Those were the days when government employees’ salaries were enough to buy whatever the wanted for their kids. Now, things are different; commodities are very expensive on the market and the salaries can no longer bear the weight”, he says.
AB follows suit by telling Maxim that he has “to catch up with the reality of our days. For instance you can talk to your kids and make them to understand that things will not be the same this year. I am sure the kids will hear you.”
“Well, I think you all for your moral support. I think there is no need to seat and be crying over this thing. Hamidou, give a round of Haitai on me”, he says.