Tuesday, 1 April 2008

April, April!

April,april din dumma sill, jag kan lura dig vart jag vill! (loosely: "april, april you silly fish, I can trick you to anywhere I wish). This we used to laughingly squeal to each other after a really good prank on April Fool's day. Luckily, April Fool's day seems to be one of those days that are still celebrated, even in adult age. Google had their prank this morning about sending emails from the past and on Atlantis radio they spoke of Kofi Annan running as an independent candidate for Ghana's presidency (I can only assume that's an April Fool's joke, they didn't actually confirm whether it was or not). It seems we adults can have as much fun with April Fool's and sometimes even take it to a level that can't be reached by children.

As a matter of fact, M told me about an outright evil prank that she and D played on their friends one year, after the same thing had been done to M the year before by some other friends. They sent letters to their Ghanaian friends in Gothenburg offering them an extremely lucrative post with the UN, but all documentation would have to be sent in that day and April 1 (the day on which the friends received the letter, of course) was the last day for calling to confirm acceptance of the job. M gave out her number but purposely did not answer, even as the phone rang frenetically all day. I can only imagine how all their friends were running up and down to get all their documentation in order, too rushed to even wonder how this job was offered to them without them even having to apply for it. They were probably too busy dreaming of the perks involved, a wonderful salary, free trips to Ghana, children's schooling paid for, all their prayers would have been answered at once.

M doesn't have to imagine what they went through, she had been through the same thing a year before when SIDA (Swedish International Development Association) offered her the job of her dreams, a job in her profession and (I believe), working in Ghana, with regular trips back to Sweden, the only trouble being, you guessed it, all the documents would have to be sent by April 1, after a successful phone call was made to accept the appointment.

And yet it seems being burnt has in no way made M sympathetic to April Fool's victims, rather it seems misery really does love company. This Friday, M, who in everyday life is the most kind-hearted, angelic person, came up with an even more evil idea: Sending letters to random people in Ghana on April 1, supposedly from the American Embassy, explaining that they had won in the Green Card Lottery AND a free trip to the US. Only problem - the trip would of course be scheduled for, yes you guessed it, April 1, and to get their green cards and make the flight, they must report at the American Embassy at 10 a.m. of April 1, with their passports, documents and packing for the trip to America. As M and I roared with laughter at the sight of a long queue of people outside the gates of the Embassy with suitcases and all, we realised our plan would fail mainly because: how would we get names and addresses of random persons to send the letters to at such short notice, and imagine the state of emergency that would occur at the embassy when rows and rows of Ghanaians were found all ready to take of to the Land of Opportunity!

As I imagined them lining up outside the embassy, I also realised the offer of a green card would be so high up on the list of wishes for many Ghanaians, many of them would in the excitement resign from their current jobs, before even setting foot on the plane to America or receiving their Green Cards, yes, the offer would be so much higher than even the jobs offered to M and D's friends on that April 1st several years ago. April Fool's Day may be a free-for-all, play-a-prank-on-anybody day, but there is an extent to how far you play with people's hearts.

Happy April Fool's day, the pranksters are all out there, make sure you're one of them rather than the April Fool.


Nana Yaw A said...

Great Swedish rhyme in the beginning. Even greater writing style. Maya, you are a star waiting to be discovered!

Marcia said...

Yes certainly do not be the fool. Great insight into the world of April fool pranks in Ghana. I suppose you heard of the 2005 or so prank in Takoradi where hundreds of fishermen lined up to sign up for the U.S military operation in Iraq..yes a completely embarrassing situation. Even more ironic is that you would not find such enthusiasm for military sign ups in the U.S. So I guess it was more of an indication of desperation than anything else, and sure we can laugh it off but there is a serious side to it. Thanks for making us think..Great blog!!


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