Maamobi-Nima is always a bustling town. On any given day, you will have to jostle as a pedestrian with vehicles for space on the road. The sidewalks are normally overtaken by parked cars and vendors. The market, though not the biggest around, is usually abuzz with trading every day of the week. Its limits extends beyond the originally demarcated area in the residential spaces. In fact, there is little distinction between areas of residence and places of trade in some parts of this town.
On the 29th of Ramadan, the entire town morphed into a market. Maamobi-Nima is the de-facto capital of Muslims in Accra if not Ghana. It houses the biggest mosque in the country on its boundaries, some of the best madrassa (Islamic school) can be found here, the percentage of Muslims living there is most likely above 95%, and a number of the leading Islamic scholars in the country either schooled here or were born in its houses. Sadly, it is also the manifestation of all the Muslim stereotypes in Ghana.
The town was in a flux with Ramadan nearing its end. There was already some confusion over whether the day after was going to be Eid so people rushed in and out to get their supplies for the feast.
Tailors who had promised to deliver on time were on track to fail. They had taken in almost every order that came in and before they knew it, the heap of work on their tables was beyond their capacity. It was another opportunity for them to ruin the plans of people to look dapper.
Makeshift poultry farms had sprouted on the high street. This was the small Eid and not the one for the big feasting on sheep and goats. Poultry was the go to animal for dining. The cheap imported chicken was not an option. Sallah was the only time most of the celebrants got close to proper dining and they were not going to settle for the cheap stuff.
Bags of rice were being carted to and fro from one shop to the back of a hunched porter. Crates of tin tomatoes were on the heads of the kayaaye, boxes of fruit juices were being packed into the trunk of taxis. Food had to be in abundance in two days’ time. It had been a month of fasting and no chance had to be taken in getting the feast right.
In every Zongo community, not only in Maamobi-Nima, people were asking the same question. “Has the moon been sighted?” or in its beloved form in the Hausa language “angan wata?” It was about time for a repeat of the moon wars. The Chief Imam had already set a date for Eid to make it easy for a national holiday to be declared by the government. The fiqh arguments were in full force. Throwing one hadith after the other all over the place, it was clear no headway was ever going to be made on this issue. It was not the first time this had happened and it most certainly was not going to be the last.
But it did look like something amicable was going to happen this year, albeit in an arbitrary manner. For the first time in a long time, no old man in Tafo had sighted the moon. Neither had a Fulani herdsman done same in Afram Plains. Eid was going to be celebrated on the same day across the country.
Meanwhile, I am eagerly waiting for Wednesday to strap on my white agoda. I have never been this vain about clothing but charley you need to see this agoda I am talking about. Wait till you see me roll up the sleeves (does an agoda even have a sleeve?)
Eid Mubarak in advance!