This is a true story, told to me by the one, the only, **drumroll** Charles Seth Ofori.
When Grandpa Charles was a little boy in Vakpo, there was a certain delicacy that almost all in the village were familiar with: locusts. (Darling, don’t scrunch your face up in disgust; my mother confirms that they are absolutely delicious.) Because they were familiar with this peculiar erm…dish, they also knew the uh…adverse effects it had on one’s digestive system. Charles knew this too. A certain friend and neighbour of his, however, did not.
This person was not named in the retelling of this story to me, but for the sake of this story, I shall christen him with the easiest Ewe name I can think of: Togbui.
So, Togbui was not only ignorant about the locusts’ effects; he had, in fact, never tasted any. Then one day, an individual whom I assume was either very pitying or highly sadistic, introduced Togbui to fried locusts. I’m sure you can tell that what ensued was a kind of painful pleasure.
Take your current favourite food. Imagine as much of it in front of you as possible. Now erase all memory of its taste in your head so that when you dig in, it will be like the first time. Just imagine it. Will you be able to ever get enough? If your imagination is wide enough, maybe you can understand Togbui’s ecstasy and powerlessness to stop eating. I must here resort to borrowing an overused quasi-pidgin phrase to describe his fervency: “He dey go oh!”
Eventually he stopped. There are limits to all the human body’s capacities, after all. Togbui had had his fill. However, what we are aware of that he probably wasn’t was this: a great many good things come with equal or larger prices.
…Which would explain why, the next day, more than an acceptable number of people could hear his loud grunts of agony from the latrine.
Don’t laugh. Someone is there, genuinely suffering in a wrestling match with his bowels, and you dare to laugh! What cruelty! But Charles laughed. My goodness. Why didn’t anyone warn him, eh? Is that how mean people are? I don’t know how long he stayed on the toilet, but I can confirm there was much pain and sweat involved. They should have fed him pawpaw.
That’s the other thing. Not many industrially manufactured medicines were available, but there were, of course, the herbs and the natural laxatives – but even those often took a while to take effect. Our poor Togbui was hence forced to endure that pain until the waste decided for itself that it was ready to depart from his body. Meanwhile, Charles Seth Ofori continued to laugh his head off.
I think it would be safe for me to stay away from locusts as much as I can help it.