Last weekend was the annual festival in Lawra, and that sentence was the excuse for every missed meeting, cancelled program, and night of drunken mischief. The festival, or Kobine, as they call it here, is an excuse for everyone who has any connection to Lawra to make the pilgrimage back to celebrate the harvest and culture. If your mom’s cousin’s friend’s wife’s grandfather had once been to Lawra, you were here. The festivities went on for three days, a long weekend full of dancing and pito.
It began with with the marching of the sub-district chiefs from the palace to the field where we heard an address from every political figure in Upper West, including the Regional Minister. His speech focused mainly on keeping the Dagaati culture alive through dancing, clothing, and food. As we can’t dance the local dance and don’t own a Northern smock between the three of us, Janette, Sarah, and I went back to our favorite chop bar and enjoyed a local dish, washing it down with some of our own concoctions of “Kobine Cocktails.”
The next day was the dance competition. This is not at all what you picture when you think dance competition. Each sub-district sends a team to the festival to show the local dance, which looks to me like some sort of chicken dance in fast forward. I can’t count the number of times the women in Eremon have made me try to dance this dance, but if I can at least act as a source of entertainment I feel as if I have done my job. I didn’t take part in the competition, to everyone’s disappointment, but it was amazing to watch. Plus, Eremon Senior High School was awarded second place!
The last day concluded with a beauty pageant to determine Miss Kobine and a night of dancing TDB (‘til day break). No I did not make that up. The term was already in use in Lawra, but I’m bringing it home with me. These Ghanaians really know how to party. Additions for next year: 1) Learn how to dance the dance and 2) Enter and win the Miss Kobine pageant. Don’t laugh.