Saturday, August 28, 2010

How to Add an Hour to Your Child’s Sleep

That’s the sort of subheading that I’ve sought out in baby manuals in order to help our early riser be a bit more Buckley about his schedule. Suggestions usually include blackout shades, sound machines, adjusting bedtime. But I’ve never read the tip that worked for us here: ask the DJ in the neighboring village to consider turning down the volume on the show that he broadcasts at 5am over the loudspeakers in your backyard.

Each radio day begins with an ascending 3-part tone, Bum, Bahm, Bum! Whenever we talk about the mornings, Townes now turns to us and says "Bum Bahm Bum!". It would be cute, if it wasn't at 5am.

Not to be defeated by the DJ in Ejuretia, Coy and Maggie went on a mission this week to find the DJ and ask him to turn his music down.

It began with a late evening trek with Maggie through the bush from our village, Ankaase, to the neighboring village of Ejuretia.

The village of Ejuretia. We had to talk to a few people in the village to find out where the DJ lived.

Once we found the offending loudspeaker, we traced the wire back to his house.

After successfully tracing the wire back to the DJ's home, Maggie pounded on the door. Sadly, he wasn't home.

However, he had conveniently painted his mobile number on his house, so we gave him a call.

Once we found the DJ, we were quickly sidetracked to other topics - the radio business, whether America has any fetish priests, his views on the Ghanaian history (specifically, how the Ashanti people migrated from present-day Mali, how the Ewe people in the Volta region were formerly Togolese, but ended up in Ghana solely because of the arbitrary borders drawn by the British, etc.) All of it was quite interesting, but still not to the point. Before I could get to his external loudspeaker and the volume, his buddy came by who was the founder/inventor/chief marketer for Boakye Educational Products.

The founder of Boakye Educational Products had made a mock traffic light as a pedagogical tool. After ranting for several minutes about the inadequacies of existing pedagogical tools, then singing a song about "Green Light Go, Red Light Stop" he proceeded to try to convince Maggie that she should buy this product for 35 Ghana Cedis. She haggled for a better price (she is opening a preschool and it could conceivably come in handy). In response to the haggling, the founder of Boakye Educational Products complained for about 10 minutes about her haggling, insisted that the price was a good price, and that the she should be willing to pay for such a top-quality pedagogical tool. He then proceeded to prove the aforementioned quality, only to find that the yellow light did not work.

Seemingly unphased by this, he proceeded to share all of his knowledge about other educational products. About how rocking horses should only be approximately "crotch-high" and that many rocking horses are much higher than they ought to be, which can result in very dangerous rocking horses. This discussion was repeated ad nauseum for about 15 minutes.

Finally, we were able to get to the point with the DJ: your radio is too loud and too early. My son wakes up. Please turn it down.

Not surprisingly, this was not the first complaint he had heard, the DJ told me, but that he had already responded by beginning at 5am - 1 hour later than he had previously started (his broadcast license apparently allows him to begin at 4am!) and that only 1 of the 4 loudspeakers was actually working. I suppose the implication being that the music couldn't be that loud (mind you that the radio station is a 20 minute walk from our house and we can hear it perfectly).

I feigned sympathy, and re-engaged him on Ghanaian history and his desire to travel to the US and Israel. After another 15 minutes - we were approaching 2 hours with the DJ - he agreed that he would turn it down in the morning and perhaps begin a little later.


Here is a very happy me with the Ejuretia DJ.

If you can see the collection of records above us, one of them is an old Kenny Rogers LP. So sweet.

The next morning, the music did not begin until 5.30, and it was much quieter. Townes slept until 6.30, and his parents were quite happy.

Postscript -

Sadly, this morning was the beginning of a 7th Day Adventist Revival at the radio station. The singing is louder and began at 4am. I've also heard that the revival will last until Sunday.



Anonymous said...

What's the deal with Ghanains getting up so early? A revival starting at 4AM? That sounds crazy... Please elaborate.

Anonymous said...

You guys are ballers!