After the chief finished telling us the village history, translated by the guide, we were also told about the custom of giving the chief a bottle of spirits.
I gave Stanley a look. He laughed. “Oh!” he said, “I forgot about that.”
I pulled a ten-cedi note from my wallet and presented it as my school donation, which was promptly written down in their account book. From the smiles and favorable reaction, I think it was more than they were used to getting.
“And you can open your next bottle with this.” I pulled out the White House bottle opener and presented it. Big smile from the chief and great interest on the part of the guide. But the piece de resistance was coming. I fished out a keychain with a picture of President Obama hanging from it.
“And this is from your brother, who sends his regards.”
Oh — my — God! The chief was over the moon, a huge smile beaming from his face.
The guide was clearly jealous, and I dug in my bag frantically. I had one last Obama keychain, and if anyone deserved it, the guy who paddled the canoe did.
“For your hard work,” I said, handing the guide his prize. He was ecstatic.