Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ta Joe And Edimoley.

Behind Pharmacie Du Rail lived two friends. Ta Joe was from Dschang while Edimoley was from Ebolowa.  They were both in between 5.1 and 5.3 in height. They had lived in Douala for more than 20 years that they spoke more Pidgin than French and English. Except you knew them personally, you will always think that they were Anglophones. Both were very smart gentlemen when alcohol was away from them. If they ventured out together, they must fight. They were very very mischievous whether under the influence of alcohol or sobriety. I had visited Edimoley in his rewinding workshop where he repaired fridges, irons, compressors and other hydraulic motors. One Bafoussam woman came to him to repair the motor of her grinding machine. Edimoley asked her to give him money so he could buy her the parts, but she refused because she did not trust technicians. As a result, she went to buy it herself. Behind, Edimoley told me that he was still going to cheat her. He told me that these Bamileke women always think that they are smart. He advised me to watch how he was going to escheat her of her new part.
The woman quickly came back with smiles, happy that she just bought a new part. Edimoley smiled with the corners of his mouth foreshadowing mischief. He took the tiny part up, and the woman looked up. He brought it down, and the woman looked down. He took it up again, and the woman’s eyes followed. He brought it down, and she too looked down. At that point, he began to repeat the process until the women’s eyes got wearied that she could no more repeat the up and down movement. He quickly exchanged it with the old one that was by the side. After all, the old one was not even bad, the machine needed just some washers. He will later sell the new part to the next customer.
Ta Joe on the other hand was a builder. He built embankment walls. Unlike Edimoley, Ta Joe did his job very well and with honesty. He was happy to work and happier when the customer was satisfied. However, his lack of proper education always landed him into trouble even when Edimoley was the cause.
On July 21, 1988, Ta Joe and Edimoley went to a sack cloth removal ceremony. Both were drunk as was their habit of getting drunk in every party they attended. Edimoley started a fight and bottles were flying from one end to the other, tables landing on surfaces and women and even some men screaming for their dear lives as they rushed out for cover. There were 4 guys on Edimoley, so Ta Joe fearing for his life, went to Commissariat 6eme (just opposite Hotel Arista) to report the matter and bring the police.
Ta Joe liked to speak English, but I doubt if English liked for him to speak it. He said, “I have my friend in dangjey (as they pronounced danger in French). When he drinks, he behaves, but when I drink, I don’t behave.” Behave to have meant misbehave while don’t behave means behaving well. They asked him why he was not behaving. They kept beating him and asking him if he was not going to behave again. Ta Joe will scream, “I nodi behave, na Edimoley di always behave sah.” The police officer asked him once more “why you no di behave”. Ta Joe said “because I di respect myself sah. Na my friend nodi behave sah”. The police officers misunderstood him and instead took him for the trouble maker. They beat the more and locked him up.
Then the police officers went to the fight area, and eyewitnesses said they have sent someone who knows how the fight began to come and call for the police, but he has not come back. They told them that the trouble maker has gone home. One of the police officer’s realizing they were holding the wrong guy said, “Il parait –il qu’on a enfermé la mauvaise personne (it seems we have the wrong person).” So they hurriedly went and released Ta Joe.
When Ta Joe came home the next day, we asked him why he was locked up. He narrated that he told the officers that “when me I drink, I nodi behave, but when Edimoley drink I di behave.” We all understood the police officers did not know that behave was a parlance which meant misbehavior. For example, it was common for someone who was angry to ask you, “Do you want me to behave here?” What they actually meant was, “do you want me to misbehave here?” Students at times always said “I no behave for that test” which meant they did not do well. So locking ta Joe up was a miscarriage of justice and lack of touch police officers because he was actually the better person of the two.

Until then, do not behave when you drink, for it may land you in jail.

St Arrey of Ntenako.

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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