One, Two, Three, Four, Bash!


I recently encountered a fun game whose name I’m uncertain about. Bash, is probably what it’s called. It’s a simple counting game that tests recall, concentration and smarts.

People gather in a circle and count after each other. The fun part is, no one is allowed to say five or any of its multiples. You say bash instead and the count continues. Thus, you get something like this: 1, 2, 3, 4, bash, 6, 7, 8, 9, bash up until there’s just one person left. A fairly simple game especially when the count is slow. Pick up the pace however and it becomes competitive sports that commands you to stay on your toes. You can peep a video here.

I came across the game two days ago at a meeting with a writing group I was checking out. The group, the Young Writers Club seeks to push development in Tamale by educating children to read and write, knowledge is power is the mantra after all. I was at the meet for three reasons:

  1. Connect with other writers
  2. Make new friends
  3. Find a cure to my depressing lethargy in Tamale

I didn’t quite achieve the first two but I sure did kill time through a [fun] activity. I also sadly observed the seeds of intolerance firsthand.

Coordinator: “Gideon, give us the closing prayer.”

Children: “Ah sir, but he’s Christian!”

Coordinators & I: “So?”

Children: “-____-“

While northern Ghana is predominantly Muslim, I didn’t expect a prayer request to a minority faith would be met with cynicism and ridicule, to the point where the other children started mock praying “in tongues” compelling the boy’s refusal to pray.

Call it harmless teasing if you want, but it speaks of deep rooted biases and intolerances planted in these children by their parents and society. Unchecked and seemingly harmless vibes like these become ingrained over time, sitting and waiting for the perfect opportunity to surface and wreak havoc. I call it the hibernating leviathan.

This isn’t simply a religious affair but also an ethnic one. How many times haven’t you heard someone echo some stereotype to affirm some perceived “truth”? I’ve heard my fair share and boy does it suck.

I guess it’s a good thing the club’s membership is mostly Junior High and Primary school kids. There is an opportunity there to teach them the importance of tolerance while they’re still young to avert a potential disaster and hopefully, build leaders who aren’t blinded to what’s important because of ethnic, religious or party biases.

Why can’t we all just shed our associative skins and count one, two, three, four, bash?!

 

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