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Ben Yamiin
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Last Logged In: June 30th, 2017
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20 + 101 points

Silent Donation by Ben Yamiin

March 20th, 2009 10:57 AM / Location: 5.5337645,-0.236892

INSTRUCTIONS: Endow a stranger with a gift (e.g. Flowers or candies) without being seen, heard, or suspected.

Preferably someone who looks like they're having a bad day.

Tsaa-biɛ
A dispatch from GaØ...

ga0-whiteback-200dpi.png

I'm a firm believer that curiosity should be rewarded.

The streets of Accra are covered in sights and sounds, and it would be easy for small details to become overlooked. I think that anybody who's willing to keep a keen eye on their surroundings should get a gift.

also, people who are looking down are often having bad days

I took it upon myself to have a stamp made. In Accra, this is quite easy, there are men waiting by the side of the road with rubber, razor blades, and steady hands. You just give them a work order, and bam, the next day, a custom rubber stamp with anything you choose is in your possession.

I had a stamp commissioned. The text: TSAA BIƐ, which means "Dig here" in Ga, the native language of Accra. Deliciously, if misread, it could also mean "Don't dig here." It can encourage nascent members of both BartPA (or should we call it TroTroPA) and S.N.I.D.E. Here's my receipt. I picked it up the next day:

Receipt.JPG

Notice that the stamp-maker made good on his promise and looked up the proper spelling for the words. Being that he carved that tiny "Paid" stamp by hand, you can tell he's quite a stickler for the details.

Next, I acquired various items from around Accra. The first stop was the Timber Market, where I heard juju gear could be acquired. I made my way to the market, and was immediately swooped upon by many a merchant. "What do you want to buy? What do you want to buy?"
--"What are you selling?"
--"Well, 2x4s, plywood..."
--"Uhh, I've heard you have some...other things...you...also...sell...here" (juju is not discussed in polite company in Ghana, and I was hoping my innuendo would suffice)
--"Oh, you can buy corrugated steel!"
--"Uh, no. Other...things..."
--"Nails? Tools?"
--"uhhh..." (I began to believe my information was faulty)
--(from the side) "Maybe he wants medicine"
--"YES! Yes, medicine! Show me where I can find the medicine"

I found myself in an alley full of the strangest things I've ever seen for sale (and I've been to both the Marché en Fer in Port au Prince and the Khan al-Khaliilii in Cairo). Bird wings, dried lizards, live lizards, turtle shells, whole hides, rolled up for transport, various woods, barks, nuts, plants, something or other squawking in a cage...

I bought a carved wooden effigy of a man (who I now decide is me), a dessicated chameleon (who I named Johann), and a nut that can burn skin when rubbed against a hard surface. I call it the Burni-nut.

Burni-nutEffigyJohann (from the bottom)Johann (from the front)Johann (from the side)

Back in the real world, I went to Makola market (the 'normal' market of Accra) and bought a cheap, but working, mobile phone. And back in the place I've been staying, my gracious hostess offered up some sunglasses.

The sunglasses, graciously donated by my hostessThe phone (it works!)The phone (and it has a charger!)

So with my menagerie of goods at hand, I wrapped each carefully in plastic bags.

Three of the buried items, with the stamp

Deep in the heart of night in the Banana Inn neighborhood of Accra (a poorer neighborhood) I buried each, and stamped above with indications to dig.

Where the burni-nut is buriedWhere the effigy of me was buriedWhere Johann is buriedThe phone's burial place (a little closer)Where the sunglasses are buried
Some curious people will be very happy. Some will be confused. And some will be convinced there's juju afoot.

+ larger

Tsaa-biɛ
ga0-whiteback-200dpi.png
Burni-nut
Effigy
Johann (from the bottom)
Johann (from the front)
Johann (from the side)
Where the burni-nut is buried
Where the effigy of me was buried
Where Johann is buried
Where the phone is buried (with the charger)
The phone's burial place (a little closer)
Where the sunglasses are buried
Three of the buried items, with the stamp
The phone (it works!)
The phone (and it has a charger!)
The sunglasses, graciously donated by my hostess
Receipt.JPG

22 vote(s)



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10 comment(s)

(no subject)
posted by Myrna Minx on March 20th, 2009 11:11 AM

you are amazing! i feel like i myself just visited the most magic-exotic place..

(no subject)
posted by teucer on March 20th, 2009 1:09 PM

Vote for finding exotic juju markets, and for creating the illusion of juju in progress.

(no subject)
posted by Jellybean of Thark on March 20th, 2009 1:48 PM

You are going to freak some people out.

(no subject)
posted by Mr Everyday on March 20th, 2009 5:58 PM

Yes, the weirdo juju is SO VERY COOL!!! I would love to see you try the Goblin Market task (if that is you think you can avoid being set upon for being a witch).

Loving the GA0 tasks.

I recognize several of the words you just used. ~Waldo
posted by Waldo Cheerio on March 21st, 2009 5:09 AM

Seriously, Ga? Accra? I could (and will after posting this) look this up, but I could swear you are just making shit up now. If I didn't spend three hours discussing your experience in South Ossetia I would not believe you at all. This is awesome, and I need to find out how you do this stuff, as I cannot die happy having lived only in a world without Ga.

(no subject) +1
posted by Ben Yamiin on March 21st, 2009 2:07 PM

Actually, the psudo-country I visited in Georgia was Adjaria, not South Ossetia. And Accra is a quite inviting place, by the way.

I'm thinking about tasking in another psudo-country, btw. WSØ (Western Sahara Ø) anyone?

(no subject)
posted by Bryce on March 21st, 2009 10:52 PM

SFØ is back. I just wasn't looking for a while.

(no subject)
posted by rongo rongo on March 24th, 2009 1:55 PM

It's like things that we bury for our friends...but for strangers! A fun and bizarre take on this task.

(no subject)
posted by teucer on March 24th, 2009 2:31 PM

Well, TTWBFOF is for people you don't know... but way better if you know them somewhat, through tasking. Really it's about burying things for your quasi-friends.

(no subject)
posted by Flea on March 24th, 2009 3:12 PM

And so begins the discussion on "What do you call people you have met online and consider friends but have not met in person?"

Quasi-friends?
E-chums?
Friends?

Enemies is easy: SF0es.