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xxxxxxxxxxx of Monday, 6 April 2015


Good, ugly & bad sides of Kwahu Easter

About 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ, in his early 30s, sacrificed his life for the good of mankind.

The commemoration of His death and subsequent resurrection became known as Easter, a sacred event celebrated by Christians worldwide.

However, in recent times, the sacred occasion has taken a different twist.

Over the weekend, hundreds of people trooped to Kwahu in the Eastern Region to celebrate Easter. The three-day celebration, however, turned out to be a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly.

While hundreds of Kwahu indigenes returned to their ancestral home to observe the solemnity of the occasion, reunite with their families and plan programmes to address the needs of their communities, other people turned the celebration into business, tourism and sexual orgies.

Some of the commonest products on sale were condoms and aphrodisiacs.

‘Condoms here, condoms there, condoms everywhere’ best fits the condom promotion that flooded the streets of towns on the Kwahu Ridge.

Young ladies dressed in tight pairs of shorts and T-shirts stormed the 12 towns on the Kwahu Ridge, holding orange bags containing condoms to sell to revellers.

Ostensibly taking advantage of claims that condoms ran short in pharmacies in the area last year, the vendors were on every street.

They took advantage of the traffic jam and approached every vehicle.

“It’s Fiesta condom. Sales have not been bad at all,” a vendor, with a flashy smile, said.

The ladies became the centre of attraction as passers-by cast glances at them.

There were field officers from the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) who provided free testing services for willing revellers.

At the Kwahu paragliding site, 56 people had been tested by 4 p.m. last Saturday.

Mr Saviour Gaikpa, a field technician of the GAC, said some of the revellers were afraid of testing positive.

“We first counsel them before the test and that puts most of them at ease,” he said.

Roy Otoo, one of the people who got tested, said he was glad he did because it had put his mind at ease.

“It was not easy. I was scared but when the results came, it was such a relief,” he said.

Another feature of this year’s Easter celebration was the paragliding activity.

The paragliding took off to a shaky start when a reveller, out of fear, stalled in his movement and thwarted the effort of his pilot, leading to a crash landing, but at the end of the day there was fun and excitement.

It was Rajesh’s first attempt at paragliding and he was overwhelmed by the thought of being airlifted from the peak of the mountain, hanging on a parasail.

A squad of military men detailed to provide expert assistance in the event of an accident responded timeously and released Rajesh and his pilot from the ropes of the parasail.

The incident attracted shouts from spectators who dreaded the prospect of the two having to fall off from the top of the cliff.

The military men took Rajesh through a counselling session after the ordeal and succeeded in allaying his fear of the activity.

After the 30-minute counselling, Rajesh, looking confident, went for an encore and this time succeeded in lifting off, drawing applause from the spectators.

Later in an interview with the Daily Graphic, Rajesh said, “It was my first time; I was nervous and scared. But I will go again and finish off.”

To encourage local participation in the paragliding activities in future, the Minister of Tourism, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, announced plans to train local pilots to steer paragliding activities at Kwahu and other identified areas.

That, she said, formed part of efforts to commercialise paragliding, which has become a potential tourist attraction for Ghanaians and others from neighbouring countries.

Mrs Ofosu-Adjare said the initiative formed part of efforts to stimulate investment in Kwahu and other parts of the country and position Ghana as the hub of tourism in West Africa.

The 10th Kwahu Paragliding Festival at Atibie in the Kwahu South District in the Eastern Region attracted a good number of foreigners from different parts of the world, as well as local patrons.

Mrs Ofosu-Adjare said paragliding had become an integral part of the calendar of activities of the tourism sector of the country, adding that there was the need to harness its potential for the stimulation of domestic tourism and attracting more foreign tourists.

Meanwhile, the minister officially inaugurated an office for the Kwahu South Tourism Authority within the premises of the Kwahu South District Assembly.

One unfortunate spectacle of the Easter celebration was reckless driving. Some drivers, who were bent on cashing in on the celebration, drove carelessly, resulting in some accidents.

At Nsawam, four people, including three children, died, while 13 others sustained various degrees of injury, in two separate accidents.

The three children, aged between six and 11, were run over by a Toyota Corolla from Accra which was heading to Kwahu for the Easter festivities, while one male adult also died in a separate accident involving a Mercedes-Benz bus which was heading to Nkawkaw.

In their efforts to control immorality during the festivities, the chiefs and elders of the Kwahu Traditional Council warned the public against indecent dressing.

The acting President of the Kwahu Traditional Council advised the public to make the Easter celebration a memorable one.

But from what happened in the Kwahu area, the advice from the chiefs and elders seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

Unless the chiefs crack the whip, the celebration of Easter at Kwahu might lose its solemnity and become a festival of business, fashion and tradition.