Full disclosure: This story is true, I did not falsify any information. I swear I couldn't make this crap up even if you paid me.
Tuesday afternoon: On the tro ride back to Kongo from Bolga, I happen to sit next to a neighbor of mine. I didn't know who it was, I had never seen him before, and on the tro he didn't say anything until we got off the tro and we both saw we were walking in the same direction. So we talked for a minute, he tells me his name is Emmanual (or Emma, "Imah," for short) and he asks for my number. I definitely didn't want to give it out, I hesitated, but since he's my neighber I figured he could just come to my door and bother me, so I figured I would rather have him call me than come to my compound door. So, I gave my number, then I got his. OK, great, I go home. As soon as I get home, I get a call; its an unknown number so I pick it up. Turns out, its my neighbor Emmanuel, (wait, you just gave me your number, so why are you calling me with a different number) and he asks if I got home (my compound is literally right behind yours, it takes exactly 10 seconds to get there, why would I not have gotten there?) and he wants to hang out and get food. Um, yeah, no, sorry, I'm busy, I got stuff to do at the market (which was a lie at the time, but later turned out to be true anyways). Within five minutes of meeting this guy and getting back to my house, I know that giving out my number was a terrible decision. And I NEVER, EVER give out my number, so of course the one time I do, I pay for it.
Tuesday night: I get a text from Emmanuel. I swear this is word for word, grammatical errors as all. Like I said, I can't make this crap up:
"hi be careful when killing mosquito tonight becos,i have sent one to bite you and effect you with luv.sweet dreams,from emma yankee ur neighbor,i mis you."
16-Oct-2012 8:23 PM
Sender: ending in 9851
WHAT THE (fill in the blank)???? WHO DOES THAT?
Needless to say I was furious, but I tried to stay calm and replied with a nice and civil text: That text was very inappropriate, I am not interested, please do not disturb me again. I thought that was very clear and straightforward, and I thought that would be sufficient enough for him to get the point. Oh, how stupid I was.
Wednesday: When I woke up I was still fuming, but I decided that I just needed to laugh. The text was ridiculous, horrible, weird but also hilarious. I couldn't wait to show all the volunteers at camp. He called me a few times with the two numbers he had already used to contact me, which I had already screened immediately after meeting him the day before, but I wouldn't have answered the calls regardless.
Thursday afternoon: Once I had met up with Rob, Mary, Jennifer and Dennis and all our students at the Sirigu market, and we were heading to the camp site, I started to tell everyone about this friendly neighbor of mine, and passed around my phone to show them the text (which got lots of laughs). They all agreed that it was one of the best text messages they had seen in Ghana. Then I said something like I've already screened his two numbers so I'll just ignore him, and Rob's response was, well, SIM cards are only 1 cedi, I'm sure he'll just buy another number and call you. Kid you not, less than a minute later my phone starts ringing and its an unknown number. I start laughing and just handedthe phone over to Rob to answer. As soon as Rob spoke, the caller hung up. Bingo! Rob was right. He then proceded to call another three times, but each time Rob demanded he identify himself and he wouldn't and then Emma would say he wanted to talk to me. No luck there, buddy.
Thursday night: At our first dinner at camp, as we were all settling in, catching up on life and our site's, I get a text:
"I'm sorry to bother u but it is urgent.I have a friend coming from far & He needs a place to stay since He'll be around,so I have indicated our house.Pls receive & love Him.His name is Jesus of Nazareth.Say this slowly 'Jesus of Nazareth,I love You & I need You,clean my heart with Ur blood.Bless my house & my family-in-dis-year.' GOD IS GOOD. from emma yankee
18-Oct-2012 7:02 PM
Sender: ending in 3183
Again, WHAT THE &$(^"*"£*"??????
Of course I immediately pass around my phone for everyone to see, they all crack up and some even say that this text is better than the first one. Now, if I were alone and got that text I probably would have sent a very angry text back. But luckily I had my fellow PCVs to laugh with and I asked them how the heck I should respond to a text like that. Everyone thought I should just ignore him, so I did.
Thursday night, late: I get four calls from two unknown numbers that wake me up.SOB. I silence each call since I had yet to screen these new numbers. Then I get a text:
"Missin u is my 'HOBBY'Carin 4,is my 'JOB'wantn 2 make u hapi ,is my 'DREAM'Prayin 4 u,is my'DUTY'& 2 keep u aware of your place in my heart is my 'GREATEST CHALLENGE.but if u don't even want 2 VOICE OUT to me u can at least txt me Goodnight and take care.i luv u from emma white."
18-Oct-2012 11:01 PM
Sender: ending in 9368
Who ever told this dude that this is what white women, well not just white women, but every woman ever, wants to hear this BS ever from anyone for any reason?
Friday: In the morning, we all enjoyed this latest text at the guesthouse over fried eggs and Nescafe. In the afternoon, Emma calls me EIGHT times, and each time my phone starts ringing I cut it off. He was not happy about that. He texted:
"WHY DO YOU BUSY MY CALL"
19-Oct-2012 2:26 PM
Sender: ending in 1107
Ghanaians tend to text in all caps, I don't really know why, but I always think its funny because they don't realize its like they're shouting at you. But in this case, the all caps was just creppy. Ugh.
Saturday morning, very early: This was the night I was assigned to chaperone the students at camp. As I said in the last blog, I didn't sleep much. The kids were great, went to bed early, but the bugs jumping all over all night made it hard to sleep. Eventually though, I dozed off. But you guessed it, my sleep did not last long, my friendly neighbor woke me up (almost the same as the last text but a different ending):
"Missin u is my 'HOBBY'Carin 4,is my 'JOB'wantn 2 make u hapi ,is my 'DREAM'Prayin 4 u,is my'DUTY'& 2 keep u aware of your place in my heart is my 'GREATEST CHALLENGE.but if you don't even want 2 say a word to me u can at least txt me GoodMorning and take care.i love u from emma yankee"
20-Oct-2012 1:00 AM
Sender: ending in 9368
OH HELL NAH, ITS SO ON NOW.
I was fuming the rest of the night. I almost sent him a furious text back, but I was like, no, I will wait til the morning when he will inevitably call me, because I want him to hear how angry I am on the phone when I chew him out. Someone should have told this guy to not mess with me.
Saturday morning: This was the day we went to the junior high in Sirigu to talk about their incinerator project and plant a school garden. I was exhausted but still excited to participate in the activities. As Sonia was introducing the schedule to everyone, I get a call. Oh yes, I was so ready to yell. And I did that for the next few minutes. It went something like this: Is this Emmanuel? Ok so you're going to listen to me. You have been very disrespectful, inappropriate and rude to me...I've already told you once nicely to stop distrubing me and you didn't listen. Then I ignored you completely and you still didn't get it...Aaaad I just kept going. At one point I paused short enough for him to ask if I knew who it was one the phone, as if I had confused him with another Emma. HA, no, no, no, I know EXACTLY who this is, this is Emmanuel my neighbor. That shut him up. At the end of my rant, I repeated several times: Do NOT call me EVER, do NOT text me EVER. When I thought he'd heard enough, I hung up.
I received three or four calls today from Emma on Saturday and Sunday, but by that point all four numbers that he had used to text and call me were screened. Seeing that he had called annoyed me, but I was just going to brush it off and not think of it.
Tuesday afternoon: I returned to Kongo after the completion of the camp. I walk my normal route from the market to the house, making a point to not look anywhere near my neighbor's house. As soon as I get home though, I see a missed call from Emma. Great. I had a hunch that he would try to confront me at my house, so I just stayed inside.But there came a point whenI needed to use my latrine...Well, guess who was waiting for me outside my latrine when I was done. That's not creepy or anything. So again, I just gave it to him. I was probably yelling loud enough for my landlord's family to hear, which was actually my goal. I told him he clearly didn't listen to me all the times I told him to not disturb me, did he not know what do not call EVER means? I was very clear. I also told him that I never want to see him anywhere near my house or latrine again. This was now the third time I had warned him, and I was going to get other people involved. He tried to say, Oh, I'm sorry, I wanted to come apologize, those texts were just jokes. Haha, um yeah no, that's not going to work. Those texts were not "jokes." Then I walked away because our conversation was going in circles and he wasn't listening to me.
So I told Christopher about the situation, and he went to go talk to the father the next morning. I haven't heard from him since. (I've been on the same tro with him before, and I've walked past him at this house, but he took Christopher's and his father's warnings to heart.) Moral of the story for me: Never ever ever ever give my number out ever ever ever again ever. Moral of the story for Emma and any other Ghanaian man: Do not f*** with Britney Kongbon Verissimo.