The Day I Was Surrounded With Red And Love

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It was 6:30 AM when I woke up to soothing music rather than the usual political talk on Joy FM 99.7. This station is located in Accra, Ghana, which is the capital of my country. The room was very dry, and the sun’s rays were shining through the window. While I was still in bed, I wondered why the radio had changed to a different program. The radio created a loving and sweet atmosphere. I glanced at my wall calendar and saw 14 February. Valentine’s Day was marked by a heart on the calendar.

This lovely morning’s radio host was not your typical male baritone voice. Instead, she was a soft, sweet, romantic, and inviting voice. She declared, “Today is a Day of Love” and went on to tell her listeners other sweet things in honor of Valentine’s Day. Her talk was interwoven with cool, sweet music. After listening for half an hour, she asked listeners to call in at 7 a.m. to share their wishes with loved ones through the magic of radio. Listeners started calling in and saying whatever they could. Many of the calls included loving words such as “I can’t see back or forward to anything more than you, my darling” or “You mean everything for me, sweetheart.” To show their sincere feelings, almost all callers gave their full names and the names of their loved ones. The host also brought the attention of the audience to the many ongoing celebrations in the area, especially those that were scheduled for the evening to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

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The radio made my morning so pleasant that I wanted to stay in bed just to listen. But, I had other urgent matters to attend to so I got up, washed and made breakfast before I left the house for Accra Central. It took me twenty minutes to walk from my house to the bus station, and I left at 10 o’clock in the morning. Nearly all of the people I encountered on the way to the station had beautiful smiles, especially the young ones. Red and white were the most popular colors for ladies. The young men didn’t just leave it to the ladies; they looked smartly dressed and had their hair neatly cut. Cab drivers were looking forward to the day; they were eager to make a profit on any lovers who hired their services. Red heart-shaped balloons (1 or 2 were hung from the doors of the cabs) made them look very clean. All the cabs heard cool, smooth sounds from the stereos. I got into one of the taxis and had a wonderful conversation with the driver as we drove towards the city. He shared his excitement and anticipation for the day. We drove along the highways, where almost every billboard had a message for the day. Street light poles were also decorated with red balloons and banners that featured red hearts. You can see that the Ghanaian love Valentine’s Day. It is a day of love and affection.

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After navigating our way through heavy traffic, we arrived at our destination around noon. Everyone was hurrying to the main business center to purchase gifts for loved ones. All shops were busy with customers. The most crowded shops dealt in women’s and men’s clothing, wine shops and gift shops. All the messages on the cards had one message: Love. Nearly all of the shops were crowded with couples shopping for the occasion. The most striking sight was that almost all of the items in the shops were in red and all shop patrons were dressed in red. It seemed like all the reds in the world were imported to Accra, the capital of Ghana. As they went about their daily activities, all the shoppers smiled. The entire shopping center was filled with happiness and love. To show their appreciation, all the gentlemen and ladies were carrying gift bags. I noticed that there was a shift in the music played around the city, from the usual mix of genres – hip-hop, reggae and highlife to R&B and francophone music, as well as all other types of music you might hear in a large city – to more romantic, soft music. Some radio stations also discussed topics related to Saint Valentine’s Day.

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After three hours spent in the city, it was time to take a taxi back home. It was no different to what I had previously experienced. Execrated upon my return, I immediately went to bed for an hour to rest before I headed back to work. The latter part of the day I spent in my living room, watching TV. I was pleasantly surprised that the images on the screen were similar to what I had seen earlier in the day, mainly the color.