One thing that the people of Pujehun should be excited about is the development of their radio station, Radio Wanjei – 101.1 FM. As a developmental border-city, Pujehun is a vulnerable community and immediate communication can be a vital thing. So the radio station not only provides entertainment, but invaluable information for the people in the district.
My traveling mate, Solomon Rogers, and I were fortunate enough to meet Melvin Rogers, the head of the press of Radio Wanjei – which, by the way was named after a local river.
Melvin was very encouraged by our visit to his hometown and was eager and kind enough to set us up with an interview with the Paramount Chief, something which we failed to do in two previous attempts. He also invited us to be on his program one night during our stay, where we would get 30 minutes to sit and chat with him about the purpose of our visit and our impressions of the village.
It was the first time for me to be on the radio anywhere – much less in Africa – so it was a very exciting experience for me. The on-air interview went seamlessly and I had a great time. Melvin even brought up a question about marriage when I talked about returning to the states to be my good friend’s best man in his wedding.
“How about we find a nice Pujehun girl for you, Yu?” he asked me. I could only laugh and respond, saying, “I’m only here (in Pujehun) for a few days; and I’m not a heartbreaker.”
Outside of presswork, I was glad to leave Pujehun with an additional story regarding Melvin. I was working on a few stories on my laptop one night. After a couple hours of work I felt like taking a break, so I walked up the road to a nearby bar to get a drink or two. Coincidentally, Melvin and a large pack of people were outside the bar enjoying some music and drinks, so I joined them.
As we were talking about my stay and how much I was enjoying Pujehun, all of a sudden I heard a boy behind me shout, “Snake! Snake!”
I looked down near his feet and there it was: A dark, black snake that had to be over two feet long. I actually didn’t react much to it because I’ve only seen garden snakes in America, which are relatively harmless (though still scary for some). But once Melvin caught a glimpse of the snake from the corner of his eye, he and everyone else outside the bar immediately jumped out of their seats and scurried away. Someone even grabbed my arm and yanked me out of the pile. Once everyone scattered, a few people surrounded and killed the snake, which prompted resounding cheers and applause. Things settled down and I even took a picture of the dead snake.
“There’s a belief,” Melvin said, “that snakes are attracted to music. Do you believe that?”
I just smiled and replied, “I guess now I do.”
By Yu Nakayama