Father Joker

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Both Write or Wrong
At the Northern Region of Ghana is a town called Tamale. Two Filipinos from Accra came up for a visit to Kintampo and were telling us how they saw a sign – board, “To Tamale”. How is it possible Father, tama nga at male pa?” correct yet wrong), they inquired. I replied, “maybe it is like a poet saying, ‘honey, your are near yet too far”.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Headless Magkal
I do not know the name of this snake but it was big it is about three feet long. But I do know it is a delicacy to some people here including my catechist. I tried one evening  to run over one with my double cabin pick – up car but missed four times. Angry, I brought out my bolo and cut its head all at once. Then I lifted the switching body the switching body into the back of the pick – up. Immediately the body started coiling and uncoiling itself at the back of the car. Not far away from the killing zone, a farmer looking tired and weary was begging passionately for a lift. I stopped, signaled the man to jump quickly into the back car. Already I started to laugh anticipating his meeting with the moon-drenched headless snake still rolling over and over as if looking for its head, at the nearest village, I got out intending to give the snake to my catechist and interested at the same time to find out my passenger’s reaction. Oh, the man was not there anymore.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Oops: The Transmission

To facilitate the animation of twenty Christian Communities, I divided them into three zones. One zone is accessible by car only during the dry season. The bush road is too much even for James Bond driver, so to avoid going back and forth, I do a live-in visit: I stay in the village for a week or so and come home only to refuel and then go back again. Last January, I started out. In the middle of the hilly road, I managed to dodge all stones and to the obstacles; this impressed my companions very much. Then came the sandy road. “At last!” I told myself and relaxed not knowing that beneath the sands was buried the remains of a big tree. As I hit it, the engine died out. “Here we go again, I thought.” As I looked at the condemned transmission, I felt sick in the pit of my stomach. The following day, observing me so crestfallen, my church helper simply said, “Well, as our elders say, Man proposes and God disposes.” Believe it or not, I got back my courage and thanks to the inventor of the four-wheel drive. I managed to tow the car back to base.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Nights Becomes Day
When electricity commenced at Kintampo there was wild excitement everywhere. It was as if every problem was solved. Then came the noise from blaring radios. Within a short time, Kintampo looked like a city with all the vices associated with city life. people from the villages, looking for greener pasture, migrated to Kintampo. One of them was Isaac Opoku, my church helper. When I met him in his village, I asked him: “How did you leave Kintampo?” then he answered “Father, I could not sleep.” I asked “why” “There is too much light,” came is sad reply.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Incorrigible cat
“You fool! Stupid! Get out! Just because you don’t know how to read, you scatter all my books around?” on hearing my outburst our cook was frightened; thinking I was fighting with somebody he rushed into the  room, “What happened Father?” “Oh, it’s just our cat who always wants to sleep on my study table knocking all my books onto the floor.” The cook went back to the kitchen shaking his head.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Twin Salmon
I took the wife of our Church President back to the village from the maternity clinic. She gave birth to twins. At the village the people came running to welcome us. I raised my hands and gestured they are twins. Then i got out, took the two big Salmon fish I had brought for the new mother, raised them up to the people and said; “here they are”. All of them stopped aghast, and then  they burst out laughing. Even the mother has to wait for the laughter to fade away before getting out of the car.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

St. Paul to the Filipinos
Once a month, I meet my catechists and explain to them all the four Sunday readings. In one of those meetings, the second reading was from Paul’s letter to the Philippines. Knowing that Ghanaians call Filipinos “Philippians”, I said, “kindly read the letter of Paul to my great-grand parents.” Not even one noticed the joke.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Bakit?
At out Filipino gathering, during our sharing of experiences, Sr. Alice  Amarga, RVM was telling how she almost died of her first malaria attack. Her doctor was able to save her but she could not understand why after a month her doctor died. So she kept asking. “Why, why Lord?” Yours truly could not resist suggesting: “Maybe the Lord admonished the doctor, ‘bakit mo binuhay siya?”

Snakeman
During our Filipino gathering it was revealed tat one of the Filipino priests is fond of looking for snakes. When Pina Manalo, our Filipino architect working in Accra arrived, she was asked by her Lebanese co-worker about this priest. The Lebanese said to Pina: “I hear you have a Filipino priest her who looks like snake?”

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Male Chauvinism?
Joseph Jumah of Soronoase, one of my dedicated catechists has six children – all girls; His wife gives birth almost every year. Prompted by such spacing, I asked Daniel Adjei, the Assistant Catechist why and he said: “Joseph Jumah is desperately in need of a boy that is why he keeps trying and hoping.”

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Puti para sa Celebration
Hoping to motivate our candidates for baptism in my remotest village, I was telling the people that the best attire for occasions like weddings, ordinations, and baptism is white. True enough, during the baptism, almost everyone was in white and more beautifully, during the singing, they were waving in the air white handkerchiefs which according to their custom is a symbol of victory over satan; and of course, proud as a peacock, I was standing with my newly washed white shoes.

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