Chief "Mac"

While Janice is taking care of our fine and elegant grand daughter, wen sho, I am going to introduce to you another colorful person here at the University of Buea. He is not only the chair of the Chemistry Department with a PhD degree in organic chemistry, he is also the chief of the village of KaI ( I is capitalized to show that it is pronounced with a separate syllable) near the city of Bamenda. His father passed away just before we arrived here in late September. As the first son, he inherited the position of the chief automatically. Immediately he also inherited all his father's wives, primarily all the responsibility to support them and their siblings. Last Tuesday night, most of the Department faculty went to his "palace" to celebrate this event. The Department had been talking about doing this for a long time, it's been postponed for many times. We went there after 5pm. When the "ceremony" started, one faculty, Paul,, served as a MC, who had 11 items on his agenda list, after he consulted with the female leader, Josepha,  in the Department. While this is basically a social get-together, it is handled quite formally as usual. It took a bit time for us to get used to this format. The party usually starts with a "let us pray" (you will be surprised how successful missionaries have done in this area!), followed by a feast, then some speeches, presentation of gift etc. It lasted about four hours. Alcoholic and other drinks were flowing freely during the whole time. This is true for all church functions as well. ( you will be surprised how much missionaries have failed in this area!) People in general enjoyed together very well, there were a lot of jokes exchanged in a relaxed atmosphere. For some young people, this gave them a good chance to eat a very good meal. A couple of traditions is of some interest to mention here.  First, there was a special carpet for Mac to sit on his chair during the whole party, it is sort of representing the throne. Then when one was to speak, he or she would clap his/her hands four times slowly first before saying anything to show his/her respect to the chief. During the evening, I found that Chief Mac has a total of seven children. Later I was told that he has two wives of his own, one in Buea (we met at the party) and another in the capital city of Yaounde.