Craig Mod
Tokyo & New York & SF & elsewhere
Hi co-founder. Writer. Travel lover. More at:

Sammy the prophet

August 20th, 2013, 8pm in West Akim, Ghana

Africa burns my eyes and sets my nerves on edge.

He tells me this is a country in which everything is out to hurt you, white man — the insects, the water, the Nigerian road marauders.

Nigerian road marauders? I ask the lodge owner.

Yes, they are out there in the night, he says solemnly.


Indeed, but not even Jesus can save you from them, he says.

With that the lodge owner stands and takes his leave.

Sammy smiles wide and tells me not to worry.

He tells me he was a prophet once, that he wanted to become one so he did. He was young. There were churches. He attended a church, a church welcome to would-be prophets.

These are things sometimes said in Ghana, it seems.

I ask if he's still a prophet and he says no, only once, long ago was he a prophet. No longer.

So you don't really know if we shouldn't worry then, do you?

No, but I've gained wisdom in these few short years and that's proven more valuable and reliable than being a prophet. I know we'll be safe.

Once again he smiles wide, looking back down at his phone. I close my eyes and listen to the nearby tree frogs and wonder who among them is wise, or if their croaks portend calamity, or how many prophets live beneath them in their jungle.