Bangers, bisco ‘n’ brawls

Last night the children began their annual bisco – lightening tradition.

All nine of them. Nine children ranging from ages 7 1/2 – 2 1/2. Picture this. Nine adrenaline – filled, ever – ready for action, chattering, racing, never – tiring little humans. Their gathering and constant interaction recipes for a lot of things. I’d have thought two days together was too early for any kind of altercation but there have been at least three already. With threats of slaps and promised beating.

Now add bisco – lightening to this mix. Almost total chaos.Spontaneous screaming in reaction to the fire cracker like quality and blaze of the bisco; scolding one another as they run riot, lighted bisco in hand, and willing the fire to last longer; and trying to cheat one another of taking more bisco sticks, leaving the younger ones in near tears as the older ones are always faster to bulldoze their way to this goal.

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My sister in law, Eva, spices up the activity with glow-in-the-dark head bands. The girls look pretty in a Minnie mouse creation while the boys’ vary from Santa Claus to numbers to lighted decorated strands.  The bands give them a halo that can only be appropriate for children. Watching them run amok on the balcony with their bisco sticks is like watching angels rush around heaven preparing for the arrival of a new guest. Without the noise and chaos though.

Bangers (faux explosives) going off add more sounds to the cacophony of ear – splitting screams already renting the air. As though we need more noise. Like higher prices of consumer goods and the dry harmattan wind, the sound of bangers is also a signature feature of the Yuletide. But I can swear that the boom – boom – is – that- an -earthquake – in – the – works? kinda sounds I hear in Benin are unique to the area.

Boom – banger or not, the children are veterans to its effect and think of it as a bonus to their bisco blaze.

It is easy, very easy, to shepherd all them to bed afterwards. Little sharp voices saying cheery ‘good nights’ sounded better than the bangers and most fitting to the end of a successful day and an even seemingly magical (and lighted) night.

We should do this everyday…eh, every night.


I’m having issues uploading photos. Many apologies. Will do so as soon as I can.

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