A commentary By MOFFAT MAMU
THE 2022 festive season and the arrival of 2023 have been celebrated with much excitement.
December is always a time when many working people and students look forward to having a well-deserved break after 11 months of stress and hard work.
Most often head to their villages to be united with their family members and relatives to celebrate Christmas and welcome the New Year.
And at the village, Christmas and New Year’s period is when homes are packed.
During the weeks leading up to the Christmas and New Year, sports, entertainment, food and other social and spiritual activities are organised.
Church activities are also organised and groups would visit homes each night to sing carols.
On New Year’s Eve, there is always a time for reflection on the challenges and achievement of the passing year.
So, Christmas and New Year is always a time for excitement, joy and celebration.
However, today, things have changed in terms of the celebration mood during this period.
As observed in many villages and communities, alcohol consumption has taken a lead.
Most celebrations now involve alcohol.
In many urban centres, many would head off to the night spots, restaurants, bars and clubs to be part of the count-down party to welcome the New Year.
Some husbands and wives even decide to leave their kids back at home and join their friends to party throughout the night till dawn.
And it is a sad reality.
Like any other urban centres nationwide, the Western Provincial capital of Gizo is no exception.
As observed during the festive season and New Year’s celebration, alcohol is very much involved.
Many husbands or male partners return home after celebrations intoxicated.
And it seems all their money have vanished from their pockets after spending their weekend out from home.
And it is a nightmare for many families, especially mothers and their kids, when the father returns home penniless, hungry and angry.
New Year is supposed to be a time for families to celebrate and welcome another year together.
But in many places, it is not so anymore.
Instead, families argue and the family bond is ripped apart.
It seems the word ‘happy new year’ to some does not make sense anymore.
Because we are instead seeing old people to young children drunk, taking drugs, fighting till daylight, properties damaged, couples fighting, two ladies fight over one husband, so much noise coming from irresponsible youths, people moving around in cars with music at full blast, youths roaming around with their Bluetooth speakers hanging over the shoulders.
And it is also a sad to see young girls join such group of young males.
Some of these male youths also wear pants, keeping them at an inch over their buttocks to expose their underwear.
It shows that their health is at risk because of the overuse of kwaso and illegal drugs.
The easy access to drugs like copen and marijuana only makes things complicated for many parents and families these days.
Even husbands and sons have been arguing with their wives and mothers respectively after their request for some dollars are unsuccessful.
And it is affecting mothers who are struggling to make ends meet to feed their families each day.
There is no control over the use of illegally-brewed alcohol like kwaso and also drugs like marijuana and copen in our rural communities and urban centres.
Now more and more people tend to use these substances as part of celebrating Christmas and New Year.
And they forget to celebrate Christmas and New Year in a meaningful way.
With the peak of the celebrations now over, the reality will now come into effect as parents will look for money to pay for school fees for this 2023 academic year.
The challenge to access to money is real and is now affecting many homes.
And because of this, husbands and sons should make it a resolution this year to cut back on taking drugs and kwaso.
Not only that but it is time to look after one’s own health.
All the best for new year.