Dear Nii Kpakpo,
Where did I leave off last time? Oh yes! The people who want to come into Hustle City.
So before I even relocated here I was here to visit your cousin and then that young minister at the communications ministry decided to send a directive that we should all register our sim cards. Kpakpo I tell you when I heard the announcement I had a headache. And the advert that they made to sensitize our people did not sit well with most of us. We would lose our contacts and nobody can contact us on our numbers? Wow!
I remember you as GAVET trying to get us to buy one particular network. Oh! You too oh! You mess up too much. That set of GAVET ads were crazy and now I had to point you out to your nieces and nephews as an uncle. They ask me why I wasn’t there too. See them too. They think I am like you.
Kpakpo I use all the networks oh. So what it means is that I am going to go from one Telco office to another Telco office to register my nutty name into their system computers so I can get calls from those Diaspora students I have befriended in California.
Oh yes! Some of them are young and smart and they make me realize that we need to beef up our educational system and policy makers should stop eating beef.
So I walked into the head office of that red label Telco (stop licking your lips, it’s not the whisky) from where Aparachiki was the long time ambassador to and had to register my sim of their network. Mind you, I have high placed friends in their administration head office in Accra. One even writes more letters than I do and is always on the tails of the government suits.
Charley Kpakpo! How could the young girl ask me questions such as my house and street address when I was only visiting and had been there for just about 4 days? Anyemi! Where I was living huh, even when I wanted to take ‘dropping’ to the area, taxi drivers didn’t even know where I was talking about. It is called Kobrimago.
I recently heard the name translates into land of swamps. The place used to be a rice paddy so there are still relics of rice harvesters parked in people’s houses in the area.
In our conversation she was baffled as to how come I didn’t know my house address and what I was doing in this savannah region. I almost got angry and asked if that was all part of the questionnaire so that I can just use my sim to make my calls? Ha ba! Some of the questions were annoying.
It was rather later that I realized she was trying to be friendly like she had been trained to and when I realized that I decided to engage her in conversation too. So I told her I was in the savannah on vacation visiting your cousin. On the form is a place I had to fill for occupation so I said teacher and when she asked where and I said in some university built inside a secondary school in Dansoman, she screamed.
How could a goofy looking savannah boy like me be a teacher in the university? Her scream drew the attention of some of her colleagues and quickly they went into a diatribe of the local language. I didn’t understand a word and I felt completely lost.
Kpakpo! I had now become the center of attraction. So another colleague of hers asks me if it’s true I’m in the savannah on vacation. Then she says she thought people like me go to vacation in America or Britain so what was I doing in the savannah. I said I haven’t even finished exploring half of my country and why would I bother to go out when there are much cooler places right here in Ghana at even the price of my ticket fare abroad.
Then I asked if they would want to go to Accra.
Kpakpo! You should have seen the smiles on their faces. The stories they had heard about Accra. About the flashy outdoorings and the way money is thrown about. About the different hairstyles of the girls and how expensive they are. They had already started saving money for the Accra trip, that one said.
I realized these gals did not know that they were experiencing the very same things that they were talking about at a cheaper rate in the savannah. The hairstyles they were talking about were the same ones they could do anywhere but in Accra they were at cut throat prices depending on which celebrity hair salon you did your hair.
I was curious and asked them what they intended to go and do in Accra. They both said their friends were hairdressers. Where were they going to live, they said Maamobi. I had to stifle a laugh. These gals had no clue what they were getting into.
Any3mi I investigated further and asked if where they lived. One girl lived in a room in her father’s house and she even had access to cable television – Multi TV.
I know for a fact that in Maamobi about 12 girls share a ten by twelve room and it’s only for the night. They pay up to Gh 2 cedis a night for the accommodation and it is first come first served. Furthermore, these halfway rooms are subject to raids by youth gangs and the girls sometimes get raped.
It therefore beats my mind why a lovely girl like that will leave the comfort of a double bed, a paying job, access to cable television and be attracted to the lures of the city only to be disappointed when you realize that the stories you heard are true but not about how you as an individual is going to fare in it.
Kpakpo this reminded me of a cook friend I made here in one of the restaurants. He was always looking forward to coming to work in Accra and he followed one of his ‘friends’ and became stranded. He didn’t even have money to go back and he called me to help. Luckily I could arrange with one of the drivers of your cousin’s company who was driving to the savannah side to pick him up and chauffeur him home to his family.
His promise of a job in a major hotel had gone into the slumps because when the person who promised him the job realized he was in Hustle City he didn’t even pick his calls and this guy couldn’t count on his own brother who locked him out of his single room, for three days, to have a romp with a girlfriend.
He was just lucky one of your cousin’s drivers was heading back just around that time. Dude quietly went back to his 3 star hotel job in the savannah begging his manager to take him back. He has since sworn NEVER to venture to Accra unless on business. His greener pasture dream died one time.
But Papa Nii, upon all that people like me keep telling them, they still keep trooping to the Hustle City oh. You should see them packed on the back of livestock vehicles and when they pass me by on the streets they don’t understand why this goofy looking savannah boy is taking pictures of them.
Lest I forget NIi Kpakpo, there are no homeless people here oh. At night nobody sleeps in the streets. Invariably even the beggars and mad people lying at the roadside during the day all go home to sleep at night and come back in the morning. That alone is food for thought.
Anyway, let me end this letter here and please don’t forget to keep me posted on the renaming of the various places by the Bearded Man himself.
Your cousin in law