Dear Nii Kpakpo,
Boss how are you doing and how is Hustle City this wet weekend morning.
You know, I miss the humor program of your other cousin, my fat roommate on your rival radio station who makes fun of prominent people who have goofed in the past week. The most memorable one that I remember and always sets me laughing is the one on one of our female presidential aspirants who was being interviewed via cell phone and she had to excuse herself to take her phone into the loo to pee.
That gets me cracking every time I remember it. I even still have that excerpt in my audio notes on my phone. My God! What a woman.
It’s a the weekend again and instead of my usual aerobics at the old savannah stadium followed by basketball with the boys and the usual banku/ kenkey sit down that comes with it, your cousin has dragged me to the outdooring of our second savannah godchild. She was named Aseda (thanksgiving) and characteristically she doesn’t have any of those telenovela names that Hustle City girls pick up as a result of watching too much television whilst on maternity leave.
Kpakpo, isn’t one of your children called Aseda too. Oh! These days children in Ghana are all called Aseda, Ayeyi or Nshira or one of such names with attributions to God’s nature.
Oh! And the birth couple’s first born is called Nshira too. So now they have Aseda to complete it. Wonder what’s next.
As it is the weekend, you know that definitely there will be either shopping or marketing but you know your cousin will not miss an opportunity to drag me along, whilst I will in return also not miss an opportunity to try to make up an excuse to wrangle out of it.
For once in a few months I have managed to wrangle out of this one with the excuse that I was coming to write you a letter, but not without payment of course. These days, whatever you exempt yourself from with women, there is a cost to pay and you only hope and pray, as a man, that it is not too expensive.
For me this time, it is the use of my little Chinese gadget that puts the world in the palm of my hand. Kpakpo, your cousin has taken over my android phone and made it hers and I can’t complain because I want to have my piece of mind. She claims I am always on the gadget and talking to the other six point nine billion people in the world but I am always ignoring her. So to make peace, I have handed the gadget over to her.
What she doesn’t know of course is that I am getting a new one pretty soon and it’s much more advanced than this one and if I don’t give her this one, I would be forced to give her the new one. (sticking tongue out)
On weekends the three major supermarkets in this part of the savannah are operating. These are the Melcom, Quality First and Forsmuel Shopping centres.
Eish! Wait oh. Forsmuel’s owner is an Adventist and as such they do not open for business on Saturdays since it is a Sabbath.
The other supermarkets therefore take advantage of this and rake in as many clients as they can. I mention these three because they are the biggest and most visible shopping centers in town. There are others that are supermarkets but they are not as big as these three.
Kpakpo, shops here do not operate with the same sense of urgency and money aggressiveness you find in Hustle City. In the city, some shops even have people sleeping in the shops so that they ensure that shops are open as early as 6am to at least cater for the early morning clientele of corporate folk going to work who might want to stop by a shop to quickly get a purchase.
The first time I came to the savannah, I remember I needed a new light bulb and since your cousin’s driver comes to pick her up early in the morning, I decided why not jump in for the ride to town, since we were residing quite a distance from the town center. See me, city dweller, coming to the savannah with the Hustle City mentality.
They dropped me off in town around 6.30am and I had to comb the whole of town just to find an electrical shop that was open that early to get a light bulb. And I still didn’t get any. There was no shop open. Even when I decided to go into the main market to check out for myself how stores operate, even in the market itself, there were no shops opened.
Shop owners started arriving and shops starting opening around 8.30am same time as the banks open for business and I was surprised that even some of the banks opened their doors at 9am. To me, this was a bit kind of strange because if even the shops will not open before 9am, the banks too?
Suffice it to say I got my bulb around 9 am and headed for home but by then I had learnt an important lesson which I keep to this day. In the savannah, inasmuch as people seem to be in a rush physically, they are really not in a hurry and do things at a comfortable pace. There was no need to bring my city slick mentality to think that any shop owner wanted to attract any clientele at that time of day so they had to open. Moreover who are those who form that clientele?
Usually in the city, it is those that were going to work early to avoid the traffic and can spare a second or two to drop by a shop to get something they needed. In the savannah, there was no rush and no traffic so almost everybody gets into their comfortable pace and do things according to that pace.
I also realized later too that by 8pm even the major supermarkets and shopping centers were closed so if you wanted anything in the savannah, the best time to get it was to get it between the traditional working hours (between 9am to 5pm) give or take an hour or two.
The same applies to the pharmacies, some of which even extended their closing time to 10pm.
So what it means is that by 10pm in the evening, economic activity in the savannah is shut down to near zero leaving only some of the pubs operating around that time especially at the weekend. I had the rude shock of my life when me and some visiting friends walked into a pub just before 10pm and we were told that they had closed. 10pm Kpakpo! On a Saturday night and the attendant was already packing to go home and locking the doors. Like your grandmother (God rest her kind soul) liked to say: ‘this can’t happen in kojokrom’.
There are various enterprises springing up in the savannah because of the influx of the southerners and their southern palates. People sort of want a semblance of what exists in the south, as they are used to and so entrepreneurs are also growing smart to establish businesses to suit these tastes.
One such enterprise is Tacorabama, a pizza outlet that has been set up here by some very astute business people. It’s an eatery that not only serves pizza but other continental dishes and has the ambience of any pub/restaurant that you will find in the south thus also serving as a social hangout.
Kpakpo, you know the way boys boys like to hang out and watch their soccer especially EPL and Champions’ League. Yes! Some young man has also established a pub for such a hangout where young men hang out to watch these games and sometimes premier new movies on a large flat screen or projected on a wall. Even though most of the clientele have their own means at home, since that’s the trend, they still prefer to be out there to have a few beers and make as much noise as they can watching these games and especially the extended arguments that comes with such audiences.
Since we are talking about enterprises, there is no way I can leave out the loan sharks. The short term loan financiers and insurance companies are also here oh. Bayport services (notably) and even some banks are breaking into the hire purchase trend of buying where the bank finances and gives a line of credit that the customer will have to clear with little installments monthly. The insurers are also coming up with interesting insurance plans to suit the savannah lifestyle.
With livestock and agricultural produce also being relatively cheap in the savannah, many enterprises are springing up to act as a conduit from the savannah to the southern parts. At first it was individuals who did that but with more and more people being interested, it is gradually becoming a lucrative business so corporate bodies (even courier services) are becoming involved.
Kpakpo last but not the least of the enterprises that I can identify in the savannah caters for the fashion sense and taste of relocated southern folk in the savannah and savannah people who want to look trendy, as pertains to fashions in the south. Yes, I’m referring to the different African print dresses and shirts, with the bags and slippers/shoes to match especially for the ladies. It is very important that the labels of notable fashion houses in the south be on them to show their worth.
So in essence fashion from dress design and fashion houses such as Alfie Designs, Nallem clothing and pkog (the ones that come to mind) are pretty much a big deal in the savannah. That is not to say that I have noticed that some of the savannah designers train in the south and are even better than some of these fashion coming in but because the dresses are coming from Accra, their value is more.
Kpakpo, I have noticed one particular astute design house buy smocks wholesale from the savannah, supposedly take it down south to have their logos imprinted on them and then resell them to their savannah clientele sometimes at 5 times the price of the original smock that was bought. Or they design shirts with the smock material (which they buy cheaply) used as decorations and the value of these shirts are very exclusive and thus very expensive.
Is this not the same thing that we accuse the Europeans of doing to us Africans when they buy our raw materials at prices they dictate and then process it and sell them back to us at exorbitant prices yet we still buy because we assume it’s prestigious to buy European products? This is right here in our motherland.
Well, they still have clientele who patronize them so who am I to say that it’s expensive. If I can’t afford it doesn’t mean somebody else cannot. After all, it is still patronizing made-in-Ghana products.
Kpakpo, with all these enterprises it is obvious that this part of the savannah is very lively and bubbly. It is growing so fast and I just wish the powers that be will recognize the potential and shift attention in more developing areas rather than those flying birds that lay only six eggs and the trees that got burnt even before they were planted. We do indeed have some leaders paa oh anyemi!
Furthermore, another thing boggles my mind. Having given the active timeline of daily activity of the savannah capital, I remember at one time a curfew was instituted from midnight to 4am in this place. Kpakpo, how in the heck is a curfew like that going to work when naturally by 10pm to 6am the savannah practically shuts itself down. If this is not a bureaucratic gimmick to keep the savannah perceptions, I wonder what is.
Now you understand where my conspiracy theory is coming from?
Well, I have said my piece.
Kpakpo, when are you going to find an excuse to come visit me in the savannah so that we do some of our favorite pastimes together?
Did I tell you we are trying to put down a proposal to take over and manage a nightclub here? It is one of the enterprises that if managed well can generate a lot of capital and me and a couple of friends are trying to look into it.
Hope by the time to decide to take time off your Drive Time Daily show and drive into town (just kidding, I know you will fly) the nightclub deal should have gone through and we will chill. Even if it doesn’t, we will still have fun other ways.
You know how we do it. This time we are going to do it savannah style (gangam style with fugu).
Oh Chale! Can’t wait for that day.
But till next time, keep keeping well.
Your ‘enterprising’ cousin in law