Dear Nii Kpakpo,
Today I took an alternate route in the second part of my journey to work. Usually I walk about 15minutes in three phases from home to the place where I have to take a taxi to work.
The first part is from home to the first main Accra highway, passing by the cluster of schools. Then there is a walk past the stadium market via 2 mosques and maybe the computer school named after the American president who provides lollipop to his interns, Clinton.
It is this part of the route that I changed.
The third part of my route goes across another highway, past the only motorcycle assembly plant (by the wayside) I have seen around. The company has a very interesting name – Missed Call Enterprise. Sounds more like a telecom company or did the owner probably miss his calling.
Well Kpakpo back to my route. I got tired of using the same route everyday so decided to take an alternate. Here in the savannah, communal living systems are structured like a labyrinth and you’ll always end up where you want to be no matter what route you take if you’re imaginative enough. That I think I have loads of and it’s really helped in my gallivanting.
Not only am I imaginative it’s obvious by now that I’m also adventurous. The fear of the unknown doesn’t really apply here. It’s rather more the the curiosity of the unknown.
So I decided to try another route and that pushed me into a labyrinth of living conditions that relatively I had heard of but almost never seen.
Not only did I discover new eating joints in the about 200 meters of walk stretch but I also saw a place where humans lived with cattle in the same living space. Yes the same living spade.
I have seen sheep and goats but cattle was a new experience for me. Not one or two but four big cattle and sitting in their shit etc. But hey, not in the same space exactly. Humans are in the room and cattle on the porch sort of.
Kpakpo, I think this savannah folk live a simple life worth emulating. The key factor is that they live within their means and only with the basic necessities. A person can have all the money in the world, build lots of houses, buy all sorts of cars and still live in a single room apartment.
I think growing up we didn’t understand why people got rich but still lived lived in the zongo like still in Nima. Nima is no more considered a slum (in my opinion) because of the calibre of people living there now. The standard of living in Nima is not the same as a place like Agbogbloshie that’s chock full of migrants.
Nii Kpakpo, what I mean by living within means is what I deduced from e 200meter stretch of road. If one person thinks that a 40inch flat screen television is what he needs in his one bedroom house, and he can afford it, he just goes ahead to buy it. Others also live in more plush places and only have a 14inch television set.
Therefore it is not surprising at all to find a mud house with a cable satellite dish mounted on it because the occupant wants to enjoy cable television and can afford it. Same goes for an air-condition in a mud house. It’s not really the outside of the house that matters to savannah people usually but the comforts that lie within that residence.
In the same way a person would live in relatively shabby conditions and drive a luxury car because he believes that a car in necessary for his livelihood.
They actually live very simple lives and it was interesting to note that if you live the kind of life you really want to live, there is no need stretching it and trying to cheat or steal from others, which is good for the community in keeping social values.
Oh Kpakpo, this gallivanting through different routes in the city labyrinth has made me discover some interesting pastimes sometimes taking me by surprise. Can you imagine my welcome relief when I passed by one street and there were young men playing a game of scrabble? Apparently they do it everyday.
The location is a photocopy shop and whilst they reprinted books, these young men played scrabble. This is a welcome change from the ludo and oware I find adult men playing all over the city in the height of day. I have always thought these were games for women whilst cards and draughts were for men until I got here.
Anyways, life goes on in the savannah as the harmattan is here now. My nose is all blocked and I still haven’t been to town to hear the popping of heels and the scratch of skin.
Nii Kpakpo, gallivanting in the savannah is so much fun and my curiosity is opening up a whole new world of social living to me. I am enjoying my stay here.
Kpakpo you will get to hear of it as it happens.
Your Cousin in law