Storm Relief

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

So I’m back in the Savannah after spending a few days in the Bearded Man City and what I come to meet is an office bursting with activity. Remember in my last letter I told you about how we had been ransomed by the rains and the disasters including ripping apart of houses that the wind and rainstorm had caused.

Well, after collating all that data of all the affected persons the relief items, never enough, were taken delivery of. Oh! This my people. As soon as word went round that the relief items were in folk started besieging the Disaster Office in a bid to at least get something to compensate them for the rainstorm.

Kpakpo, it’s interesting to see how people in the community react to some of these things. Relief items include bags of cement, bags of rice and bags of maize and it was decided that based on how a person was affected by the rainstorm, it was going to determine what relief items were given. There are also roofing sheets.

Nii Kpakpo I think I’ve made mention of how politics is intricately woven into the very fabric of these people in the Savannah and it’s profound effect on their everyday lives. If it only takes an astute politician to tap into the gullibility of the Ghanaian then it is even worse if the persons are remotely illiterate.

Everything here, every event be it an outdooring, wedding or even a clean up is an opportunity for politicians in the area to show their graciousness and “magnanimity” to the people even if they are not directly responsible for whatever is going on.

Yes! Based on the last point then you’re smart enough to surmise that giving relief to storm victims will be a big deal for all the politicians remotely attached to the relief items and even district executives or assembly men with political ambitions.

So it wasn’t so surprising, at least to me, that there was a whole durbar held one afternoon when the relief items got here to hand over the items to the Disaster Office to be distributed to the affected in the community. Okay let me try to give a list of who was there, at least the political bigwigs.

The first to arrive was the chief of the district who waited for over 3 hours for the event to start. It was so much fun watching the culture of the north on display. Traditionally the chief is supposed to be taller than anybody in the community so when he’s walking everybody else who’s a subject is bent over double so they’re not taller than him. I was imagining what would happen if the community had a chief who was four feet tall but luckily this particular chief makes it easy on his community because he is already over six foot tall. From the moment he stepped out of his all black four wheel drive V8 Toyota LandCruiser (yes, he’s a modern chief and chiefs in the savanna all drive in 4×4 cars), he was serenaded by drumming and praise singing until he was shown to his seat.

Since he’s supposed to be taller than his subjects in all situations when he sat down, they sat on the floor all around him not caring that it had been raining all morning and the ground was wet. The praise singing and the traditional drumming still went on.

The regional minister and his deputy showed up too. The deputy regional minister also doubles as the Member of Parliament of the district and he had already come for a cursory inspection of affected areas within the various communities in the district.

The regional coordinator of the Disaster Office was also present because after all it was his overseeing outfit that was going to take responsibility for distributing the relief items.

Oh! And don’t forget the tin god “honourable” assembly men. Did I tell you that when you call them on their cell phones and don’t call them by that title they won’t even listen to what you have to say?

Kpakpo I’m sure there were laughs all round but I didn’t stay around to watch the ceremony so I don’t know the kind of speeches that were made. Not that I would understand the language either if I had stayed but I’m sure that condescending tone of politicians would be thickly present.

Anyways Nii Kpakpo Thompson the relief items are being given out with its attendant problems of beneficiaries deciding which items they should be given. There have been a few cases where beneficiaries have complained that they should be given more or they would rather have a different item than the ones they were given.

As for me I just can’t wait for it to be over so I can also relieve myself since I don’t even have a grain of gari at home due to my financial state also caused by this very office. If the items are all distributed as should be then fine because they were intended for the disaster victims in the communities. But I gotta sort myself out in another way soonest.

Your sister doesn’t understand that I keep saying that work first and then family later but I believe that’s how it should be.

Well duty calls and I have to rush back to see what is going on at the relief front.

Have a good one until I write to you again.
Cheers mate!

Your Cousin in law,
Savannah Boy


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