Accra Retro

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

There is so much to say that I don’t even know where to start. I’m pretty sure I am going to write this particular letter in like five different parts based on topics and with different titles.

Nii Kpakpo I was in the capital a few weeks ago and this time I was there for the longest time I’ve ever been since I relocated. I was in the capital for just over 3 weeks and some of my thoughts and observations are captured in City Life in Retrospect.

The city of Accra has become a place for survival of the fittest amidst a dog bite dog system that is pretty ruthless to the unsuspecting and vulnerable. It has become like any cosmopolitan city in the world comparable to New York, Paris or Shanghai, Tokyo or even London. It has become actively hyper and over vibrant like any of these cities with its attending problems and pressures.
Mortgage rates and accommodation in Accra has shot through the roof and to get decent accommodation within the city centre is out of the question. It’s just so amazing that people still manage to survive in the city with higher cost of living.

Food prices and transport costs just take the cake. They did make my head spin because a decent meal both at home and worse out will set you back a few.

What a wow!

Found myself comparing same food and transport costs as against living in the savanna and I realized one thing from my few weeks stay in the capital. The most profound revelation was that there was no way I could come back and stay in the capital. No way!

With the kinda city the capital has become it was therefore not surprising that in a bid to survive the crime rate will also increase steeply. New ways of stealing have been invented in the capital so much and surprisingly the worst criminals are in suits and ties and sit in air conditioned government offices.

Meanwhile the average joe on the street also has to survive so he also has to find any means possible to survive hence the capital has become a city of deals and shortcuts.

Nii Kpakpo, as for the mayor of the town, the less said about him the better. With the rains having set in, it has become apparent that he is not prepared enough for the rain floods that still hit the capital. He is either in the news telling people it will be well and giving the same hope he’s been preaching from the day he took office.

Meanwhile the city is not only inundated with rain floods but also the plastic waste and filth that the flood water drags along with it. The filth in the city is overwhelming and everywhere you turn there is a heap of rubbish or thrash even in areas that are not busy city centre areas so I’m wondering what went wrong.

The other times the mayor’s in the news is with people calling for his beard to be shaved out of office but why am I not surprised, this is Ghana and whoever comes could even be more clueless than he is.

A friend and me took a drive through the central business district after office hours whilst I was visiting and passed by the bearded mayor’s offices and just when we got to the office gates we slowed down on the streets and started screaming ‘abodwes3 oh abodwes3!!’ for like two minutes on top of our voices whilst we sat in the car.

My God! It felt so good and you should have seen the faces of the other drivers in their cars on the street with us and the looks on the face of some pedestrians walking by. Even the policeman on duty to guard the premises came out to see what the commotion was about and seeing just the two of us was wondering why we would do a thing like that. It was crazy Kpakpo.

But that is exactly what living in Accra does to you. It makes you crazy to even survive in Accra and without that touch of madness one won’t make it.

Kpakpo it was fun massaging the networks I still got in the capital and making sure that my friends know that I’m still around and relocation doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about them and that I’m still around. I even had time to meet some new friends that I met on social media whilst I was up here and even some sweet girls whilst having time to hang out and take some fun trips and hangout with some of the social media group members.

The landscape of the capital is changing so fast nowadays with all the high rise and real estate coming up in different parts of the city as advertised on the surrounding walls of the designated lots. The airport area has seen some rapid changes in high rise infrastructure and it is not so surprising that a friend of mine who has been in the USA for eighteen years couldn’t recognize a thing in the airport area. I’m sure she probably thought when she got out of Kotoka International airport that she has been brought to a different country and not to her homeland Ghana. Such people can easily get lost in the capital.

The airport city is gonna be fantastic if they can mould the whole airport including the terminals into it so it becomes one single entity. That would be nice.

No wonder the levels in Accra are so high and the rural folk also want to come and see some of what they are told about hence the migration to Accra with its attendant problems.

Fast forward to the #OccupyGhana demonstration and I can tell you that was one demonstration I would have loved to be part of. We have protested and shown displeasure by the way our country is run on various media and it was high time we took it to the streets and put it out that we just weren’t pleased but we would do something about it.

The organizers took less than a week to plan it and the beauty of the demonstration is that it was spontaneous and being a social media demonstration it was obvious that it went viral as soon as the idea was birthed. Whilst demonstrators were on the streets, those of us who couldn’t be there were at home on our computers and phones tweeting and blogging the event making sure it was trending especially on twitter.

Bloggers and social media people took the forefront but the demonstration took a different turn when it actually happened. Middle class citizens, some pretty affluent, also joined in the protests as it affected them in various ways either in business or personally.

As for the events that preceded and happened during the demonstration are all online so I’m not going to write a long harangue about it. But the Ghana Police as usual were there in their numbers to make sure the demonstration didn’t go ‘violent’. Tried to hold back some demonstrators and prevent them from getting into certain areas. Some were even seizing cameras.

Oh! Friend of mine ended up educating a police officer on his rights, of course in a confident accent in pure Queens English that the officer quickly backed off. Way to go Eddy! I really had a good laugh with that one.

Nii Kpakpo Thompson, you know how much I love protests and somehow I’m glad I wasn’t there because I would have been overzealous and taunted the already over hyped police force so much they would have done anything to get me off the scene and turned my protest into #OccupyNsawam for public disturbance.
Imagine your sister’s reaction Kpakpo. Or the reaction of the police when they realize that after all I even work for government and they haven’t paid me for almost a year and half..

What a wow!

Nii Kpakpo it is really fantastic how people complain about the government here and then when you remind that Mahama is the head of government they just shut up because in their eyes he does no wrong. He’s their president and that is it. Well we live to see.

This country is founded on hope and nothing else so let’s hope there is still light at the end of the tunnel and nobody turns the lights off or ECG has enough power to keep that light on. Or else we are all doomed.

Kpakpo, lemme end here and start another letter on another topic.
Keep the faith and hope my friend.

Your Cousin in Law,
Savannah Boy


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