Christmas in Accra

Dear Nii Kpakpo,
My few days spent in Accra really showed me that ‘nothing spoil’ in that city and that despite the hardships that you folk go through every day, you guys still manage not to drop the ball but life goes on.
Unfortunately this time my coming coincided with the Christmas festivities and even though I didn’t intend to spend too many days I was also caught up in the events of the festivities. There were weddings all over and for the 12days of Christmas I had a party to attend every day if I chose to. There was this particular day I had to do 4 wedding and I couldn’t even miss one of them. Interestingly the wedding locations were like the four point geographical coordinates of Accra. They ware at different ends of town. In the end I had to just do 2 of them and then one reception and do the last one’s dinner the next day. As for now when you do wedding you do lunch in Accra.
You people huh!
And you are the ones who are doing Occupy Ghana and saying the system is hard. I came across this admonition somewhere that whether with a large wedding or simple wedding the couple end up being married and very soon they are forgotten since the very next week the same guests are looking out for the next one to attend and they don’t really care what happened to the wedding a week ago. It may be mentioned in passing but not given a full description. So why start life with a lavish wedding that leaves you in debt to start marriage in debt.
I won’t even try to characterize the lights off that go on so frequently in Accra currently known as dumsor. But Nii Kpakpo i found very facinating the greeting that has come to be associated with it such as I greet you with ‘mahama oh’ and the response is ‘yaa dum’ or ‘yaa sor’ which will indicate whether one has lights at home or not. I was so furious at one such incident and let me tell you about it here.
Nii kpakpo Thompson! So you know how me and you cousin have declared Fridays our birthdays and for me Mondays are lazy days. There was one such Monday I decided I was gonna splurge myself and just let the day wash me and go through me. This was a day I had cleared all potential meetings and wanted to just hunker down and catch up on the latest box office movies I have missed since I have been in Tamale. So I fixed the cable and the external drive into the flat screen mounted on the wall and courtesy of my mother I had some freshly baked cakes which I took time to slice and dice into a tray and went into the fridge to get a cold drink to go with it.
Kpakpo, I even went to the extent of putting that ‘abrokyire’ popcorn you put in the microwave and it’s done within minutes into the microwave.

Chale! I get time rough.

Thing is, I was so sure that the light was gonna stay the whole day so this was a cinema experience I was going to write about and I was giving myself the whole treatment.
The flat screen is already connected to the home theater system so I tested the sound and set the first movie to play just when I sat in the sofa. With curtains already drawn the whole cinema was set. Kolaville Cinemas complete with popcorn, cold drinks, a tray of cakes and biscuits and the only thing missing was a beautiful lady to share it all with but hey, I didn’t mind that this was me time.
Just as I silence my phones to ensure no disturbance and picked up the remote, Mahama decided to visit without knocking. Immediately I pointed the remote at the screen to push play, FUI! THE LIGHTS WENT OFF!
Kpakpo, I swear down, you have no idea the indignation I felt that very moment and for the first few seconds I just sat in the sofa and was waiting to see if it was a mistake and the lights will come back on (as usually happens in Tamale). That wait lasted a whole hour, and still the lights didn’t come on.
I tell you if anybody from Electricity Company had come by the house or area that day, I’m sure I will be in the grips of the police and sure to try out the nice new tiled cell at the newly built Sowutuom Police Station. I was pissed beyond measure. My only respite was therefore to consume whatever I had prepared for the movies, without the movies, dress and go out of the house. During lights off I cannot stay at home. I get bored easily.
I had a pretty interesting time in Accra on this trip especially with my sister and friend Ohui and her daughter. She came to visit me at home and I was bored so decided to accompany her to town and since she didn’t quite know her way around town I ended up driving her Range Rover jeep for 2 days. That was really an experience. Oh! One time some policeman tried to stop the car and I didn’t see what he wanted so I just drove off. Kpakpo! There are some cars that give you that kind of arrogance and trust me, if you had seen me driving you will say I have changed. We need to stop driving the jalopies we drive and get ourselves some of these huge machines. They truly are a status symbol. Even the kind of places you hang out when you are driving one of these machines change.
My friend and writing inspirer, Nana Damoah was also in town to organize a book reading and signing with another mentor author, Kofi Akpabli whom I’ve been stalking on Facebook for a long time. This guy’s humor is off the hook and it is not surprising he writes on local stories with such humor that you can so relate and he will have you in stitches. Check him out on Google when you have the time. The book reading session I participated in was hosted by our own social commentator firebrand who works for the red telecom company from the Far East, fine boy Kwame Gyan. He put me on the spot when I wanted to read something from Tamale from Kofi Akpabli but let me read from I Speak of Ghana by Nana Damoah. Get a copy of that book or come lemme dash you one. Oh! And yes I had fun. You know me I won’t go to a place and not leave my mark.
The Writers Project and Ghana Association of Writers are doing well organizing such stuff and Kpakpo you know it is such events and the music festivals, etc by AccradotAlt that make me miss my staying in Accra. They are doing such a great job promoting reading and writing experience in Ghana.
As for one such AccradotAlt event, I didn’t miss the annual Indie Fuse event last year dubbed Sabolai Radio organized at the Children’s park. Interestingly inasmuch as these events are dubbed free range, it was the era of the Kwaw Kese wee smoking trial so you wouldn’t find that many people smoking at the event. It was profoundly so and even wanluv composed a song ‘Free Kwaw Kese!” to show support.
Nii Kpakpo that! I knew I would find you at the Joy FM old school jam at that roof top and boy did we have fun. I sat there just watching patrons live up and reminisce their 90s like they were back in the day and the deejays were on point. Somebody later told me they heard us all the way at the hospital in the quiet of the night and it must have been fun. Only told the person they should have been there. It is amazing how many people you realize you thought couldn’t dance were dance champions back in the day but have grown older. We stayed and left in in the wee hours of the morning and I got home pretty tired from all that dancing.
Accra can be fun but it has its own problems. The city is gradually getting overcrowded and people are now pushing to live in the outskirts and leaving the center to the ‘immigrants’ who think life in Accra means ‘you have arrived’. Pressure on social amenities is so much and we all know the many problems that plague the city so I won’t go into it. However albeit all this our leaders find it prudent to try to spend money on physical structures to beautify the city and this has taken priority over the human existence of the city.

Well, we live to see.
Chale any3mi! lemme not make this letter too long. I’d write again soon and tell you about my harmattan experience in Accra as compared to Tamale.
Till then keep well.
Your Cousin in Law
Savannah Boy


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