Independence Road Trip

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

On the occasion of Ghana’s Independence Day and being a long weekend I decided to take a trip to some parts  of Ghana to ascertain for myself that  there was something to celebrate. I had planned to take off and start my journey with a friend who had come to do a few business rounds in Tamale and also visit me and my family.

After a couple of rounds on the eve of independence we both retired to get some rest for the long drive to Kumasi from Tamale. Just as I was about to retire I get a call from Ato, our indigenous American boy doing stuff to promote youth thinking and making waves in trying to make people to realize that we can make it on our own and don’t have to wait for government. He was on his return from a film festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and the car had malfunctioned and they had been involved in an accident.  Luckily they weren’t too far from Tamale and so he called me and he needed a place to crash for the night so he could continue his journey to Accra in the morning.
Kpakpo, Ato has always been a selfless person and it was touching to realize that he paid the two available taxis from wherever remote place they were to carry wounded persons to the hospital and he although he was shocked at the bill, he still paid it up. The drivers however surprised me by their lack of compassion and wanted the total fare they were charging per head count of whoever they’d taken from the accident scene. In a place like this that took me by surprise that they should only think of making bucks of this guy than helping him out.

But what do I know. This is a Ghana of dead goats.

Furthermore, in the dark and having taken charge of the others, he had underestimated his own injuries. His whole right am was full of sores and abrasions from his attempt to jump out of a malfunctioning vehicle. The question I asked myself after dressing his wounds was that at 58 years of independence we still had cars on the roads that even though have road worthy certificates are really death traps on our roads. Yet every day we see police people on the roads and drivers putting one Ghana in their licenses to give to them at the road side.

Well, what a nation.

But I had to leave Ato at home to set off at dawn. Checked on him later to ensure he’d gone for a checkup at the clinic.

Invariably I didn’t get to sleep at all and the first leg of my independence road trip began. This was from Tamale to Techiman.

Oh yeah Kpakpo! The bridge is finished and as such we don’t have to endure that wait when the bridge is closed from 2pm to 6am. The journey was uneventful and I got to see the savannah in the early dawn.

Nii Kpakpo, early morning Techiman was business as usual, like it was any normal day so much so that when I called my aunty she was on her way to a meeting but had to come see me at the station before she continued to her meeting. And oh! Linda looked hot and she’s gotten pretty fair I must say. She must be the toast of the town having lived in Accra for the past few years, pursuing her university degree in business and working for a while in the capital, and now moved back to take care of her mother’s business.

Techiman was the first place I realized that the day looked like a Saturday. Because of the holiday folk were taking it quite easy. I realized some girls had even gone to play football in the morning as had some guys too who came through the station I’m sure on their way home.

The market in Techiman is always busy and today was no exception even that early.

The next leg of my journey began when I got my ticket for a minivan heading to Sunyani and then on to Berekum. This was where even seated at the front I managed to catch a little sleep.

Kpakpo, it is very important we don’t underestimate the use of power banks. I have been using my phone the whole way and the power bank became a very handy device to power my little computer in my hands.

Watching the towns pass by as we headed to Sunyani I realized that independence really meant little to us as Ghanaians. Hunters coming from the bush in the morning, women and children gathered at a borehole to get water and the various schools dotting the roadside were empty. These were the most visible signs of Independence Day.

It was only as we got out of Sunyani that I saw some school children obviously coming from or going on a march past in the main street at Fiapre holding traffic on the highway for a while. The school children looked quite jubilant and I wondered if it was because of independence or that they didn’t have to go to school that day.

If only they knew that the leaders were seemingly not leaving any legacies for them and their future was going to be full of debt despite the resources at the disposal of the nation.

The drive from Sunyani to Berekum for me was a first. Somewhere last year I was supposed to have gone to Drobo but that didn’t come on so this road trip was an option I wasn’t going to pass.

Well, it was interesting to see major trading towns so far our in the hinterland from the accra coast that I have been used to a major part of my life.

Berekum was interesting and looked just like Sunyani but I had to continue to Dormaa, the first major town on that side from the Ivory Coast.

Wow! What a surprise.

The town is a neat laid out town and you would think it is small but life there can be more laid back than in Tamale. My taxi fare over quite a distance cost just a bit over a dollar and initially I wanted to bargain but I was tired so we just kept going and never got where we were supposed to. Coupled with the fact that the driver was relaxed and was telling me to take my time to call my host and he waited for me every time I made a call was very accommodating.  Anywhere else and the taxi driver will have been irritated that you were wasting his time, like he has somewhere else to be.
I had finally arrived in Dormaa, the town I call the egg basket of Ghana.

Everywhere you turn is a poultry farm and their main production is eggs which are sent all over Ghana. Everywhere you turn eggs are the staple meal and they are fried in fours at the roadside.

Yes! You heard right. Eggs are fried in fours in Dormaa.

Nii Kpakpo Thompson, for my observations and my stay in Dormaa, I am tired for now, but I will narrate that to you in my next letter.

One thing I can say however is something I will never tire of saying and you have heard a thousand times, Ghana is not Accra and Kumasi oh. Ghana is big and therefore when one finds himself caught in a particular location and say Ghana is hard, some people in the same Ghana will not understand that person because they are not feeling the same thing.

Well, till my next letter, you keep fanning yourself and keep that wet towel soggy in your dum dum situation in Accra. We really hope it gets better and the light remains at the end of the tunnel.

Till then, keep well.

Your Cousin in Law
Savannah Boy

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