Dear Nii Kpakpo,
Hope you’re doing well in managing the dum dum situation in the capital and you guys are not blaming the head goat of the country too much so he becomes really dead. Well, you and I both know that when he literally dies our leaf wrapped second elder will now have cause for his wife not to prove to us as a nation that he’s not gay though it will be a gay moment for him as the head huncho of this floating ship of a nation.
Kpakpo I found myself buying eggs in the Savannah and it sent me flashing back to my time in Dormaa that I haven’t told you about.
Immediately I got to the town the taxi driver told me where I was going was quite a distance from the station and as such I had to get another cab. Upon negotiations with a friendly cab driver I was charged 4 cedis. My first instinct was to bargain but I was too tired and I just needed to get to my destination. Trust me, it’s good I didn’t.
Being brought up in Accra will always take a toll on a person’s psyche wherever you go and as I made calls to get directions the driver was patient to wait for me to get the directions. In the city, the driver would’ve been pissed and claim he’s in a hurry to make sales. I finally had to let him go and walk the little distance left because I was feeling bad for wasting his time. He insisted on waiting but my conscience will not let me let him stay.
Finally I meet my host and later in the day we take a tour through the town. This people really know how to have fun. As I mentioned Kpakpo, life is laid back and being a holiday the social places such as the bars and pubs were full of people having fun. After all this was a Long weekend.
There were some interesting pub names, the most memorable being California, where when we walked in the smell of the local gin (akpeteshie) flails your nostrils causing them to flare and assail you like the punch of a heavyweight boxer. The pungent smell can knock the faint scented a few steps back.
Akpeteshie in California.
Kpakpo, in my travels I have also come to realize that city dwellers get away with almost everything when they are in groups and move together. In my group of 6 we walked into a service station mart to get out of the heat and we were lying on the tiled floor and this only made the attendants laugh at our indignation. Where can a person do that if not taken for a mad person and thrown out. What further amused the attendants was when we started taking pictures of our “craziness” for social media and were teasing each other.
The evening carefree walk through town was very exciting and we met two customs officials who were happy to meet us since apparently we were an exciting bunch. We got an invitation to the border post not too far away.
Nii Kpakpo Thompson, as chance will have it, Dormaa is the very first major town from the Ivory Coast town of Dounne and it shares borders with Ivory Coast at a little Ghana town called Gonokrom. As to the origin of the town’s name we make up our own stories the most infamous being that the town was full of men suffering from gonnorhea probably gotten from sleeping with women from across the border.
Even before you get to Gonokrom there is a town called Twɛpiesie which we found funny translating into our local language twi.
Oh Yes! You know I won’t get to a border and not cross into another country Nii Kpakpo. I didn’t lose guard one bit. After greeting our new found friends we met the day before during our walk, one of them decided to be our guide with our walk into our neighboring country. Come see us taking pictures beyond the borders of Ghana and doing silly stuff in the No Man’s Land between the two borders. And Yes! We asked very silly questions too. Like if we stood in the No Man’s Land and we threw stones on either side of the border who would effect our arrest and under whose laws will we be arrested (if we are) and prosecuted.
Let’s just say our guide was bemused.
Indeed my brother, we say we’re suffering in Ghana but now I understand why we have to protect our borders against the influx of large migration from our neighbors whenever there is trouble in their lands. They all see Ghana like a tropical resort and the little town that we walked through was no town at all but by Ghanaian standards, a village.
Development was simply nonexistent and dusty roads and dusty houses dominated the town. There’s nothing like a fuel pump filling station in the town and the petrol fuel is sold on table tops from gallons and bottles so you find people with cars crossing the border to come into Ghana to fill their tanks and head back across the border. Our guide said that was pretty normal and sensible since the fuel in bottles on the table wasn’t good for the car engines.
The first border post we met we were told were manned by the rebels before the government customs post and then there is another rebel post quite some ways inside the town.
This we were made to understand is the result of the power sharing arrangement in sharing political power is exists in Ivory Coast. Honestly we don’t want this in Ghana. We’re already suffering as it is with one party calling the shots and imagine both parties (one constantly opposing the other) plus the threats of rebel forces hanging on our heads.
God save Ghana!
The best part of the short hour journey into our neighbor country was when we joined a bunch of children jumping rope under a tree with their parents looking on. Before long we were having so much fun that we had a small crowd gather to see what was going on.
It was fun.
Then there was the buying and eating of achɛkɛ a local staple food made from cassava.
Kpakpo indeed it was worth the experience.
Later when we got back to our side of the border we went into the duty free shop and did some shopping mostly for drinks and I got myself some after shave I haven’t bought in a while cos it has become very expensive thanks to the fluctuation of the dollar against the cedi. It was a steal.
Nii Kpakpo, it won’t be fair not to talk about food in Dormaa. I was separated from my party for a while and I decided to take a cab back to town. Being hungry I stopped by a roasted plantain (Kofi Brokeman) seller to get one cedi worth of food at least to curtail my hunger knowing there was jollof being prepared by the lovely ladies at home. When the woman started piling the full fingers of plantain into a paper bag for me I had to ask how much it cost and her reply was that didn’t I say I was buying one cedi?
Each finger of plantain costs 20p and apart from giving me 5 fingers she threw in groundnuts too insisting that I couldn’t eat the plantain without the groundnuts.
I’m moving to Dormaa!
I have maintained that living in the savanna is relatively cheaper than in the city but if there is a place that’s even more cheaper why not move there. After all these days most of our work is online anyways and we can work from anywhere in the world provided you got yo data connections.
Nii Kpakpo, I mentioned earlier that eggs are fried in fours and whilst we were in the house 7 of us consumed 3 crates of eggs in 3 days. Imagine the Bio gas build up under one roof. I’m Sure we could’ve powered a mini plant only if there was dumsorr but during that whole weekend the electricity went off for only thirty minutes and that was it.
What a life!
It was in Kumasi when whilst talking to a friend that I got to know the explanation behind that. Bizarre as it may sound the reason there was no lights off was that the first lady’s family hail from there and the president’s family were in Bole so there were no lights off in these 2 places.
Well I left Dormaa and went into the real city life in Kumasi coming face to face with the dumsorr and did a walk on the KNUST campus just to familiarize myself with the new infrastructure on campus and see how the young ones take their learning and campus activities in these days.
Saw a couple of boys with their books in their back pockets which brought a smile to my face cos I had only 2 exercise books for al my note taking per year when I was in the university.
The trip back to Tamale was pretty uneventful except that after the last travel experience I had where I had to stay at a rest stop for almost 7 hours when our bus broke down, I have decided that now I will take the buses by looking at their registration numbers.
The bigger buses have been in use since 2008 and are registered Z whilst some minivans are even registered this year indicating they are relatively new. With the level of maintenance in our transport system you can bet your last penny that it won’t be a smooth ride for a six hour journey.
Kpakpo, this proved a good decision since the bigger buses that had even left before our minivan were all parked by the roadside as we passed them at different parts of the road.
When I set off on this trip I was wondering if truly we had anything to celebrate as a country on our independence day but at the end of the trip I realized that indeed we do. It’s absolutely true we could’ve done better with our development and infrastructure if only we had stayed on course but as the twi proverb says to wit “it is bent but not broken” I believe we can still make it as a nation.
As usual we can only hope for the best oh Nii Kpakpo and pray that the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t end up in the hands of the Electricity Company of Ghana else …
Well! We still love this nation. It’s an unconditional love.
Till I write to you again
Your Cousin in law