Dear Nii Kpakpo,
I’ve been meaning to write this story for such a long time but my procrastinating nature has put it back several times and thus several days. This procrastination disease i must seek deliverance from. But I’m here now.
I was recently in Accra for a major wedding which even though was supposed to be unconventional and hush hush ended up being one that would fit into the entertained pages or tabloids of any social magazine. The clothes were on point, as my friend Ntow would say when overwhelmed by a tasty delicacy, the people were wow and the couple, Oh The Drama!
Well thats done and dusted and you should see my relief when it was all over and I’m sure I wasn’t the only person cos it was tiring just even helping out to make it happen. It was fun too.
This letter however is to chronicle some things that happened to me in one day that reiterated what the capital has become. Will just tell you the stories and you make whatever you make of them.
Scenario 1: So I go into a shop to buy sunglasses and I want a leather pouch for it. Honestly I didn’t see anything wrong with paying extra which I was prepared to do but when I asked the salesman, an elderly man, to consider the prize I was prepared to pay for it he brushed me off and totally ignored me. When I tried to draw his attention, he said rudely in twi that I was becoming a nuisance. Kpakpo, I thought I didn’t hear right so I tried again and man got angry at me, his customer. I was so shocked I just put down the item, walked out of the shop and inasmuch as I was angry too just took a picture of his sign post and used it to lament about the falling customer service practices in Accra. In a time when we complain that Ghana is hard, we Ghanaians won’t lift up standards in business practice yet want to make profits.
Scenario 2: met a cousin and girlfriend who is now in business selling food at the Rawlings Park and told her would want to support so got some items to hand over to her. I’m driving into the park very early in the morning to hand the items over to her and just drive out on some errands. Just as I enter the park an attendant holds out a parking ticket saying I have to pay 4 Ghana to be in the park. Granted I have to pay but I’m not parking I’m just handing items over and then drive out. Attendant says no way emphatically and the spot is just 100 meters from where we’re having this discussion. So I tell him, man! here are the things lemme just walk over and hand it over or could you even do it for me for that same amount of parking and dude flares up.
Kpakpo, I just sat in the car and backed up out of there as quickly as I could. Drove around a few minutes, got a parking space on the street, left my doors and windows open walked two minutes to the park, greeted the same dude hello and delivered the items and left.
When I got back to the car even the parking attendant just looked on as I started my engine and drove off but not before I had made a few stops in some nearby shops to ask for the price of a loudspeaker set to establish myself as a potential customer.
Scenario 3: I’m at OA Travel and Tours bus station to get a ticket and I request for a single seat in the executive bus, salesman vehemently says no but I don’t protest and he’s surprised so he gives it to me anyway only for me to come back later and realize that most of the passengers sitting around me are women who have seemingly come to purchase the whole of Accra and sending it home and some with kids who are running about it the bus. Some of the smells coming from their bags are also giving me allergies and I have to endure this for fourteen hours since the bus stopped too frequently on our journey.
Why always me?
Scenario 4: Kpakpo, don’t know whether this is hilarious or just plain dumbfounding. So I get a call to come to a meeting at Best Western Hotel in connection with my #iBelieveInReading book collection project so I borrow a friend’s car and meeting is successful I get a big box of books plus assurance of more. After a few rounds I head home. You know there are some places in Accra that you walk through and there is hardly a car passing by so the only option open to anybody is to hitch a ride with a benevolent private driver. I’m driving through one of such areas and there is this man in a suit and considering the heat he’s taken the jacket off and was walking towards the main road quite a distance where he could get public transport. I’ve been in such situations several times and most of those times my prayer has been that some car just pass by me and offer me a lift to the roadside at least to get a car.
So I see this man walking and I park the car next to him and greet him and say I’m headed to the roadside. Man bends down looks into the car, has a strange look on his face and says “I don’t know you! ”
Nii Kpakpo Thompson! At that moment I didn’t know what to say. Of course you don’t know me I’m only offering you a ride to the junction so you can get a car. Interestingly I found myself saying thank you and driving off. It was only later when I was handing back the car that I realized that the owners trade tools were spread all over the backseat of the car. There were wigs on two dummy heads and a box with a vacuum cleaner at the backseat I hadn’t noticed and I burst into laughter imagining what this guy must’ve seen when he looked into the backseat of the car. But seriously who would severe heads and put them in their backseat? Well what do I know?
Kpakpo these scenarios are everyday happenings in Accra and I’m sure you’ve had your own share of experiences that will be evidence of what the capital city has become leaving people thinking that there are no good people anymore. But good is good and people still go out of their way to help people out. The woman who gave me the box of books sent her driver to bring them and we only spoken on phone. I never met her. God bless her.
Let’s just keep being ourselves and not let our environment change our homely, goodly and godly nature. We’re who we are.
Till later I still remain
Your Cousin in Law,