Tag Archives: Tamale Chronicles

Journey To The North

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

So I got into a bus heading north and though initially I didn’t know the people but I was cordially welcomed and before long we were chatting like we’ve known each other for years. After all what other choice did they have but that they were stuck with me for at least the next ten hours on the long drive to Tamale.

Kpakpo it is said that a man is not measured particularly by what he has but more by the friends he keeps. Here I was the day earlier doing errands for your sister especially to do with some documents she needed from that monolith institution up on the hill with its cumbersome bureaucratic processes. You know how it is in the capital when you want documents instantly then you have to fill some forms which bear The Big Six on the front pages and as letterheads. So there was no way I could get the documents without it taking a hit on my pockets. Meanwhile here I was having to rush back to Tamale for a mentoring program at the local university so I had to rush to the Intercity STC to book a ticket for the next day to travel. But the big sign post in the cashier’s window NO BOOKING WITHOUT CASH really had me prepped for an angina attack. What was going on and where was I to mobilize funds especially since I was told there were only two seats left on the second bus for the next day.

Kpakpo here I was feeling stranded and then after saying a prayer decided to tell a couple of friends and see how it goes. Now lemme tell you why I chose the InterCity STC. The company just recently purchased new Scania buses and these buses are fitted with usb ports and power sockets for electronic gadgets. I know when that our cousin who likes beans a lot hears this he might even try to take his rice cooker into the bus and cook some beans whilst he travels. But yeah! The buses are fitted with usb ports, a freezer and has on-board toilet facilities (which I have never seen in use considering how some passengers will even go to the bush and you can smell them a mile away) and best of all they have wireless services on board. This is what will make social media and internet users wanna ride in these buses and I am going to spearhead a campaign that it becomes our mode of transport of choice at social media events or gatherings.

So yeah that is it.

Kpakpo after an hour of making calls and convincing the ticket lady to hold the ticket for me I walked out of the station with a ticket in my pocket. Every day when I wake up I say a prayer to thank God for life and for his many blessings to me and that includes my friends and then I say a prayer for my friends too for God to bless them as they go through their daily lives. I have some friends and even though are crazy will go to the ends of the earth just to have my back. Look at yourself. Lol

So from the station I stopped over at the Body Temple of ICGC  to see my basketball friends I haven’t seen in a while and I’m sure the receptionist was shocked at how the boys just run out to carry me into the premises telling her I was VIP when everyone else is supposed to pay before entering the premises. It was really good to see them and regrettably I couldn’t stay any more days so we could hang out.

Anyemi, it was just as I got home that I got a call that there was a company bus leaving the Accra Mall in the wee hours of the morning and most of the people on the bus were going to be in the north for the first time and they would love for me to be on board that bus. Wow! What was happening I asked myself? I already had the ticket for the Intercity STC and I had to go return it but still I wasn’t convinced I wanted to leave the comfort of the public bus for some folk I didn’t even know and whether they will even treat me cordially. ‘Human beings are someway’ as a friend of ours will say. But then again, every journey had to be an adventure so why not. Luckily when I called the number for the Intercity company the same lady that served me picked up and she was so courteous I almost said I was sorry for bothering her but I will still take the bus. The lady explained my options to me and even wanted me to hold on till the morning so I make a decision when I came to board the bus but I told her the other bus was leaving around 3am and then she agreed on a refund or I change the ticket to Kumasi for another friend who was traveling there in the morning. Refund won the debate.

Kpakpo, by the time I was done doing all these calls and getting home and packing , it was long past midnight and which meant I had barely three hours to get ready. I called to confirm that I will be on the bus, took a shower, ironed my clothes, switched to news channels to watch what was going on in the rest of the world and lay down to wait for the time so I could leave home and go meet the bus  at the Accra Mall. Oh yes! And for the first time ever I set an alarm so at least I had some noise reminding me it was close to time. I didn’t know this people and I did not for any reason want to create a bad first impression. It was gonna be a long drive.

So at half past 3 I was at the roadside with my bags debating whether to take normal trotro which is cheaper to the mall or to take dropping which was comfy. I was wondering if there were any Uber drivers up by then. Well, since I still wanted to make an impression the dropping won and thankfully the taxi driver was very chatty and we have an interesting conversation on the drive. Within minutes we were at the mall since it was the wee hours of the morning and there was virtually no traffic on the roads. Moreover using the N1 we could almost wish we had another car to race with. There was no sign of the bus when I got to the mall but when I called the contact I was supposed to call I was asked to come into the station behind the mall and there I realized the company had a small office there and that was the pick-up point. The bus hadn’t arrived yet and after greeting those that were around I settled to wait.

Nii Kpakpo it wasn’t too long when the driver arrived and he was driving a new Ford Transit 14seater van and that put a smile on my face because I knew I had made a good choice. Before long we were chatting like we had met before and we were telling each other stories of travels to parts of Ghana to the delight of the rest of the passengers waiting. We assured them that inasmuch as it was going to be a long drive they will have fun along the way and should just enjoy the journey. The driver told me that he had suggested we leave that early because of the Buipe Bridge that was usually closed for repairs daily at 2pm and we needed to cross the bridge before its closure, else the alternate was to drive to the Bole-Bamboi-Sawla-Fufuiso road that will add at least four hours more to the journey. As for the alternative we didn’t even want to consider it at all so we set timelines and told the passengers that there will be minimal stoppages on the way until we got to the bridge. One passenger that was delaying was left behind because he could not be specific as to where he was as at the time we were ready to leave. At exactly 5am we set off from the Accra Mall.

The women went to the back seat and amidst giggling, gossiping and teasing each other we drove off. This soon petered out since it was obvious because of the time we were leaving peoples’ sleep patterns had been affected and before long most people were asleep. The timelines that I had set were pretty effective by my estimation and I understood why when I told the driver that I was estimating we get to Kumasi in four hours he just laughed. We hit the Ejisu roundabout at a quarter to eight but then the traffic in Kumasi driving through the center of town was crazy and we spent another hour manoeuvring through to get on to the Tamale road via Offinso. We picked up another passenger in Kumasi and by now the women in the car were awake and complaining that they were hungry.

Kpakpo inasmuch as we jokingly say that you can buy anything in traffic in Ghana it is very true for Accra and Kumasi cities. Driving through the traffic there was food that could serve a full British breakfast: oats, toasted bread and eggs, milo, milk, burfloaf, sandwiches and somebody even carried porridge. But alas our women didn’t want any of this but they preferred a local breakfast of some waakye or banku or probably some early morning fufu with some herbs and bushmeat. The discussion of what to eat on the bus also generated its own laughter and truly Ghanaians we laugh at our pain. Having gotten to the outskirts of Kumasi and out of the traffic the driver then stopped at a place where there was waakye for the women to buy breakfast whilst him and another passenger found a fufu joint and went off to have their own meal. They were the last to get on the bus and then we set off again with a further warning of minimum stoppages.

Time for people to start chattering again with food in their bellies but very soon, sleep took over again. The next stop was in Techiman to refuel and have passengers stretch a bit and use the washroom. Whilst they did that I quickly rushed over to see my cousin who was at a shop just a street away. The Linda that we used to know as a little gal is not so little anymore and she has grown into a lovely young woman helping her mother at the store and managing some of the business. She’s become the Techiman La Gata after the telenovela character. I know I should soon introduce her to my other sweetheart in the town, the svelte community nurse Vee but soon. Every time I show up there people are curious as to who I am because I relate to her by the love I have for her and we laugh easily. It was a quick pop in and I just hugged my aunt since I haven’t seen her in a while and told her I was passing by on a journey to the north and wanted to come get a blessed hug from her. She followed me to the bus and when the other passengers saw her and after the introduction one particular man started already calling me in-law mischievously. We set off again heading to Kintampo but passing through Tuabodom which also led the women to sing the old song that had once been a national hit and we laughed over it.

Kintampo is the center of Ghana and the town thrives on traveller trade because most of the buses that ply the north and south stop over there thus there are several rest stops. There was one time I remember we stopped over very late almost midnight and GN Bank van was still working giving announcements for people to come deposit their monies from daily sales for safe keeping. The town never sleeps because buses pass through almost every minute of the day. However we didn’t stop at Kintampo since we had already stopped at Techiman and we drove past heading to the bridge which was now our target because we intended to cross it before the close down time of 2pm. We were on track. We got to the bridge with still an hour and half to spare before closing time and just after we crossed it we were all clapping for our driver. He had made good time. It was then that I suggested whilst we were getting some snacks including tiger nuts, aka atadwe, that we get the driver some guinea fowl (akomfem) eggs to celebrate his feat. Moreover he needed to take a break of at least ten minutes which we insisted on so he had to find a place convenient to park the van.

Nii Kpakpo, just as the driver parked the van and got out I opened the door for those who wanted to stretch a bit to come out of the van and the very first lady who was eager to get out tried to come out of the van. Just as she put her leg down and her full body came into contact with the heat outside she jumped back into the cooler confines of the van. The action was very short-lived but very funny because just as she put her other foot on the ground out of the van the heat wave caught her straight in the face and she jumped back into the cooler confines of the van. At this time just before the rains is the hottest season in the north. The average temperature daily is 38 degrees and the passengers didn’t understand how I was feeling so cool in the heat and I told them that sometimes I felt I was solar because I have always been energized by the sun’s rays and it felt good to be back in the northern sun. One of the ladies commented ‘then we can’t live here oh’ and to which I replied that they will get used to it if they lived here and my experience the first time I visited Tamale.

When we set off again we knew that the next stop will be in Tamale and we even passed the Intercity bus that had left Kumasi at 6am that morning on the way. To impress the other passengers I put my wireless device on and caught the Wi-Fi from the bus to prove that indeed there was Wi-Fi on that bus and why I believed it was the bus of choice. Approaching Tamale and people were taken aback by the development and their impression that the place was a backwater changed instantly to be confirmed the next day when I met them that they will give consideration to a chance to relocate up north to stay.

The long journey gradually was coming to an end and all I could think about was the food that the boys were going to have at lunch. Every Friday are special days at The Observatory, a particular table set in Club Enesta, a restaurant in the very heart of Tamale. I was in contact with the chef and I had already told the boys to take a photo of the food I’d be missing but they didn’t know that I had made arrangements that just when the food was placed in front of them I will appear to eat some. I could just imagine the look on their faces. And Oh! I achieved that perfectly. Got to lunch just in time to just wash my hands and join in the meal after dumping my bags on the floor.

Nii Kpakpo Thompson, you see how this letter is long, so also was the journey long but in the end we made it. Considering the aftermath of accidents all over the news and casualties I give God the glory and thank Him for traveling mercies all over the nation. It is not by intelligence or might but just by His favour, grace and mercy that we travel as much as we do safely. Keep praying for me that I will enjoy safe travels in these parts as I bring you more stories from up here. And paddy, hurry and get your show on the road. I’m still waiting for the day you call me and tell me you’re heading up here or are here already. Like we will paint the savannah with its own sunset.

Till I write to you again I still remain,

Your Cousin in Law,

Savannah Boy

 

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Dear Nii Kpakpo,
it has been so long since i wrote you a letter but some events as usual have precipitated me write yet another missive. we have been well here and as you know being an election year, we are feeding on electoral promises and you know for  sure very soon our stomachs will become bloated. talking of stomachs you should see mine now. i am pretty sure i can soon be in a gubernatorial race with that your deejay banker cousin whose own now i see on television hidden behind punditorial tables. chai! that stomach i am sure can be seen from the moon. i pray i don’t get there.
anyemi! that our uncle Ebo Whyte is doing well paa oh. his plays have allowed some of us to enjoy the throwbacks of yesteryears in the university when if we wanted to toast a girl we opened up a new world to her by not taking her to a spot but to the Efua Sutherland drama studio. oh! those were the days we had protocol status there due to our frequency in the place. you miss one and everybody just knew you were off campus.
but recently i am happy to see that there are playwrights determined not to let the tradition of staged drama disappear with Ebo Whyte and Latif Abubakar as the Generals in that charge and several young playwrights coming up. watch out for one Christabel Badzi.
Nii Kpakpo we in the supposed hinterlands have always complained about the centrality of these plays in Accra and Kumasi thus leaving us out of the picture or should i say offstage when the plays come out and i am glad that recently some of the plays have been on road tours and now come to us. our uncle Ebo Whyte tries in that regard paa but the last time he was here in the savanna oboy was in the traffic laden and overcrowded Bearded Man City furious for not being here to see it. so this time when i heard that they were coming back with a play with the title of one of my favorite snacks, bananas and groundnuts, come see ahuprepre(anxiety) and determination that i wasn’t gonna miss this one and oh boy what a play.
Nii Kpakpo Thompson, this our uncle Ebo has an uncanny way of enthralling the audience to his plays that makes one kinda want more even at the end of the play. even to the untrained eye, his plays evoke emotions that are so mixed and varied and if you are in the audience and you an sit quietly to the end and not display any emotion then you deserve to be one of those palace guards in Buckingham Square or we could just make you a statue at the Flagstaff House. sometime whilst the play was going on i turned to look at my friend Obed who is shorter than i am bent to one side looking over my shoulder and since i was seated in front of him assumed i was blocking his view only for him to tell me that his ribs were aching literally. Kpakpo this is one cool dude who wasn’t laughing as hard as i was getting out of my seat and literally rolling on the floor.
Chale another thing that you always take away from a stage play are the lessons in life. stage plays have a way of giving you a reality check of a kind that even documentary movies on a particular subject wont give. our uncle Ebo never fails on that and has maintained the quality of his plays. one friend of mine in the savanna was kinda grumbling about how expensive the tickets cost and i tried to no avail to express how expensive it was to go on a road show and how important it was for our uncle to maintain his audience, the kind of people that actually love theatre and will pay to watch one of such a high quality.
Nii Kpakpo, oh we ate the Bananas and Groundnuts heartily with side dish of popcorn and pure water coupled with plenty snide remarks as the play went on. it was really a night of pure fun and maybe i will tell you later of the pub hopping and the after party that always follow such events. well, you know after that fruity drama we needed proper food so went for ga kenkey and some returnee borga ‘ah confirm’.
Kpakpo now we hear Latif will also be on his way with his latest and truly We Cant Think Far in these times.
Anyemi lemme end here and you know you should expect a letter on the political campaigning up here in the savanna. pretty interesting promises.

until then i still remain
Your Cousin in Law,
Savannah Boy

Royal Badminton Club

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

Every time I think I know whats happening in this our town I get bamboozled by the kinda events that happen in town most I don’t even hear of. Just recently I made some new friends and after four years in this town they opened up a whole new aspect of the town to me.

Kpakpo social media is really making things happen everywhere and it indeed gets results. I’ve been friends with a dude on a Whatsapp group for close to two years and it was on the group chat that I got to know he had been in town for over a year. We decided to meet up and he introduced me to his circle of friends and acquaintances.

Remember sometime back I told you how social events unfold that people practically stay indoors and only more out to social hangouts when they know some other people as gonna be there.  The fun of being a social being is that you never get bored because every time a group is “sitting” you know and you’re invited.

Nii  Kpakpo, having been in town for this long there are still some social groups I’m yet to break into so meeting this dude and getting to meet his social group was a bonus. The interesting thing about this group was that they are fitness freaks and the group met because they’re all members of the main sports gym in Tamale which is the Tamale Sports Stadium Gym. Anybody that comes to town and corporate and needs to exercise ends up at that gym and there are events organized by the various clubs within the gym too to make members socialize. For some people this is their only socialization in the town.

Dear Kpakpo I keep telling you that Tamale is arguably the fastest developing town in Ghana and sometimes the rate of growth in getting at par with Accra is shocking. This is especially true with more people from Accra relocating up north so the need for the social amenities to match what exists in the south.

So I find myself attending parties and just hangouts with “big men” some movers and shakers in town and would you believe I discovered there is a badminton club in Tamale. As at the time of writing there is a tournament organized by Badminton clubs of the three regions hosted in Tamale and I’m enjoying the game.

Nii Kpakpo Thompson what most people don’t know is that I learnt to play badminton even before I learnt to play soccer. Badminton is my first ever sport and watching this tournament makes me realize that I need to make a comeback to the sport.

Having met the members of the Tamale Royal Badminton club and expressed interest in joining, they have given me the conditions of becoming a member and don’t be surprised to see me in some leotards either in the gym or representing Tamale in some badminton event nationwide.

Chale, on that note you should know that very soon we wont be coming to Accra for anything unless to visit family and friends. It is gradually becoming expensive to head down south anyway with the way the economy is going now but hey life still goes on.

Nii Kpakpo, Congrats on your own television show and I know we have just been handed another medium to do community and social advocacy.  Will come visit you in the studio when I’m invited.

Till I write my next missive I still remain

Your Cousin in Law,
Savannah Boy

Sabotage

Dear Nii Kpakpo, 

Chale I’m hearing stuff around and it’s pretty disturbing. This is not any different from our African nature of having PhDs especially when we’re not involved in something or we are not the executors.

You’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about. At least you should know I’m not talking about the academic PhD but rather the Pull Him Down syndrome we have as Africans.

Kpakpo it is this attitude we have as a people usually Africans to pull each other down when things are going well for our fellow men or humans. I know this is not new to anybody reading this because we have either participated in it or been victims of it. You’re doing something you think will benefit the larger community and some key people that you rely on wont come through for you with a certain aspect so you can get a bad name (usually with funded or sponsored projects) and then they try to salvage the situation and take the credit for it.

Several times when it has happened to me I haven’t bothered because at the end of the day I have benefited from the association to that project or even when I haven’t, the target group has and that’s where I have drawn my satisfaction.

Nii Kpakpo I’m sure you’re wondering again what triggered this article. I visited a home backyard livestock farm with a friend and seeing how this friend was asking me to use my social media to promote his friend’s business I was impressed. Furthermore, said friend was buying from this man to go start his own livestock farm in his backyard.

See the trend? This is selfless and gradually everybody stops depending on the other and the standard of living of the community improves.

Now to my main worry about what I’m hearing. Anyemi there are rumors that the local breeders of guinea fowls sabotaged the operations of the government SADA Guinea fowl growing project. I’ve heard this rumor but didn’t pay much heed to it until today.

Nii Kpakpo Thompson would you believe that the SADA project was to buy the local eggs from the farmers for the project but then due to lack of proper education the farmers believed that the government was trying to render them redundant and collapse their business so they protected themselves by boiling the eggs they sold to the government agents. What this did was to ensure that the eggs could never be properly incubated and hatched for the government project to take off. So government had all the equipment sitting there to start a lucrative project to benefit the whole region but for lack of proper orientation, project couldn’t take off because local farmers thought they were going to be rendered redundant.

Wow!

Anyemi! This is just a rumor but then what if it is true and knowing our kinda systems up here and our kinda attitudes anything is possible. For us to develop as a people we need to be each other’s keepers and go back to our communal systems where we even cared about future generations yet unborn.

Well I’ve said my piece and I just lid in wait to see where we are headed to. Lemme end here and sleep with my shock at just how callous we can be at some things.

Till I write to you again I still remain

Your Cousin in law
Savannah Boy

Presidential Ride

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

something pretty interesting happened on my way back from the basketball court this evening and it really gave me a sense of the kinda society we live in.

In the changing faces of transport in Tamale now, the preferred and most popular choice  of transport for the indigenes who live am reside in Tamale and its surrounding areas is either the “mahama kambuu” aka “yellow yellow” mainly for general commuters and for the commercial purposes the “motor king” which sometimes conveys not only goods but also the market women from the outskirts of Tamale into the metropolis itself.

Now all of a sudden te arrival of the fully air-conditioned presidential branded buses and even though they’re sparse and so far I’ve seen only four running the four main Tamale routes, the indigenes will not miss a chance for a ride in it especially when we’re in the heat season (36 degrees average) and it feels like a portal to hell has been opened somewhere in this town.

This evening the women had already piled themselves into a motorking ready to move when one of these branded buses almost empty just parked in front of them.  Come and see screaming and rushing for the driver to stop so they get onto the bus instead.  According to them the presidential ride was there to get them to their destination.

How they disembark jumping down from the motorking, for women, is another story on its own.

Kpakpo,  you people can sit in the capital and do your politics and talk all you want but to these local people, they’re riding in a presidential bus that takes them home after a hard day’s work.

After all all the former presidents have their photos on the bus too..

Till I write again
I still remain

Your Cousin in Law
Savanna Boy

STC Saga

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

As usual I have to travel on one of my weekend trips and the choice of which transport to use is a major headache around here. With the proliferation of transport companies on our roads now a simple journey which hitherto only involved getting to a station and getting a bus is not that simple anymore.

Most of these transport companies have packages for patrons to attract more passengers to them. Usually packages are tailored to suit client needs and also convenience.

Especially when you’re traveling from the savanna most of the buses such is OA, GH & (V)VIP leave in the evenings and drive through the night so that by morning, clients will be in Accra. Leaving after work hours in the savanna ensures that it is possible to report for work in Accra in the morning and go about any business.

There are other buses that also leave in the morning and these include Imperial Transport and our very own STC. They drive through the day and join in the traffic melee in Kumasi and subsequently Accra as their final destination.

Kpakpo our age old STC has proven over and over again to many a Ghanaian that state owned enterprises don’t thrive with mediocre services and constant disappointments. Gone were the days when the state’s transport company run on its ‘proper four tyres’ when we were in high school. Mention their name now and Ghanaians wont even give you a ‘tweaa’ but an ‘apuu’ which is a deeper sense of contempt. You’d be lucky that they wont even spit as they do in disgust as they do in some jurisdictions.

Anyemi as I’m writing this letter on a Thursday it must be coincidental that I’m sitting in the STC yard with a friend talking about the good old days when we get to the “transport yard” carrying yo trunk and chop box and you didn’t have to struggle for a ticket because some influential parents went up to the transport manager and got us a student bus that ‘dropped’ everyone in their respective schools in Cape Coast or in Takoradi.

Indeed! Those Setra buses were built like German tanks and we had absolute confidence in our drivers because sometimes we saw their training driving heavy fire tenders.

BUT NOW! LATELY!!

STC is a pale shadow  of itself and I like to think that only loyalists still take them for one reason or the other. One famous radio presenter friend of mine, a staunch vocal supporter of the company told me his final straw was when he traveled to Takoradi and when it was time to get back he went to the ‘transport yard’ to book a ticket to leave at 4pm but was told even as at 2pm that he got there that those who even booked for 11am were still in the station. There was no bus to convey them to Accra.

WHAT??  THIS IS INCREDULOUS!!  He screamed.

Kpakpo, he said the people looked at him like he was a raving lunatic. What kind of service is this that a bus scheduled to leave at 11am as at 2pm still hadn’t come.

Dude just picked his bags and walked across the street to take one of the Ford vans bound for Accra. Suffice it to say if STC was the last option he’d hire a rental car to his destination.

Nii Kpakpo Thompson just imagine what happened today. When I made enquiries I was told reporting time is 5am and you know the time I go to bed around 3am earliest so I decided to just reserve the ticket and not pay for it.  If I couldn’t redeem it then fine but if I made it too, all the better. So luckily a bad headache as a result of dusty allergies (went cleaning our new place, story for another time)had to go to bed a wee bit after 2am. You know your sister is a tickler for time so latest by half past 4 she’d started her usual wake Kola up routine of kicking me deliberately out of bed.  It is so uncomfortable and very annoying that no matter what you do you have to wake up. Took my shower, got dressed, lay by her side for a while, there was still more time, then she prayed for me and sent me on my way.

Kpakpo, the lady at the counter said reporting time was 5am and when I got in at a half past there was no bus. They were at it again I thought. Went out to get some koko breakfast, came back and still not bus. It was at the scheduled departure time that the bus arrived and started checking in passengers. Would you believe it was now that the lady at the counter had finished nipping her brows and browsing on her phone and was ready to check in passenger’s luggage. Kpakpo isn’t that what you do first even before you check in passengers on the bus?
Here every thing is reverse.

I’d bought my ticket and she didn’t have change and so she indicated that the outfit owed me ten cedis on the back of the ticket. Woman at counter says she wont give it to me cos other woman didn’t tell her anything before she went off duty. I was about to explode because here I was towering over a crowd of people trying to get their luggage tagged properly into the buses and you were taking money off them all but still  wont give me my change. Now she tried to call the other woman to make enquiries but I’m glad the line didn’t go through or they’d have got a piece of my sun baked brain even tho the sun was not out yet.

Nii Kpakpo not only did I have to contend wits the other passengers over their luggage claims but also had to contend for seat numbers that didn’t work. And here’s evidence of the result.

So another friend of mine is on leave and wants to spend some time.with his family. Books tickets to go but was later told when he got to station that bus had left earlier due to other factors and he gets to leave on this bus with me.  Whilst he’s trying to tag his bags we are at the counter when news comes that manager says there is an extra seat on the bus so they should fix somebody there. Order from Above syndrome. It needs to be obeyed. Dude gets on the bus and there is no seat for him. Remember he’s been transferred from the bus the day before that had left under “mysterious circumstances”.

Chale! Even the driver of the bus is peeved and goes to call the transport manager to sort the issue out. The manager, who had checked in the passengers explains to the “plus one” that the seat owner has been found so he has to vacate the seat but he  will have the option to still go if he’d sit on the small seat besides the driver. Just when he agrees and gets up to go my friend is waiting to take his seat when the transport manager asks if my friend, being a younger man can come to that small seat with leg cramp options but my friend blatantly refused to which he drew from the manager a few mutterings about children and lack of respect for old age.  Dude just sat in his seat. You don’t know his story so don’t tend to judge. He was very frustrated which is a trade mark of the STC.

Chale Kpakpo I can go on and on including the  worst travel story I’ve heard of one bus with a bad infestation of roaches.  I was told it got worse when that particular bus bound for Accra got to Ksi and an  inferior bug spray was used to try to exterminate them, only made them all come out to play. So I was telling my seat mate we’re only lucky to have mosquitoes on this bus as he gingerly chases one around and tries to kill it. Hope he gets it cos I think I’m already coming down with something that I hope this lone mosquito wont contribute to malaria.

Nii Kpakpo Thompson, well the drive is uneventful apart from the usual picking of passengers on the way and dropping them off on parts of the journey like the bus is a trotro. I’m not quite in a hurry but that is so typical of STC that you think it’s slow but you get to yo destination and you realize you are within the stipulated time range of the number of hours a bus is supposed to take on the road.

Anyemi it is pretty obvious what our famous STC has been reduced to –  a complete sham of its glory days, and they have let mediocrity become their byword but some of us will still ride the buses not only when it is convenient but for nostalgic purposes.

Kpakpo, wish me safe journey like your sister did. Will write to you again soon.

Till then I still remain

Your Cousin in Law
Savannah Boy

Parable of The Twins

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

I’ve been drumming it into you and the people down south’s head that the savanna is gradually catching up with the south and that marginalization that hitherto existed is gradually phasing off. Inasmuch as people down south still think we’re living  in a dusty grassland, the systems up here are fast evolving both socially and especially culturally. As for the infrastructure you’d be amazed at what has been achieved here.

Kpakpo, businesses are moving up here especially the private financial institutions and even schools. With most people down south looking for relocation destinations, Tamale is setting itself up strategically to accommodate the people from the south with whatever they’re bringing, even their taste buds, in whatever – food, fashion, housing, you name it.

But that is just by the way. Recently a native of the savanna who happens to be a minister was accused of over spending on an event be when put in a spot he quoted a savanna proverb that caused the first shock wave this new year. Kpakpo we’re not counting the “Guantanamo fuo wo krom” because that one is a carry on from last year.

Nii Kpakpo Thompson but the man is right in what he said and I quote:

“You don’t threaten a woman who has given birth to twins with a big dick.”  (Dagomba proverb)
– Haruna Idrisu, Ghanaian Minister of State, January 2016.

Any3mi it is important to understand the cultural background of this proverb to really see its true meaning. What a mother of twins has to go through to be accepted by Dagomba society. http:// https://letterstokpakpo.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/begging-twins/

So you see, the minister blurted it out on one of the leading radio stations to the shock and chagrin of listeners, is proof that our cultures and society are gradually merging. Had it been an akan proverb I’m sure there wouldn’t be too much fuss or even a Swahili proverb. But that it is from the north and the mode and circumstances under which it was delivered ensured its being a knockout punch.

Kpakpo, there are more proverbs with equally heavy punchlines and I have a feeling that this year being an election year (don’t pronounce it like you’re from the golden state) we’d hear more. Our cultures are merging and the gap is reducing considerably. Ghana as a nation is going to realize its full potential as the black star of Africa.

I still have hope.

Lemme end here Kpakpo and will write again to keep you up to speed on events in the savanna.

I still remain
Your Cousin in Law
Savannah Boy.