It was mum’s birthday yesterday. 64 years old, she has aged gracefully, not a wrinkle in sight, she does look good for her age. I got her a silver bracelet “it makes a change from gold” she says, I’ll take it as a thank you.
Yesterday might as well have been Friday 13th, it was just one bad mishap after another. There was a dark cloud looming above my head, no sooner did I turn on my engine, there was a torrential downpour. When it rains in Ghana, it makes up for those summer days. It makes the weather cooler but that’s about all that I can say that is positive, you can’t even put your umbrella up as the rains are just too heavy for it to shelter you. My car wipers were on full speed but yet still I could barely see the road in front of me. So I crawled my way to the office and so did the other road users. An hour and a half later I got to a traffic lights which turns into the junction of my office. The lights were about to turn red but I went anyway. That’s when I was flagged down by the police man. “You passed a red light, I’m taking your details and issue you with a caution to the MTTU. I was already late and in no mood to argue, he wanted a “donation” any, so I checked my purse, it had to be the day when I only had a 20 in my purse. I hand it over, he then stops traffic while I reverse to get into my office. Ghana police, they stop you to enforce the law, but you can pay them to break it too.
After my dalliance with Ghana’s finest, I got into the company car to go to Tema. There is a motorway that can get you from Accra to Tema in 20 minutes, but as I said, it rained, with the rain, crazy driving and unnecessary accidents. It took an hour to get to the destination, on the way we met an overturned truck. The driver was crying like a baby with his hands on his head, he and what looked like workers had got into an accident and the car swerved into a ditch. This is a country where it is very necessary to have a car in good stead, but you will find vehicles which in the west would not only not pass the MOT but would only be fit for scrap. Yet still this truck was on the road, the workers sitting in the back, no seatbelt, just there. It didn’t look like they were hurt but were in need of medical attention. I have seen a handful of ambulance’s in my time, but if you call the emergency services, the first thing they would ask is if you had the cash to pay them to take you to the hospital. The response time is also questionable, and so it is even better if you flag down a taxi. If you wonder why Ghanaians are so religious it takes an accident like this to really believe. It is only God who can help in these situations because man is simply looking for a quick buck.
On the other side of the lane, a heavy duty long vehicle had crashed into a ditch on the other side. These drivers. There cars are no good, the weather is bad, but still they drive as if they are riding a Ferrari, then they are stunned when they get into such accidents. Whether it is them alone, or if they are riding with passengers, they don’t mind, for this reason, although I hate driving, I am happier to drive myself. When you sit in such vehicles, it is like your life is held to ransom by these irresponsible drivers until you reach your destination.
We got to Tema just in time, however black man’s time of course we started late, all this technology, microsoft outlook which sets a reminder to tell you that the meeting time is due, yet still people can’t make it in on time for a meeting. What gets on my nerves even more is that I managed to make it in from Accra to get there on time and people who are 2 offices away can’t even make it on time. We finally got together when the planned fire drill happened. Ok, expected to go out, we do a head count and go back in. No, this was a full on demonstration. A fire truck arrived and an ambulance (although it would have been of more use on the motorway). The fire service guys did a full on demo with a fire extinguisher, unfortunately the first one they used was defunct, the second one could not put out the fire but it was a case of third time lucky.
It did get me thinking. In london a fire alarm is sufficient, but here, not only must a household have a fitted alarm but a fire extinguisher also. First of all, we don’t go by road signs but by landmarks. In the time you have explained where your location is, your house may burn to a crisp. I have a fire extinguisher in my car but not in the house, I will ensure to get one because you never know and this is a country with limitless possibilities.
By lunchtime, the demo was over, meeting was over and back to Accra. Another round of meetings (of which nobody turned up, all I will say is black folk tut). Then I finally get to my deskl when the network went down. It was already 5.30 and I took it as a sign to go home, fortunately the lights were on so it was an episode of vampire diaries and then bed.
The night went and another day begins. When I look up at the sky it as if the rain never came, another hot sunny day in Accra. Off to work to see what drama has evolved over night.