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Month: January 2011

Corrupt Conductors Conniving to Cheat!…

Road from Kumasi to AccraImage by acameronhuff via Flickr
So last weekend, Obed Sarpong of “Ready to Chew” gave me a copy of Ayi Kwei Armah‘s “The Beautiful Ones are not yet Born.  In the beginning chapter, a corrupt conductor confesses, albeit subconsciously to cheating his passengers.  I was successfully grossed out in that chapter (and the following one), especially by the actions of the equally disgusting driver against “The Man”, whose sole crime is falling asleep in the bus.
Today’s post isn’t about the book, however.  I haven’t finished it yet.  Multiple tasks at work and elsewhere have had me so busy that chapter three is as far as I’ve made it.  I’m not going to rant about how horrible it is, for me not to wrap it up, especially as I’d usually be done in less than two hours but I will say that I will finish it before the next week begins (I need some me time).
It’s really sad that corruption still runs rampant in Ghana today.  Things have changed since Independence and yet people still find it necessary to lie and cheat their way out of their so called poverty.  Disabled persons who have been trained by the “Ghana Federation for the Disabled” refuse to practice their crafts and prefer to litter the streets.  One cured leper (at least I hope she’s cured) hangs about the National Theatre, thumping her stump (for want of a better word.  it’s 4am and I can’t think) against private car and taxi windows to demand money.  Not only does she bang incessantly on the glass, but she hurls insults and curses at you when you refuse to hand over money. SMH.
A seemingly blind man approaches my car and even without my uttering a word greets me with “My daughter, good morning.”  Eii!  With my windows rolled up, how did you know I was a woman?  And a daughter at that! I sincerely doubt that he was able to smell my perfume.  How sad does one have to be to pretend to be blind?  Before someone jumps on my neck, I’ll say this now.  There was no one standing next to him.  This was on the flag staff road and he was all alone. My perfume must have been really strong for it to permeate glass, plastic and metal. Or he’s the ghanaian version of the daredevil.  You take your pick.
Even when the avenues are created for the less fortunate to make a little something of themselves, it seems the need to stick it to the man overwhelms the desire to fend for oneself.  It saddens me every time I recall a friend’s story about how her father offered  a Chadian woman a job so she could take her children off the street.  Would you believe the woman run her finger on her skin then on his and asked if he was right in the head?  That “how can I come and work for you, a slave?”  And yet she was okay with standing by the road with her kids and begging that slave for money.  
What is this country and the world for that matter heading for? There are people willing to help, and yet someone sits somewhere and decides that they are above a type of work.  Sad thing is, I know how my friend feels cuz my own dad had a similar response when he offered to help one of them (eugh I hate using that term, “one of them”.  Generalisation is awful! Hopefully you get that it’s not my intent). After getting such an answer, you pretty much feel like dirt and that it’s not worth the effort to help anyone at all.  This is what happens when we let this evil fester in us.  It becomes a dog eat dog world, with everyone looking out for themselves.
Now why am I so pissed off?  Well I went to visit a friend at Spintex.  I knew the place to be “Flowerpot Junction” Not having a car anymore, I chose to save money and take a tro tro instead of a taxi.  The tro tro to the Accra Mall was no problem but I’ve only driven to that area like twice and had no idea what the stops were called.  My friend told me to tell them I was going to Junction, so I did and paid 55p for the trip from the station to “junction”.  Now it soon became clear that junction was farther away than my actual stop.  The lady next to me had said she was going to flowerpot and I realised her stop was the same as mine.  She told me the fare to flowerpot was 40p. So we both alerted the mate (conductor) and as i got out of the car, I asked for my change.  The mate slapped something into my hand and before I could raise my head, the tro tro shoved off.  What was in my palm? A 5p coin.
I had been swindled!  Me!  The Darling Daixy!  
I’m still amazed.  It’s not the fact that he took my 10p.  Bah to heck with that.  It’s only going to buy me water.  Not enough to get me gum even, and yet it still rankles.  Just because he realised I did not know where the junction was, he’d pilfered my hard earned 10p.  That’s what annoys me ; being underestimated and written off as some foolish newbie who does not and will never know the ways of the street.  I felt (and still do) violated and insulted.  A girl steps out of her comfort zone (what business do I have in the Spintex Area? eh) and the first thing that happens is someone takes advantage of her?  I’m really getting tired of this.  Stuff keeps happening that digs me deeper into my jaded shell.  Soon, there’ll be none of the humanity left in me, just a spectre with a strong conviction that she must never be taken advantage of. Much like the rest of the nation is becoming. 
As though I wasn’t bad enough.  LOL
~Daixy~

*tro tro: mini van for public transport

The Ghanaian Engine That…

Turned Lil’ Miz Daixy Into a Giggling Idiot.
So a couple of Months ago, my buddy Tetekai over at Lyrix Chronicles wrote about “Wanting a TsooTsoo Train”.  She bemoaned the lack of what we’ve come to recognise as a “proper train”.  Thanks to our childhood books and cartoons/movies, a lot of us (myself inclusive) seem to think of trains as engines with carriages; ergo the disappointment at seeing a ratty old cargo train.
Well, I’ve already said this to her, but can’t keep from telling everyone else that I saw a real live choo choo train! 
So umm….a friend kidnapped me Friday evening to go get my hair fixed at “Melon Salon” at Dzoworlu (you really need to check this place out).  Let’s just say, I really needed a proper trim.  Anywho, I was waiting for my turn when I heard this alarm and ignorant moi, asked “what the heck’s going on out there?”  Well, my buddy just turns to me and says, “Oh that’s just the train”. 
Just the train? Just the train?!!! Never in my entire life living in Ghana, have I ever seen a train.  Not even the snarly cargo thing that Tetekai saw. So what did this grown woman do?  I ran out of the salon to stand by the roadside, yelling for him to grab a camera.  Lo and behold, there really was a train and it was loading passengers.  “The train moves to and from Tema” my friend says and all the while, I’m asking ridiculous questions he can’t possibly answer.  “How long has it been running?” “You mean to say it’s been running since we were kids?” “Oh my gosh, how big is it? How fast can it go?” I was truly blown away by the fact that Accra has a running “train”. This one, in fact.
Yes, I waited out there for the train to finish loading and then watched it finally pull out.  I counted six (6) carriages! Did I mention I was holding my friend’s hand the whole time? (Poor guy didn’t get why I was so excited, lol) My mind must have swapped with that of a four year old or something because I really did giggle, gasp and laugh with obvious glee as the red, gold and green worm snaked it’s way out of my sight.
And then I called Tetekai to scream about it, like the excited schoolgirl I am inside!  It didn’t end there though.  While pinned under the good old comb and scissors, the train passed by on it’s way from Tema.  I forgot to ask where in Accra it ends.  You’d think I’d have my fill of trains after that, right?  No way!  As we were driving from Dzoworlu into Osu, we were stopped right before the train tracks.  Why? The train was passing through, AGAIN on its way to Tema.  Of course, that had me on the phone once more, rubbing it into poor Tetekai’s face (or ears, if you will) that I’d seen a real train.
I’m not joking about this.  Forget the subways in New York and such that I’ve seen and been on, I have NEVER set eyes on any sort of train in Ghana  (unless you count the kiddie trains at the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park).  
Now all that remains for me to do is take a ride on Accra’s CHOO CHOO TRAIN!!!
Happy New Year!!!
~Daixy~
PS. I know it’s so very American of me to say “choo choo” instead of “tsoo tsoo” but until I heard Keteke’s Tsoo Tsoo in 2000, I had no idea ghanaians called it that lol.