Image 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
*tro tro: mini van for public transport