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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

Comments

comments

20 Comments

  1. I really begin to see the correlation between the book and the real Ghana (smh)

    January 21, 2011
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  2. Mike
    Mike

    A part of me couldn’t help but have a quiet laugh reading this, then it dawned on me that I’d be the sucker in a few weeks when I’m confronted with the sad reality that I have no idea what anything costs in Ghana. Anything!
    As for panhandling, I mastered saying no and ignoring people growing up in Accra, so that should come in handy. You need to perfect a don’t-fuck-with-me look.

    January 21, 2011
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  3. Typical Ghanaian selfishness @ work. We all have it

    January 21, 2011
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  4. @ Mike It IS funny isn’t it? I can’t wait to laugh at your misadventures when you come down 😛

    I’m too sweet. I don’t care how mean I can be, but I blush and smile at every turn and it’s so not helpful when I’m trying to deliver a “bugger off” look. Ask anyone that knows me. I have a very expressive face. They can see that I feel sorry for them and feel some degree of shame for having a more cushy life. 🙁

    January 21, 2011
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  5. @terrarist, dude you are SO NOT a selfish Ghanaian. If anything, you and your friends are some of the most selfless people I have ever met and I am blessed to know you.

    That mate though, I’m not thinking nice thoughts about him and poor guy better be on the lookout for ninjas lol

    January 21, 2011
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  6. Glad the passion is being staired up. Not knowing the names of the stops gets me laughing dear. hehehehehe

    January 21, 2011
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  7. Next time take your change before you get off the trotro.
    🙂
    Sorry D

    January 21, 2011
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  8. @Obed, I don’t know the area. Have no business there, unlike Abeka and Cantonments/Osu…maybe I should stick to my usual haunts and quit trying to discover new places. Like Dansoman 😮

    January 21, 2011
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  9. @Tetekai, Sis, If I can help it, I’ll never be in the situation again. It’s not that I didn’t know to collect the change beforehand, but that the realisation was just as we got to the place. did i mention the van was so small that even bent over, my head was touching the ceiling? My back was screaming for me to get down and stretch 🙁

    Hopefully this is a first and last to my being cheated by anyone ever again. Knowing the way life just loves to kick me in my non-existent man bits, it’s bloody unlikely! rofl

    January 21, 2011
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  10. Mike
    Mike

    Daixy- don’t take this the wrong way, but how can you live in Accra and not know (vague assumption) Dansoman? I could understand if you said Tsokor, Bukom, Nima, etc. I’m almost offended. I could wager I still know every inch of Dansoman. miss exhibition ..sigh 🙁

    January 22, 2011
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  11. Mike, I know there’s a place called dansoman. visited an aunt there when i was nine. But I do not know how to get to Dansoman. I have no business there, much like tsokor and bukom and such.

    Even places i used to haunt, like Osu, have changed. I still get lost in East Legon and Tema is a maze for me. I just go to the fishing harbour then back home. I don’t know many other places there.

    I know parts of Bubuashie now, because that has become my Domedo (pork) base. But I’ve never been there by trotro and shudder at the thought of trying to figure out the stops. It’s like I know Accra by sight (my sense of direction and proportions is zero)

    Forgive me for being antisocial, but it’s really true. My life has been school, home, and nothing else. I don’t visit friends, keep to myself and aside from the market and makola, you rarely find me out on the town 😛 Trying to change that though

    January 22, 2011
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  12. Mike
    Mike

    “I know there’s a place called Dansoman” [gasps]I almost chocked on my tea. I’m tempted to get personal, but I’m hoping to save that energy for when I, the “foreigner” get to tease you about where you don’t know in Accra. So if I drove you out to Korle and dropped you off, you wouldn’t know how to get around? You almost remind me of my lil’ sis and how she was driven everywhere by our driver. Did you grow up that way? I have so much to learn about your social milieu.

    ps- your stalkerish location app is a bit creepy

    January 22, 2011
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  13. @ Mike, go ahead and laugh. In the beginning, it was over-protective folks who never let me go anywhere without them. The result was, I only got to places when they (or my brothers drove me). Even then, we never went past Osu. That was till I got to JSS.

    And then, I became pretty much reclusive and just never bothered going out (even when I was invited out). I just didn’t need to see people. My books and computer were enough for me. If I was always driven around, and was visiting people, at least I’d know these places, no?

    And what do you mean about me not knowing how to get around? I know korle bu. It’s good enough. And I know a few places. I got to know the Darkoman area cuz my late grandad lived there and being the funeral coordinator, I made constant trips to and from the place. This is not a case of being dadabee and not knowing how to take a trotro. It’s a case of a recluse finally sticking her neck out of her hermitage. Whether I drive myself, or take a taxi/trotro/train, I’m still going to need to ask for directions.

    I’d like to take you into Makola and show you paces like Canovan Avenue, where I buy my baking goods. I’ve been walking in Makola since I was seven. Even my non dadabee friends who tease me about not knowing Accra, have no idea there’s such a place. I’m the person you take to makola when you need to get things for cheap (and NOT second hand). Trust me, when I need to know an area, I know it very well. Let me have a client in Sakumono and you’ll be surprised how quickly I’ll learn the layout of the land 😛

    PS. Tell me you just happen to know the dansoman area in and out and not because you have friends who live there or something. It’s like, you know the streets of tsokor when you’ve never ever visited someone there. Scoff if you must, but don’t be unfair.

    January 22, 2011
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  14. Mike
    Mike

    LOL Take me to Makola? Ha! That was my back to school shopping. I could meander endless mazes with mom with kaaya ye in tow and vendors who seemed to know her a bit too well. Dansoman was home. I could see and walk to the edge of Pambros from home and occasional runs to the beach a mile away. Also lived in Alajo, Kokomlemle, and was around when Spintex was still a needless and dusty industrial area…when Sankara was still Sankara, and when Labadi became La. Yes, I’m old (not that old). Yes, I’m a tease. I was just amazed you didn’t know much about one of the biggest enclaves in Accra.

    January 22, 2011
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  15. @Daixy – I’m glad you wrote this and not me! lol

    @Mike – you would be surprised how many Ghanaians don’t know what is around the corner from them! I discovered this when I first came and was exploring. People often don’t know the names of places so when I asked for a certain venue, no one knew about it. I look forward to reading your adventures on your blog. And people who live in Tema don’t seem to know anywhere else!(waiting for the fall out from that comment)

    January 24, 2011
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  16. @ Mike, maybe you should give me a reason to visit one of the biggest enclaves in Accra 😛

    @ Graham, I KNOW, right? Welcome back suga. I’m still waiting for my buns 😉

    January 24, 2011
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  17. Mike
    Mike

    @Daixy a reason? ok. I’ll find several as soon as I get back. you just be ready to step out of your bubble.

    @Graham I, too, look forward to chronicling my first year back in Accra- and I won’t hold back (I’m already twiddling my fingers)!

    January 25, 2011
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  18. 😀 I can’t wait. I like bubbles. They make exploration all the more fun 😉

    January 26, 2011
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  19. lol,

    Voda IS a pain. I’ve moved on to expresso 😉

    My mom has been running round Makola for over 40 yrs and she’s been really good about teaching me the turns and corners in the place. Same for the parts of Accra we needed to know. I need to visit soon. Low on supplies. One of these days, Enyo,you and I are gonna have to step into my bakery.

    As for the mates, I’m ignoring them these days and getting rides from friends, or walking to where I need to go.

    February 9, 2011
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  20. E go be. When fuel prices go up, it becaomes a field day for commercial drivers and their mates.

    February 10, 2011
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