I love Ghana, I love the hot sun, I love the fresh fruit, I love watching the people, they are so animated and everything is said with passion (especially after they have had a few beers). What I don’t like is the traffic in Accra and anything that involves a service.
I find that when white foreigners are being given a service, the locals tend to go back 200 years, it feels like the slaves and the colonial master scenario except this time it is self-inflicted slavery. A Ghanaian will run around in circles trying to please the master, they are served first, they are given the best possible service, but a fellow Ghanaian, it is like you are bothering them even if you are paying for the particular service (and will probably tip more). As a ‘foreign’ Ghanaian it’s even worse, you get bad service, plus they feel like you have a money tree growing in your back yard so are entitled to cheat you out of yours.
Another thing is, in Ghana, it is still a man’s world. If you are an unmarried woman then forget about it. When I am with a male cousin and we are in a shop or anywhere that a service is being offered. They always speak to him even though I am the one with the funds. If I am barganing the cost is always three times more but with a male a more realistic cost is given. My house for instance, the first question asked by the estate manager or anyone I have asked to do work in the house is ‘where is your husband’. Like I am not conscious enough already that I am single that they just want to rub salt into my wounds.
There was an incident at the bank once. My branch is at head office at Ridge in the Centre but I went to the East Legon branch which is closer. I did not have my cheque book so asked for a withdrawal slip. The first assistant told me to go and ask another the other assistant on the other side of the banking hall (I guess it was too much trouble from him to get up from his seat). I kept calm though and went and took the slip. I was told it was a GHS 2 charge I said fine. I get to the teller, he takes the slip and says to me “where is your cheque book”, that’s when the irritation set in. I tell him that it is written on the slip that I am waiting for my cheque book. He says “have you done your follow ups”. I tell him, “my friend I haven’t got time for this nonsense, you have the slip just process the thing”.
Second example I ask for a quotation for the paving on a small plot of land, he gives me an exorbitant estimate. Then the gentleman realizes that I am actually a Ghanaian and I understand the Twi language (language spoken in the Ashanti Region). He tells me, na wo ti twi ana wo ma mi bre saa (you understand twi and you make me so tired like that, meaning speaking English was too tiring for him). He then gave me a less exorbitant estimate but still high as I am sure he was under the assumption that I would go to ‘abrokyire’ (term used for any country abroad) to go get the money. I was very sad when I had asked my cousin to talk to the guy to try and beat the price down but for some reason he didn’t (I love my cousin but things are done at his convenience and not yours, but it’s the same with my dad and most of the men in the family). It took a while for me to beat the price down but I managed to get it down to something I could afford, and then my place gets burgled.
Long time awaited – excellent reading so far. Ghana’s not too different for the bold repatriate from, say, anywhere on the Indian subcontinent.