Sometimes, I just want to go back to London, where everything functions well. There is a constant flow of water, electricity. I can walk into Tesco and Sainsbury’s and buy decently priced food. I don’t have to worry about buying a gas cylinder for my cooker because British Gas sees to that, and if customer service is bad, at least it’s the equal opportunities type, the person is a real ****(I’m too much of a lady to say how I feel) and for the most part, people keep to time and if there is going to be a delay, at least they would have the decency to call/text/BB you that they are going to be late, and people don’t expect that you should tip them as they know how hard even £1 is to come buy. But then I think to myself, I send someone to buy me Waakye (rice and beans) from the roadside, the guy who works at the hotel opposite my office washes my car for free at most GHS2, I go out with the guys and don’t pay for a drink as guys don’t take money from girls (they are friends, dating or are family anyway). I can tell my boss I am going to the bank and if I come back 3 hours later I can just blame it on the traffic. I have bought a house for $60,000 which is the equivalent of about £45,000 which would not get me a garage or even a garden shed right now in London. Both countries have it’s pros and cons, I’ve done 31 years of London lets see how it goes.
One thing that gripes me about Ghana however is their treatment of single women. It’s almost like a taboo if you are a female at a certain age and are not married. They think to themselves either your a prostitute, lesbian or have some kind of mental disconnection and treat you accordingly. The first thing they ask is “is your husband around”, if the answer is no, then they think it is a chance to sleep with you or cheat you, depending on their social standing. The other thing as you know is customer service skills, it’s like zero, once in a while you might get really good customer service. Which is why I go to the same coffee shop and same hairdressers if they are closed than I will wait until they are open or I go home. The service is really fantastic, the waitresses are first class and the service is quick, the hairdressers actually listen to what you say, the style you want is the style you get and they don’t look at the tip you leave them like “is that all” (which happened to me when I went to a very overpriced Salon where I didn’t get the cut I wanted and the lady said she didn’t have a blade to do my eyebrows so wax or come back another day, even though the salon was above a supermarket). The difference is that these two establishments are owned by ladies who had lived a substantial amount of time in the UK. They make sure that their workers give the treatment to the customer that they have received and if you dare come to work looking like you haven’t been paid in months and put your frustration out on the customer, you give bad service or your sitting around chatting while the customers order is on the counter. You are out.
The past two days have really tested my patience to the wall. I have finally fixed the security doors on my gate. Firstly they were supposed to come on Wednesday, I call to confirm and the girl tells me no it’s Saturday. I tell her that I confirmed the week before that it would be on Wednesday, we argue, she checks and truly, truly (her words) it’s Wednesday written down. No apology, she just tells me that she has told the guys to get to mine as I had taken the day off for this (like she was now doing me a favour). The allocated time was 9.30am to do both the front and back door, they turned up at 1pm. There was an apology, but then it took them 4 hours to complete just the front door. It’s 5pm they say after that, we are closed for the day, I ask about the back door. “Well we will do tomorrow”. Firstly if there had been a man there they would have done the work they were supposed to instead of chatting about the latest song to be released and had they come at the time they were supposed to it would have been done. That’s when I went mad, I called their boss, the Technnical Manager, a Ghanaian, instead of him to calm the situation down. The Technical Manager had originally supposed to come and inspect the house and see whether the work could be completed that day, however this would mean the driver who had bought the boys to my house, going to pick him up and bringing him over (too posh to push) which would mean another 2 hours wasted with all the traffic building up for the rush hour. He rather decided to make it worse, first he tells me that the car broke down, he didn’t think to report it to the boss or call me to tell me even though he had my number. Then he started raising his voice as mine got louder saying “look Madam, we cannot complete today and we can come back tomorrow (because I have the privilege of wasting time by not being at work to do the job I have been paid to do) which is when his boss took the phone (a non-Ghanaian) took the phone. The non-Ghanaian had paid attention to his Customer Service skills class, after apologising profusely and assuring me that the boys would be there first thing in the morning, I finally calmed down. What could I do, the situation couldn’t change. The thing I was worried about was my job, already I had been in and out since the break-in trying to sort things out and then falling sick. There is only so many times you can use the fact that you are trying to sort out since the break-in as an excuse. I had left the office the day before with 284 unread emails plus those that I had filed away in the May 2011 file on my pst to sort out. It’s what I’m paid to do, have to go back to it at some point and it would be better rather than another 284 emails later.
So the next day I wait for the boys to come back, I was assured before 9am they got to the house at 9.45, well better than 4 hours later I suppose. I said I would leave them in the house and they should call me when they were done, I was told it would be a 2 hour job. I also had the welders in to fit some iron bars on my windows, these two boys were a pain. On the first day I took one of the boys to his house to collect his tools, now he thought I would be his personal taxi-driver and just kept leaving stuff in the house and asking me to take him there. The first time I did, the second time I made him take a taxi, the third time, he took a taxi together. Some people think they are smarter than the whole world, these two boys are the perfect example.
It got to 11.30 and I had to get to the office so I left them in the care of my carpenter who does my handy work and left. Afterall, everything that was worth stealing was either already gone or in my bag so what was the point. They finally finished at 3pm and I had to miss a meeting to go get my key (boss although hasn’t said anything yet, is sure to make a sarcastic comment at some point before the week is out I’m sure). If I had been in the house I would have wasted another 24 hours. I don’t know why exactly they took so long, I am sure it is because finishing at that time meant that it would be too late to start another job elsewhere.
I get there, the welder boys are still there, although my aunt is paying for the job and will be invoiced, they were waiting for “something chop”. I gave them GHS10 which included the transport back to their office, I am sure they were cursing me but they don’t think my salary pays my mortgage buys my food and runs the house. They just see a house which is mine and a car which is also mine, therefore, I must have money. So after giving the guys fixing the door a lecture on time keeping which went in one ear out of the other, paying the carpenter and giving something small to the mason to put some blocks between the window and the door so that a thief cannot put his hands through the window to get to the back door (this was supposed to be part of the company’s job but became an extra cost to get someone else to do it as they pleaded ignorance). I am now left with about GHS10 and some change to my name. While the rest are a combined total of GHS50. Ahh well, at least my doors are now secure so I will be able to rest easy tonight.
Still praying for better days….