Got in to the office today at 6.15 this morning and then found a corner for me to get some shut eye, were I slept until 8.15, got myself my morning fix of Kose which has accompanied my herbal tea. I really need to stop with the kose, for 1GHS I get a sizeable amount and I sit in my corner and chew away, I don’t offer although I don’t hoard, if anyone wants one, it is there for the taking, but it is better I just give up altogether. It is an addiction, I take one and I keep going, then I tell myself, tomorrow I will fast, but I don’t. Now I can feel an extra layer of fat on my sides, and my jean button is pressed against my button. I really must change my eating habits.
Yesterday I wasn’t well, which is the reason I didn’t blog. I had a terrible night so much so that I miss both alarms that went of at 5, dismissed the 6 o’clock alarm and ended up finally opening my eyes at 8 o’clock. So on the phone to the boss to say I was not coming in, before I got into the bath. That’s when smother came into the room to moan about something before telling me that I don’t go to work these days, why? I say telling and not asking because it sounded more like an accusation than a question, so I didn’t answer, and she wasn’t really concerned, it sounded more annoyed, like I had spoilt her plan, I said nothing and acted as if I was getting ready for work. I could not tell her that I was not well, even though it was very visible on my face, she is too busy bitching about the world to notice anything like that unless you tell her. I stay at home as I would get very little rest so I went I planned to go to my cousins house around the corner which I would hibernate there until a reasonable time to come home. She said she wanted to go to the bank and I should drop her at the mall. It was 9am and we were on the road, when she asked what time does the bank open. I said I don’t know, I was about to say maybe around 8.30 when she interupted me and said ‘oh come on don’t tell me you don’t know’. So I asked her why she didn’t know. Hasn’t she been to the bank before, she said she had been but not to this branch, so I asked her ‘and what time did it open’, she said she didn’t know, but that’s not the point she said, because she doesn’t live here but I do. Now she has been here a good 3 months and goes to the bank almost every day, I on the other hand, only go in when the ATM machines are not working and most of the time it is during the lunch break, but as I live here, I should know the opening times of every shop and bank in Ghana (she has a habit of asking me if I know certain shops in Ghana even though they could be on the other side of town). I just decided to ignore and drive, afterall we only had 10 minutes for this discussion and if I went into one with here it could take hours.
I arrived at my cousin’s house just before 10, my intention was to relax the whole day, he had having a naming ceremony for his newborn baby girl so it was just left a friend of his from London in the house. The friend was my cousin’s former landlord in the days when he was a colleague student, and was bumming his way through London on vacations working for his “chop money” once he got back to school. The guys had got home late the previous night, as I was using his house as a hideout I was to take this guy for breakfast. No problem I thought, he was probably extremely tired still, I would take him out for breakfast and then come back to the house and sleep. Yeah right!
There is a certain type of Ghanaian. They have been in London for a very long time, 10, 15, 20 years, and since they moved to London, they have not returned to Ghana since. However, you would not even realize that they had been away so long. In fact, if you met them on the streets you would think that they had just arrived at Heathrow that morning. They live in Hackney, Dalston, Brixton and all the “hams” East Ham, Streatham, Peckham, Tottenham etc.. They live in the same community and work in occupations where other Ghanaians work, so they spend there days speaking vernacular. Hence, although they have lived in UK as they have not really surrounded themselves with other nationalities so comprehension of the English language is not advanced. They wear garish coloured designer clothing for which you wonder what the designer was thinking when they designed such a garment. They live in a council flat, but have all the top gadgets, 42″ TV which takes up half the living room, with surround sound and SKY TV. On a Friday night you will meet them at the local Ghanaian restaurant, I don’t know which ones are the top ones now but back then it was Afrikiko and The Golden Stool but they are always popping up and closing down, the latter mainly because someone with a grudge has called the police and told them that drugs were being sold on the property. The police raids are not good for business, not because of the association with drugs but a lot of the clients do not have their papers and want to go out for a drink without fear of getting deported.
I have not really had much interaction with these Ghanaians because my parents came in during the 70s, in those days Ghanaians pretty much kept themselves to themselves. While my parents do go to the social events (mainly funerals), our area when we moved was mainly an obroni neighbourhood but in recent times has a large Asian population. I did however get to meet these people when about 4 years ago. One of my cousins and his then girlfriend opened a Ghanaian bar/restaurant called Gye Nyame, the owner had died and so the children rented out the premises. I used to help out in the bar, I didn’t get paid, but I just loved to go there for the sheer entertainment of it all and the free food. I eventually stopped after I started gaining too much weight from all the fried yam and turkey tail. That however, was for a few hours on a Friday or Saturday night. Yesterday I got to spend the whole day with this character named “Bra Mike”.
Bra Mike lives just outside London where he managed to get a couple of council flats. He lives in one with his live in girlfriend, their two children and her eldest son from a previous relationship. This is the first time he had come to Ghana in 20 years. He works for River Island, I know this because he told me a thousand times, he also said he wants to go into business with me selling River Island goods. The Jeans he was modeling wer £45. I told him, nobody would pay the equivalent here. He still wants to go into business selling womans clothing and ‘he will sort me out with River Island goods’, I say I hear. Anyway, things hadn’t been going too well with Mama, the girlfriend for a while. She doesn’t work and he pays all the bills, takes care of the children, while she basically just watches African movies all day. Bra Mike’s mother decided 7 years ago that she will get him a wife. So she came down to Ghana, found a girl, a bottle of schnapps and a couple of quid and the traditional marriage was arranged. He is 47, the girl is 28, they have not met but I guess they have speaking on the phone every day. However, this girl too doesn’t work either. He sends her £250 every month as well as goods to sell of which he said to take half and leave him half for when he comes down. She tells him that the goods are not selling and basically pockets the money. He buys everything for her even her panties (I know TMI but his words, not mine) but it seems that she thinks she’s found herself a cash cow so doesn’t need to work. He says he would have liked to have brought her to England a long time ago but she is not helping, but then through the talking he thinks maybe she should come down and see how hard the money is to come by (well it will definitely be so if you are running two homes). Me thinking he would be tired, had already started on the bottle of wine that he and my cousin had opened the night before, he really wasn’t too bothered about breakfast but around 1pm I guess he needed to fill his stomach with something so we went out for lunch. We went to Luscious Temptations for lunch in the A & C square. I decided to go for something of the Indian meal. I had eaten the lasagne there once but was not so impressed and when I went with Giles he had the seafood platter but was not impressed with that either. The food wasn’t fantastic but it was edible, I picked a dish similar to a Mutton buna (forgot the spelling) which was quite nice but could have done with a bit more spices, we also had tandoori chicken, ok, wasn’t thrilling though, no spice and looked a bit too processed, both dishes could have had a bit more meat and less sauce I would have thought. I wasn’t too impressed with the fried rice but the rest of the sauce later with boiled rice and it tasted much better. Bra Mike enjoyed it though, but I can tell he is more an alcohol and fags man, food just comes in to fill the gap.
We brought the food home, even though I was being reinburst for taking this guy out for lunch, the way he was knocking them back in the morning, I couldn’t afford overpriced wine. So we bought a bottle of wine from the shop in the mall and a couple of boxes of kingsize and went home. After he had eaten, tiredness must have kicked in. It was about 3.30 and he decided to take a nap this finally gave me the opportunity to sleep, I slept through Eastenders, Days of our lives and Bold and the Beautiful. One of those rare times I get to watch my soaps, and I sleep through it all, unbelivable!. At around 5.30 I open my eyes, Bra Mike had not long since woken up and was headed for the fags and the wine and outside. I made the mistake of going outside and he was off again. The dilema with the girlfriend and the wife, added to that stories on his experiences in Nigeria (he lived there for 6 years), more on the Mrs saga. Then he told me some stories of things that had happened to people in London. There was one which was quite sad. A Ghanaian guy, must have been quite elderly, went to pick a wife in Ghana. His mother or somebody went over to perform the marriage rights while he stayed back in London. When they showed him the video of the engagement, he saw that his Mrs spent most of his time dancing with a certain gentleman. He asked who the guy was and the Mrs said that it was her brother-in-law. A short while later he bought the wife to London where the wife asked if he would help bring the in-law over as he was having difficulties finding a job and maybe he could come and hussle over there. He did. So the arrangement was the guy would stay with them until he sorted himself out. Now the Mrs was not working, the in-law was not working, but the man was and while he was away, these two were working each other. As luck would have it, one day the man left work early only to find the two people in bed. Poor man had a stroke, thankfully he didn’t die, but the wife is now saying to tell her how much the bride’s price was and she would pay it back and they go there separate ways. These are the type of women that give us a bad name, but then these are the type of women that most men fall for. Bra Mike has not one but two women who rely on him to spend money on their every need, and this other guy goes out and gets a young woman to boost his ego and it nearly killed him. What can you say.
It got to 7 and thankfully my smaller cousin clocked off work early. Babysitting duty was over. I went and sat in the front room for a while and came out at intermittent times. My older cousin who had told me he was on his way at 3 o’clock, arrived around 9. I had dinner and went home eventually around 10 and straight to bed. However because of the earlier nap, I couldn’t sleep. I drifted off eventually but felt like I only had an hours sleep when my alarm went off at 4.45 this morning. Back to the grindstone. Hence finding a corner this morning and catching up on some sleep.
I am supposed to meet my best friend from school today. I have not seen her in over 10 years. We fell out as girls do on the last day of our final year over something so stupid and childish. We didn’t talk or have any contact for years after that except for a dirty look if we were to meet on the street. Then we grew up and reconnected again through the power that is facebook. We were supposed to meet up for lunch yesterday but as I was not around I am hoping to meet her in town today as she will be leaving tomorrow.
Oh and if you are ever around the East Legon area, there is a lady that does Pizza’s outside Jerry’s spot by the Medichem. Cheap and cheerful, and it’s good pizza.
So that’s it for today, until the next time…