What a day it’s been. Got to work at 9 today and been busy doing nothing all day. Well I have been doing a lot actually designed a nice powerpoint presentation on a new template only to be told that we would be doing the old one complete waste of a day.
Then the Chilean asked me to get some information. It was the kind of question that someone would ask if they had a lot of time on their hands because there was no major issue. However, I asked the factory manager anyway. The factory manager, a French man with the French temperament to boot gave me a rather blaze answer, when I dug deeper to ask the root cause (knowing this would be the question I would be asked) my man laid into me that “you lot are always creating issues where there are none, blah, blah, blah”, I’m like Chale, I just asked a question, when I’m being paid your expatriate salary you can tell me what you like but I just want to know the answer to a question my boss asked. I finally got the answer and then my phone disconnected. Charming.
I didn’t do what the locals would do and complain to my fellow colleagues, but went and gave the Chilean this is what I have been told but this is exactly what the response was. The Chilean responded that he must have been having a bad day. A bad day, try coming home and within 5 minutes of getting through the door the lights have gone off and have to feel your way into the room. You live rent free, with all the perks, plus risk allowance on top for being in Africa. You can sit at a bar after a long day, drink yourself to a stupor because you will be chauffeur driven home and even though you are not the finest or even the brightest spark in the building by virtue of you being an obroni, you will never be lonely. Bad day, my back foot. If I had spoken to him that way I would have got a black mark against my name for the rest of my career.
Well anyway, the Chilean must have felt a bit bad and spoken on my behalf because not long after I had done my rounds of chatting to people on the way back to my office I got an apology text, too many issues and he is not in a good mood. We all have issues mate. But I text back that it’s cool. We all have issues. Anyway. It’s over with.
My topic today is on the issue of lying. Why do Ghanaians find it hard to tell the truth. By telling the truth, maybe a solution can be found but they insist they never did anything, they never saw anything, they never said anything when it is blatantly clear that they did.
Example 1. When I was staying in the old house I used to let the house guy clean my room. He didn’t do a very good job but it was clean enough. One day my purse must have fell out of my bag and onto the bed. I have a bad habit of leaving my bag zip open as I root out phones, nose drops etc…throughout the night so it is not surprising. I had $100 and some cedis in the purse. I came back to find only 5 cedis (I guess he left that in because he thought I would use that to tip him). I was quite close to the office when I realized that it wasn’t in the bag so too late to turn around. When I came back, it was gone. I lock my room every day but he had the key that day, the boys all left the house to go to school/work but he swore blind it wasn’t him and he didn’t see anything, when I got to the house found the money gone and called him to ask where was my money. In fact he protested a bit too much but I didn’t have the proof to beat him, all I could do was make sure he never entered my room again and well he didn’t dare to ask me for money. But at least there was nothing to steal from my car and washed off that cash.
Example 2. When my house got robbed. The man at the security gate swore he didn’t see anything. There is only one point to enter and exit the estate and well I think a person or persons carrying a 32″ TV would look a bit suspect, but he saw nothing. I wish him well.
Example 3. I asked the assistant if she would call up the restaurant to get a copy of the receipt from Bella Roma so that I could claim the expenses. Any day from now, he’s just checking the receipt book. That was 2 weeks ago, it was only when I called 2 days ago that the guy said he hadn’t received a phone call from this girl. Although she was quick to go there when we were having the dinner, if I had taken her word for it, I would still be waiting for it now.
Example 4. My cousin was renting out a house when she was over late last year, and one day the house girl decided that she was going to give the place a good scrub, so clean in fact that she removed the contact lenses from its case, through it away and cleaned out the case with soap and water. When my cousin came home to find the lenses missing, the girl swore blind that she did not touch it, hence did not see the lenses. Of course she wouldn’t too. Really, the lenses just decided that they had, had enough of being closed in and decided to take a breather.
Example 5. I ask for information from a colleague. They say, they will send the information by the end of the day. The next day nothing in the inbox. You call, you write, you IM, nothing. Just tell me I can’t do it right away but you will get it on such and such a time, as long as it is not taking the piss, why shouldn’t I wait, I’m not the only one who wants a piece of you. But they play the avoidance tactics and you spend all your time sending reminders when it would have been quicker to jump in the car or a plane and get the information yourself.
I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the gist. I see that there is this perceived notion that they would get a beat down if they admit fault, but really apart from the theft issue, ok, you would get a bollocking, but I can’t kill you if you just admit the real situation. You forgot, it was a mistake, you fell asleep, suspected thief guy may have even forgot to lock my door and another worker came into the room. At least, a solution to the problem will be found, I can’t eat you alive.
The truth will set you free they say, not on this side of the pond it seems.