Unpaid debts,overpaid footballers and no petrol in Ghana

The disgraceful blackstars have returned back to Ghana and well nobody is disappointed, in fact most are just disgusted. The president sent $3million cash in a briefcase because the little brats said they would not go out to play otherwise. Then they got knocked out of the tournament. Our president has brought shame around the world, firstly because nobody puts $3million on a plane, unless you are a drug dealer or the mafia. Secondly, he has bills to pay back home and once again we get a lot of useless excuses but it is the poor people of Ghana paying the price.

It was Tuesday, I needed petrol and so I went to the Shell filling station to buy gas. They only had V Power, V Power is kind of like unleaded, and is slightly more expensive than the normal Super. I bought 50GHS worth, and actually it really didn’t make much of a difference (my car would suck it up in a few days in any event).
When I left the petrol station, it didn’t click, neither did it click when I drove past the filling station and there was a queue for petrol a mile long. It was only when I caught a few words between smother’s yapping that there was a shortage of fuel in Ghana.

The next 5 days was going to be hell, and I only had enough for a few days…

Rumour had it, the government owed a large amount of money to the oil people, in fact they hadn’t paid the bill since 2011, and the second rumour was that petrol stations were hoarding petrol for fear of a major hike in the price. We came to find out later that both rumours were true. I don’t know if it was bad timing or sheer stupidity but it coincided with the blackstars incident, so it is like, there is no excuse, you obviously have some money but your priorities are all wrong.

Well anyway, all I could do think of myself and how I was going to get to work (for a salary far, far less than $3m), I had enough for Wednesday but if the situation didn’t improve I don’t know how I was going to work. A taxi would be too expensive and tro-tro, well I have never ridden one before and wasn’t going to make this the first time. Not to sound snobbish, but the day things get that bad that I am having to take tro-tro to work is the day that I pack my bags and leave for England, because it is no 86 bus.

I digress though, on Wednesday after work, I went to the filling station near my house. I thought that considering there was a queue the day before, it must have a little left. I got a wiper (when someone waves there hand like a car wiper to say no). I had heard about a filling station in East Legon but the queue was outrageous and didn’t want to use up my fuel searching for fuel so I went home.

Thursday, I had just enough to get to work and back, but if I were to get stuck in traffic, it would be a struggle. I drove around for a bit and thought let me go to the gas station I had been there two days before. There was a little bit of a queue the day before so there must be at least V-power. However, I got there and well obviously I am not the only braniac in Ghana, even the taxi drivers took the V-power and ran. I ended up parking the car and walking to work. I tried to call my manager to update her, she didn’t answer, but she did respond to my text. I don’t know how she didn’t see her phone ringing but managed to send a response to sms straight away, but really that is her petty problem and it is distracting from my story.

At lunchtime I asked permission to leave, I would rather get stranded close to my house than on a busy motorway. Usually my light blinks for a while, goes off and then blinks when it is really in trouble. That day, I did not see it go off for a while, luckily I wasn’t completely out when I reached the gas station close to my house. There were a lot of parked cars but the road was empty and so was the gas station. What there was though, was a guy on a motorbike with two Kuffour gallons worth of petrol. A Kuffour gallon (named after the former president) is a large yellow container which is used to store water or petrol, it is about 6-7 gallons. This guy, Kobena, was selling half of it (approx 4 gallons) for 75 Ghana Cedis. This same amount under normal circumstances is 50GHS, I bought it anyway because I needed to get to work. But it got me thinking, this was a national crisis, usually you would expect people to pull together, but here, any way to make a profit. I heard on the radio some people were selling at two – three times the price. The lucky few who could find petrol would hoard petrol in these gallons and sell it on. What a country.

Friday most people didn’t even bother going to work, there was no traffic at 5pm when I left the office, I went straight home, didn’t pass go didn’t collect my £200, parked my car and stayed in the house.
Saturday I decided to walk up to the top of the road to check if the gas station had any joy, when I saw cars queuing a mile long I realised that there was one station with gas. The way the cars were, you didn’t know if the person was in the queue or had parked and gone out, I decided to wait until early Sunday morning.
Smother of course being her usual self, after me telling her about the queue, her response. She asks me if I could drop her off at the hairdressers. I really do wonder what goes through her head sometimes, I am not surprised but she doesn’t learn. NO PETROL LOVE, like I didn’t even open my mouth or look in her direction else I would have gone mad.

So on Sunday I get up early. Me and about 20 other people it seems. I don’t know if people slept at the station but at 6am when I went to the one filling station with gas in my area. There was a line about ½ a mile long. The line would have gone fast had it not been for the queue jumpers, those with connections and those who bought about 3 Kuffour gallons with them. At 8 o’clock I finally got some, just over half my tank, the attendant switched from giving people unlimited amounts of petrol to putting a 60GHS cap (which I think should have been done at the beginning). By 6pm I saw a tanker go into my local filling station and the one just before that, apparently some of the bill had been paid, and the price increase had been delayed.

This morning was quite funny, you would see some petrol stations with a long queue (although not as bad as the previous days) and some with no queue at all. I had put my petrol in my Kuffour gallon and poured half into my tank (just in case), so topped up at the petrol station this morning before coming to the office.
The black stars snuck into the country like thieves in the night and slunk off in their V8, Range Rovers and Lexis’ (according to the newspaper, like I don’t know what added value that is to me in my Kia Rio).

On the plus side, I did a lot of walking over the past 3 days, so I didn’t feel so guilty about eating that ice cream on Saturday afternoon.

Normal service has been resumed. At least for the next 2 weeks

About efiasworld

A British Born Ghanaian navigating her way through life.
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