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October 15, 2010

Welcome (back) to Ghana

Welcome to Ghana sign at the Ghana-Togo border
Welcome to Ghana sign at the Ghana-Togo border

It has been a while, I know, I hope I was missed. I spent the entire summer vacation in my beloved Caribbean, but I am back in Ghana and I already have many tales to tell.

We arrived in Ghana late at night. It was one of those bitter sweet moments. We were sad to have left home, but happy to be back in our own space. When we first entered Ghana, last December, we were full of anticipation, wonder, and perhaps just a little fear. We returned this time sure footed and confident that we knew exactly what to expect.

As we stepped into the baggage hall the electricity went out. The conveyor belts ground to a halt as did the hustle, bustle and movement. A tourist (it must have been) gasped. In the darkness, the returning nationals chuckled and said wryly “Welcome to Ghana”.

Since then, I have heard this phrase over and over. I heard it when we discovered the house had not had water from the mains for two weeks; when the dry cleaner could not produce my laundry because they had not been able to pay for electricity; and when we discovered that many of the repairs which were to have been made to the house in our absence had not been completed.

At first I took this phrase in stride, but having heard it so often I have to wonder why, in a country with 23 million intelligent and wonderful people, we should accept mediocre service as just being the best that can be expected. I wonder if I can stand on my own and demand better. Let’s see how this year goes!

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