An Ode to a Place I Love


ghana
Every street is lined with churches and churches are as full the gutters that line the streets. Religion is a way of life yet people are gripped by superstition. One-line sermons are scrawled on the back of taxis, yet tro tro mates* hurl abuse at passengers.
At night mosquitoes become busy, bothering every bit of flesh they can sink their teeth in. In the day, the flies take over. Spreading their dirt and germs on everything they land their wearied bodies on. They don’t stop.  They are as busy as market sellers hawking their goods.
The markets are alive with colours of jewellery, soap, meat, spices, towels, cosmetics and any and everything you can think of. The market sellers, worn down by the merciless sun yet motivated by poverty outnumber buyers and buying power depends upon your bargaining power. It’s like a game of tug of war and at some point, one party, exhausted from the battle of wills and the fiery heat will give in.
The air is punctuated with car fumes and the stench of the Korlé lagoon; and heavily accented with the sounds of traffic, chatter, blaring music and a myriad of other sounds.
At 6 on the dot, the day gives in to darkness,  and the moon, assisted by stars and the street lights illuminate the darkness.  But street lights are unreliable because dum sor* is mostly inevitable and darkness is mainly unavoidable.
“But it’s getting better”, they say. And yes, it is good.
It’s where everybody lives on a hope and a dream. Where poverty is the motivation, the currency is hope and joy is a commodity. It is a country blessed enough to be basked in endless sunshine and a multitude of colours, and even at night, the warmth can still be felt, like God’s embrace.
Optimism puts hopelessness to shame because everyday people rise with a song on their lips and determination in their eyes. In short, they are hopeful for another day of fortune. Because fortune does not lie in possessions, but indeed in peace that resides in the mind, and love that lives in the heart.
In the land of smiles, Every occasion is an opportunity to party, because every part of you would want to move to Shatta Wale’s, Sarkodie’s and Stonebwoy’s* bass lines blaring out of car windows.
Aromas of food from street vendors spice the air. Domedo,  kelewele, waakye* and fried yams are readily bought. Bananas, oranges , pineapples and coconuts are the sweets that people enjoy, but these sweets don’t rot your teeth so a smile is freely worn.
Although located on a continent that has every reason to mistrust, akwaaba! is in order for every strange face.  Because this is a land where forgiveness is practised and kindness enshrouds the actions of its people.
Most importantly this is also a land of my people. It hosts my background,  my history and my consciousness. Cut my veins and Ghana flows out. Although chance and circumstance has placed me in another part of the world Ghana will always be home, my mother, my friend. She’s like that favorite cousin that you don’t see much of but are always excited to meet.
Trust me, Ghana is good.

This is a general description of some of the sights and sounds I experienced. This style of  writing is called descriptive writing. Comment below if you would like more of this style of post.
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*Trotros are privately owned minibuses that serve as public transport, covering fixed routes. The tro tro mate is the driver’s companion, who collects the fares and announces the route the bus will take.Much like a conductor.
*Dum sor is a colloquial local term used to describe power outages. They were particularly frequent in 2015-2016 in Ghana. Dum sor, comes from the Twi words: dum, to put out (a fire, or light), and sor, to switch on.
*Shatta Wale, Sarkodie and Sonebwoy are Ghanaian musicians. Currently three of the most popular ones.
*Domedo is spiced grilled pork; kelewele is spiced, fried plantain usually eaten with peanuts; and waakye is a rice dish cooked with black eyed beans, and usually served with a spicy tomato sauce, meat or fish, boiled eggs, gari (grated cassava) and spaghetti. All three are popular street food.
*Akwaaba means ‘welcome’ in the Akan language of Ghana.
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