What do you make when you take a young man raised on grand impressions of life in Accra and actually thrust him into the city he has dreamed so much about? We checked in with one such traveler.
As a boy, one who has lived all his life in Leklebi, the mention of Accra brings joy and happiness to me. In the village, I would boast of my parents who lived in the city. I strutted around the village, arrogant in the assurance that this made me the only civilized person in the village.
As foolish as that was, I succeeded in drawing a few boys to my side who were readily at my beck and call. I was the only young man in the village to own a mobile phone. A call to my privileged device meant me shouting at the top of my voice to notify anyone unfortunate enough to be in shouting distance that yes, I had a phone and it worked.
When I completed junior high school, I had the opportunity to spend my vacation in this wonderful place that had always been the cause of much vicarious pride. Prior to my journey, I could not resist the urge to spread the news that I was visiting the ‘heaven’ called Accra.
Out of excitement and anxiety, I did not sleep the day before the journey. I kept awake for the morning to come earlier. That night was unusually long. I had never seen a longer one. No night has ever since been longer. But morning came eventually. I quickly rushed to the bathhouse and hurriedly took my bath. I was dressed and ready even before my dad woke up.
When my dad was ready and we about to leave, we were besieged by an army of friends. Their mission that morning was to bid me farewell and ask me not to forget them when I got to the city. It was as though I was going to see the supernatural being.
Finally, we set off in my father’s Land Rover. Hours later, I was met with scences that was so strange to me. In traffic, I saw some young men and women selling on the streets. Some sold water, ice cream, meat pie and so on.
Upon arrival at home, I was met with a cold burst of air in the living room. Shivering, I quickly left the room, leading to bemused laughter from those gathered in the room. I asked to come in to be shown in my room. Thankfully, it was much warmer.
That was not the only surprise. I really was in a different place altogether. The rooms were nice, well scented, spacious and of course not without that strange icy cool air.
I am finally here, I kept thinking to myself.
I decided to take a walk to see how the rest of if looked like. Walking around the neighborhood, I came to one conclusion: no one cares about the other. While in the village, I would have had to spend a few minutes saying greetings to every elderly person I meet; this was not that case in the city. When I said hello to people, they would only respond and walk by.
Is this a good thing, I am yet to find out. Can a village boy raised communally adjust to a cold city where even one’s family can sometimes seem to be oblivious of one’s existence? My experiences will tell.