Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Leaving Kumasi (Part 2)

September 3
Axim, Ghana

The list wasn’t long but a few people I had to see in order to make a good clean break with Kumasi. I had a good connection with all of them.

I arranged their names not in priority but by geography. I promised Lynnette, a girl who works a small variety shop out at KNUST campus where we lived for seven weeks, that I would print her a couple photos of the Volta Region, part of her country she’d never seen. I like keeping such promises, and it so happened I was headed out there anyway, to see Michel.

Michel’s a friend I made covering the Ghana@50 celebrations six months ago. He’s an engineering student at KNUST and an active Christian evangelist. We managed to stay off religion but talked a lot instead on politics and Ghanaian life.

I left Michel on the tro-tro when I got off at Children’s Park, which is part of Asokwa Trish and I walked through many times, she more than I. I put in a call to Bontai, a reggae DJ working nearby and made a date for later, to drop off a CD I made for him called ‘G-Mac’s White Boy Mix.’

Hells Bells
And Justice For All
The Witch
Sure Shot
Guerrilla Radio
The Kids Aren't Alright
46 and 2
Lounge Act
Give It Away 4:42
Fat Bottomed Girls
Sympathy for the Devil
Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 1
Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2
Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 3

Bumped into White Man by good fortune.

He’s been shuffled off in recent weeks by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly that employ the police to harass street-side vendors, to get them away from the areas the city is trying to beautify for the 2008 Africa Nations Cup, which will meet in January. White Man keeps getting in trouble for selling shoes across the street from Kumasi’s stadium. I gave him my sneakers to sell.

Saw Priscilla too, who does hair down the street from White Man. She and I always say hello, but she’s more Trish’s friend than mine and always asks where Trish is. That’s about the extent of her English, and Trish speaks much better Twi than I do.

Down the road to Silver Ring to bid farewell to Eman, the boys and the house we made home for five months here. But Eman wanted to find out if a couple of parcels we never received had come in the mail, and agreed to meet me at the post office the next day.

So I went to the Dish to wait for Sheriff and Bismark, two dudes we met at Silver Ring who have become friends. Smart guys in their mid-20s caught in a social caste that keeps them mopping floors when they should be studying at university. Bismark reads more than any other Ghanaian I met and I gave him several books. Sheriff is a good-natured no-shit guy who calls things the way he sees them, and wants us to find him a white Canadian wife so that some day his kids can have a better chance.

Likewise, the last thing Evans asked me was to find him a Canadian girl. Evans and his brother, Charles, are filmmakers in Kumasi who we got to know fairly well. Evans like to share his work with us — he’s made several feature films — and I never had to heart to tell him what I really thought, except that I don’t much care for the soap opera genre.

Bontai bailed on our meeting. That left it up to him to call me, and he never did.

Our final day dawned and priority one was to get my bicycle to Ado, the old man in Adum to whom I promised the bike. Had to get the tire and pedals fixed again first. I should be feeling some shame that I didn’t ride daddy pomco at all in the last two months, but I don’t. There comes a time when a man can no longer work with inferior equipment, and pomco was wrong on so many levels is was nothing but an inconvenient pain in the ass. Ado know this very well — he saw me every day I rode it or walked it to the British Council — but he wanted the bike anyway to rent to people in his village.

Eman and I met at the post office, but no dice. The generosity of out family will therefore default to Eman, who’s decent enough.

I forgot to meet with Kojo, who I used to call Crazy Man, this homeless dude who sits writing all day in Adum, preparing a civil liability court case. Ditto with Moses, who stuffs pillows in the cemetery. But I couldn’t see everyone.

Went out to the Jesus Café for some final emailing. Too bad Peter wasn’t there. So then to Brigina Catering for a final ho-down with Trish’s colleagues.

And now we’re at the Axim Beach Hotel, listening to the surf crash outside our door. Drove down with Christophe and Virginie and Eliot for the weekend. They left yesterday. We leave today.

It’s our last week in Africa and we’re saying goodbye and looking forward to what comes next. (G)

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Graeme and Trish,

I'm back in Canada - sitting at my desk at Queen's University. My first day in this seat in over 3 months. Being back is making me appreciate so much about Ghana.

Thank you for your stories. Your blog has been a great diversion from the piles of papers and mail that now sit on my desk. I even miss the vultures and the children who want to be my 'friend.'

Good luck with adjusting back to an equally confusing culture and thank you for all of your stories.