ACCEPTING THE UNACCEPTABLE
Isn’t it strange when a country which is defined and prides itself as hospitable by foreigners is not really hospitable towards its own citizens? The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English defines Hospitality as “Friendly and generous treatment and entertainment of guest”. For the sake of this write up, I will concentrate on ‘’Friendly and generous treatment’’.
We as citizens were blessed with the George Walker Bush High Way popularly known as the N1. What else could residents of Mallam to Kasoa ask for? Most of us had left the cozy and comfort of our homes to live with relatives and friends who had bigger spaces in their homes for a year and more. Others had been milked on by Hospitality agencies (Hotels, guest houses and lodges). These rooms had been turned into rented apartments for these residents. We only went back to our homes on weekend’s i.e. Fridays after work and back to our various second homes late Sunday evenings. Woe unto us if we felt home sick or lazy to leave the sweetness of our homes Sunday evening. The traffic we meet on Monday morning is unbearable or better still killing. We all endured this ordeal until Pambros paid us a respectful homage of opening its doors to us. We enjoyed this privilege while it lasted and within a squeeze of a lemon after N1 was commissioned, this sweet dream of ours shattered with its closure. Still residents, endured it and as usual complained in the air. Luckily N1 saved us from all this mess.
All along we had been enduring the Police barrier and the Toll booth saga. They were both quite manageable until whoever was responsible saw the need to remove the Police barrier from its position since both the barrier and the toll were causing huge traffic on the Kasoa road. We are left with the toll booth which is a force to reckon with. Who is responsible for this? Who is coming to the aid of residents leaving after the toll booth? This is not hospitality! This is not friendly and generous treatment of the residents.
We leave home as early as 5:00am, 5:30 am, and 6:00 am and have to be in the traffic for a maximum of one and a quarter (1: 25hr). The least we get is 45minuites to get to the toll booth amidst struggles with the tro-tro drivers who will move through all corners to get to the toll booth early. It is called survival of the fittest. If you finally get to the booth, then the attitude of the attendants meet you. Some of them are so efficient while others are of the tortoise fraternity. Others are also of the Goody Goody fraternity who will always use our mornings to change smaller notes for their tro-tro driver friends. Others on duty decide to come to work at their own time leaving the booth they work in closed at the expense of the commuters of the road. Will we term this hospitality, a generous treatment?
Mornings are always stressing. There are deadlines to meet, children to drop off at school, assignments to do, meetings to attend, shops to open, courses to attend, deliveries to make, etc. etc. Everybody is in a hurry especially on Monday mornings. There are thousands of people living in these environs. There are amongst these people of lower class, middle class, upper class all residents of this area. Indeed thousands ply this route everyday who live in Kasoa but work in Accra. It is true that a toll booth is placed at the entry point of a town. It is also true that government makes a lot of revenue from this toll booth in order to pay for the road but we will entreat government to turn an eye on the plight of residents of this area. We do not feel the hospitality at all.
The toll booth again picks a bone with us in the evening when we leave work to go to our various homes. This time around on the other side of the coin, it begins at the edge of the river and right down to the toll booth. Saturdays are even worse all in the name of collecting toll. We as residents are not saying that collecting toll is bad but an effective way of doing it to avoid the traffic is all we ask for.
On one hand is the traffic from Kasoa to the toll booth and on the other hand is the amount of money being charged. The minimum wage for Ghanaians is 4.48GHC and if we do a payment of 2.00 GHC to the government for big cars (ie. In and out) and 1.00GHC for saloon cars (in and out), what will we be left with?. Imagine this, after painfully staying in the traffic and finally paying the toll to breathe a little freedom, we drive past Bay view hotel and then swim our cars almost at full tire level in what I term the “Quarry River” on the road. The “quarry river” comes to existence once every year when the rains come. That too has been neglected. It started as a small river and grew by the years as the quarry grew. Whoever is responsible to show us a little hospitality should please come to our aid because soon if not attended to, the river will swallow our cars.
I join forces with Uncle Ebo Whyte when he terms such problems as “Trials of the Ghanaian”. Indeed we endure a lot without complaining. Even if we do, it’s just in the air. Complaining without taking action and seeking resolution in a proper manner without complain. Ghana is hospitable. May its citizens feel this Hospitality.
Christina Armah (M-PIL English, MED Admin)
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