ACCRA is the capital city of Ghana and perhaps one of the finest cities in Africa. It is a large, warm and populous city that sprawls along that Atlantic Coast. The city abounds with countless iconic and breathtaking buildings like The Osu Castle, Villagio, National Theater, Balm Library, Central Mosque, Flagstaff House, West Hills Mall, Stanbic Heights, Accra Sports Stadium, to name but a few.
Relax, for the city is also blessed with many interesting suburbs and locations including Circle, Osu, Madina, East Legon, Achimota, Nima and the likes. At first sight, you would be tempted to believe that Accra promises to be a “Heaven” for everyone that dwells in it. It is after you experienced the real Accra as an “ordinary person”, then you will understand that Accra IS NOT really the Accra they told you about. Yea, forget about the beauties and glamour. Anytime I stroll through the city, I am greeted with sights and conditions that confirms my growing dislike for Accra. I have highlighted a few below. They may be your dislike as well.
1. Insane vehicular traffic:
Don’t laugh! This is really really serious. Accra is a big city and you are always likely to find yourself moving from one area to another. Whether you decide to commute with your own vehicle or trotro, prepare to have a calm heart for traffic. A few drive and you find yourself enguled in an ocean of traffic. Allergic to this? Avoid Okponglo- Tetteh Quarshie, Kasoa- Budumburam, Ayi Mensah, Circle -Accra central, etc. You may be thinking about “okada”, but hey, wear your helmet. Trains and trams need to work in Accra, ASAP!
Hmm, sorry but this is a sensitive issue. Could you believe that there are hundreds, probably thousands of people in Accra who are homeless? Yes, a lot of people in Accra live on the streets and spend the night roaming till daybreak, or finally sleep at wherever they can catch some sleep. I was shocked to the marrow when I passed through Tudu one dawn and saw several people sleeping in front of stores with their belongings tucked under their heads. Well, the mosquitoes too are unsurprisingly obese but wickedly unforgiving. This is sad, but it is the daily reality of some people in Accra. Get all affordable housing projects completed immediately. But for now, appreciate your single room.
3. Filth, Stench and Open Drains.
This is the one that sickens me the most since it can surely be improved if “most of the citizens simply decide to live civilized lives”. Do not be surprised to see heaps of rubbish in the middle of a market, or besides the road. Sanitation is better in some suburbs but they are few. It always amazes me to see a “person with a fully functioning brain” dumps garbage anywhere comfortably. Filth end up in the open drains and mix with other liquid wastes. The stench that emanates from this can shut down your breathing organs for years. We can do better.
4. Places of convenience:
Pray it does not happen to you, but should you feel the urge to use the washroom when you are in town, then brace yourself for anything. Finding a washroom just to pee in town is no mean feat. The few public ones available are not in the best of conditions. The excruciating stink alone always make me wonder why they call it a place of convenience.
5. Finding a place to sit in town:
Well, sometimes after moving from shop to shop and having gotten that particular item to buy, you feel like finally getting a place to just sit down for a few minutes and relax. Just forget about this and carry on. There are virtually no such places in town, unless a kind storekeeper blesses you with a seat, or get a chilled drink at open bar and enjoy the seat.
I believe you may also have your own conditions and sights that you detest about this great city. Well, as a developing city, I am very optimistic that these conditions would surely be improved. Accra must work.
(Image credit to "Ghana the Black star of Africa Facebook page. Thank you)