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13.11.2014 Feature Article

The Typical Same Old Ghana

The Typical Same Old Ghana
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Whenever relations and friends return home from abroad, there are all kinds of expectations; expectations of a different or a better Ghana, where everything is much different from what they knew of in the old Ghana, expectations of more jobs, expectation of new businesses, expectations of a drastic improvement in living conditions of people, expectations of improved delivery of goods and services.

They expect to see improved roads; of wider and high classes of roads. They expect that access to basic utilities and social amenities have seen a dramatic improvement. They expect to see good schools, and improvement in educational infrastructure. In terms of healthcare, they expect ultramodern hospitals, specialized healthcare, and an increase in facilities.

Generally however, people go home to disappointment! Yes, a decorated monkey, is still a monkey. After gliding through the beautiful principal streets from the airport, through the beautiful buildings budding within the airport city and its immediate environs, the reality begins to sink in. As one moves further and further away from the capital, everything seems to be the same.

I bet a lot of people return to their localities, and still find traces of the landmarks of their childhood love scenes, still in place. Yes, “Kwame loves Adjoa,” “Zagidibogidi was here some,” “No condition is permanent,” to mention but a few, are all writings on the wall, from the past, which can still be found on the walls of our old schools, public latrines, community centers, the old tree in the village square, to mention but few. Everything is still the same.

It is again more disappointing, when on a simple tour around the town, we discover that the old schools, clinics, churches, to mention but a few, are in the exact state that they were, several years ago, when we left the village. Yes, the old carpentry shop is still under the same tree, this time, the tree has lost it leaves. The younger men of then, now old, sit under the old trees, as they drink to their disappointments, and lost dreams, for the women, several disappointed marriages, with children, uncared for.

At the backyard of the old village school however, close to the schools playground, a huge dump yard has emerged! As you stand and watch the children playing in the filth, all you can do is shake your head in disappointment. The few gutters that are still under construction, are already choked with rubbish. Construction on a few buildings, supposed to serve as a new community center, library, and a bigger clinic, has long since been abandoned. These buildings have already become a den for school dropouts and runaways, drug peddlers, and a local brothel. It almost seems as if every young girl has a protruding belly.

For you, this might seem like a scene from a novel, but in our various communities, cities, towns, and villages, these are the realities.

Growth and development in this country, can only be seen in our major cities, notably, the capital, and its immediate environs. These growths however, are all virtual. Ghana is the same as it was over 50 years ago, and perhaps, even worse.

We keep doing things in the same way! Do Ghanaians never get tired or bored with repetition? Are Ghanaians not tired of doing things in the exact same way? Why must we make ourselves so predictable? Our general attitude, remains the same!

Ghana has seen several milestones, and yet, access to potable water is a problem. This is even worse in our capital! Our power production and distribution, has gone worse! Our educational system is in a trying state at the moment. One strike, after the other! Our local businesses are facing hardships notably with the supply of raw materials. Our trade laws are not favouring the operations of our local businesses. Our currency, is in a freefall, and our economy, in shambles.

Oh yes, this nation has seen a dramatic increase in the turnout of students from our various educational institutions, and yet, most cannot find decent jobs. Oh yes, this nation has seen a dramatic increase in healthcare infrastructure, and yet, the quality of healthcare still remains the same.

For a country with a population of over 24 million people, how many have had access to basic education? How many have access to basic utilities and amenities? How many can actually afford basic healthcare? What about good housing? What is our poverty ratio? What is our unemployment rate?

What are the elements of a truly developing nation? What are the elements of a truly developing economy? How do we call a nation, a developing one, when everything is still the same? Does a monkey become something else, after being decorated? Does a pig change identity, after wearing a lipstick or a suit?

Anna Esi Hanson ([email protected]);

Anna Esi Hanson
Anna Esi Hanson, © 2014

The author has 79 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: AnnaEsiHanson

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