It’s been a while, but we’ve been busy.
If you can call running in every tightening circles busy.
Last week was spectacularly average, actually far worse than average. Significantly below par. And after nearly a year in Ghana, I know it’s all about managing expectations. It’s just such a shame that some weeks, the expectation level needs to drop, and drop. And sometimes it would seem far more sensible to stay behind closed doors. But that’s not really the way life works is it?
So rather than regale you with all the tedious details, I thought I’d just bring you a snippet of one morning.
The week started with me, sans driver, dropping the children off at school in our new (for us) little car. In the little cocoon of the car I listen to Aussie radio (loving that ABC radio app) on the drive back dodging tro-tros and errant taxis.
I summon the courage to face the traffic hell of Adum, its only 10am, how bad can it be? Bad.
I consult the GPS on my phone beforehand to ensure no geographical embarrassment.
Woohoo. I’m actually doing it. And its not too bad. The traffic is so slow, that its not actually that stressful. Never a truer adage than ‘He who hesitates is lost’. Best applied to roundabouts.
Approach notoriously busy T-junction, where the much needed traffic lights are actually human ones. These police stand majestically in their white blazers, epaulets and gold lanyards, directing the onslaught of all manner of vehicles. The slow traffic also gives them ample opportunity to ‘inspect’ vehicles. Lucky them.
A police woman indicates I am to pull over. Oh sh*t. You must be joking. She asks why I have temporary 2012 plates on my car. Biting back the sarcasm, I assure her I have just purchased the car, and it is being registered tomorrow (true, indeed. I would not lie to a member of the police). Then she joins me in the stationary car and the inevitable, lengthy interview begins…
Where is your drivers licence? (woohoo, no problems there madam!)
Why are you in Ghana?
How long are you staying in Ghana?
Are you married to a Ghanaian?
Where do your work?
What country are you from?
What is your husband’s name?
Where does he work?
I play the National pride card, and assure here I have moved to Ghana, with my children and husband and will be here for a loooong time. It is now my home. Now I appreciate Ghana, as many other stable countries do too, has a problem with illegal immigrants. Call it racial profiling, but I am unlikely to be one of them.
Not being able to find anything wrong, other than I have 2012 temporary plates on my car, rather than 2013 temporary plates. She concludes the mornings pleasantries with this gem:
“ So, give me my Christmas present and you can be on your way.”
I bite back the desire to tell her that in other countries this is called a bribe.
Call it racial profiling, but I think she expected a good present. I hand it over and I’m on my way.
A few years ago, the government increased the wages of police to try and stop this ubiquitous present giving. Now, that’s what I call a win-win situation.