Monday, April 7, 2008

Another World in the City of Accra

Today, I wish I were married. There is no curious story behind this wish; nothing to reveal. I just think that the company would be good.

On my early morning drive to work, I saw an art vendor bring out his basic illustrations to display just a whisker from the road. He was in the middle of a grating conversation with the next vendor, who was arranging sallow apples in black plastic crates with his stone-and-charcoal fingers. I’d already taken a rueful eyeful, and was looking to turn away in quest for softer aspects of the Accra half-light. Maybe I’d catch giddying glimpses of the scrupulously-scrubbed, meticulously made-up working woman in Accra :) But I found a weirdly arresting sight.

As violence scurried out of the missing-toothed mouth of the art vendor, his arms moved in gentle circles as he wiped each crude artwork tenderly as if they were his children. In a quick move I still can’t interpret (it was crude, but it showed care) he sprayed a wide stream of spittle on a steel shield with cuneiform etchings, and briskly wiped it dry to a brilliant shine. Who smells a lovely-looking shield before buying it? :)

As for the apple seller, he picked some apples and forced four or five each into two clear bags and advanced with menace onto the street. He was as muscular as an ox and, as I frantically rolled up my windows, I got to wondering if he also picked the apples from the trees himself :)

I realised how after their sun-baked day spent setting up grocery shops, furniture showrooms, pet shops, car washes and deodorising permanently in dried perspiration on the streets of Accra, these cellar citizens must have a normal life. A life picking apples, bathing children with water and, maybe, a little spittle to shine behind their ears, watching TV, even if just for the pictures, or simply eating with their mouths closed so particles do not spurt into the evening air. They do not live where they stand to sell. A whole wild world out there, totally worth exploring.


  1. that was amusing in a gross way , especially the part about the spittle.

  2. Amusing, gross, but true. It's good we didn't see the wrestler selling the apples polish them in like manner, for people have seen it happen!

  3. I have seen a vendor polish apple in a street corner in...let me just say... a curious way. Dave, Im waiting for a posting on a beach thing

  4. The Beach was excellent! The physical sensations are all gone now, but the mental excitement is still raging on. When it settles down, the post will happen. Please give my love to all who contributed to my fun :)

  5. Hey my fried

    Words cannot express the joy and pride i felt whilst reading your material. You are an amazing human being with God given talent. Keep up the good work.

    Love always

  6. Thanks a million, Showstopper. If you're the pretty woman who stopped the aeroplanes at the Accra Airport in 1999, then you have stopped my show again :)

  7. sense of humour display in extra measure...sweetly!

    nice read and thanks for finding me out here in this blog-about-field.

    my email is


  8. Thanks, Novisi. I try to put in some humour every time. Often, I fail.


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