Friday, April 11, 2008

Oh, for a Park in the City of Accra!

Driving through the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, playing Habib Koité’s Ma Ya, I found the emotional space to look out and see the verdant grass and infant trees sprouting up in beautiful, even intervals. The thick greenness with shiny surface crystals of dew and sprinkler water reflected the golden rays of the rising sun, and gave the thrilling promise of a frisky Friday.

It nudged me softly that I’d been poking about for a leisure park in the city of Accra. A quiescent acre of stone sculptures of great former residents, skittish fountains, inedible fish (not frogs) in ponds and restrooms (Please!) :). I should like to have good, strong benches to sit on (make it of wood or concrete, I don’t mind). And I imagine vast fields of velvety grass to spread a rug and lie on. The trees will be gigantic; leaves and branches verdure, breezy, saying come sleep here if you please. Now, that’s something of a park. One with good security would be great, so that the many Accraians who choose to be homeless (or are really without a home) will not pursue the primal pleasure of another mass sleeping experience :)

It would be nice to step out of the concrete jungle and the blazing furnace into the cool recesses of a park with a bottle of water and a big interesting book. A clever chance to forget the heartbreaking shortcomings of the city of Accra; to escape the daily puzzles and, for an hour, or more, spread out luxuriantly or curl up snugly in such idyllic extravagance.

There was Kinbu Gardens many years ago, when I was still a little boy. Driving with my father and siblings around its circular fringes, it seemed as much a park as not. But we never gained entry, and we got the quiet understanding that it was a very adult place :)

The Efua Sutherland Children’s Park is named for a very great playwright. However, it’s an empty, walled city space with pockets of sundry-hued, grass-like sprouts and a miniature rail network. It’s not open on ordinary days, and something is eating up the mighty mahogany trees.

The Accra Zoo was a beautiful place, depending on what you were looking for. It did not boast of the prettiest or sweetest-smelling birds or cats; reptiles or ruminants, but it soothingly smothered the city racket, put mellowing blinds on the sun’s bright eye and swept a holy hand of brilliant breeze under its sky-screening foliage. It gave no grass to sit on, but those hard benches yielded memory-erasing comfort, if the donkey was fast asleep (for I’ve found its startling bray pierces the still air more loudly that the restrained roar of the conceited lion). Now, there is no zoo in the city of Accra.

No parks, no zoos, no clean and quiet beaches, not many libraries, no pools, no city squares. Accra, are you trying to make us go insane?


  1. Hey my friend

    You aint painting a pretty picture of the city of Accra for someone like me who lives far away from there. Despite the picture you paint, i will come to visit Accra simply because i believe that people like you make the city a much better place :-)


  2. Accra is pretty in part, Accra is ugly in part. I must describe the twain. I have posts on Beautiful Accra too. The archives are full of them :)

  3. Only just discovered your blog. Instant fan. I so second this though: a public park would be amazing, but looking at the horrors being unleashed on our Accra's circles by the Dept of Parks and Gardens, I have a feeling I'd better keep my dreams to myself.

  4. Hey Que,

    Good to meet you. I agree with that about the dept of parks & gardens. Will be sure to check out your blog.


After writing your comment, please select the Name/URL box below, and write your name in the box, before submitting your comment.