A pitiable, teen-age boy snoozes like a sculpture hewed out of the darkness at the roadside. A medium-size basin poses upright in the street, one metre before him. A half-dozen plastic bags lie scattered and flattened on the street; and the boy, the bowl and the bags all stand in a tiny wash of water.
The boy looks dazed, and utters not a sound. As every car schleps by in the half-light jam, he lifts his cheerless eyes to the window, and then into the black heavens. The first time I witnessed this, I worked out the obvious interpretation, and was moved to stop to give him 5 Ghana Cedis.
Not quite a week later, I saw the same woebegone scene re-enact itself in a different part of Accra, and another in another part, and another, and another…. And, then, I caught on. It is a new money-making ploy in the City of Accra!