I have always hated the expression the "Third World" . It seems so condescending and patronizing yet it has an undeniable ring of truth to it. We do things differently down here and not necessarily in a good way! Anyway, Saturday morning brought much joy to my neighbourhood. The sound of loud machinery and the smell of tar signaled the start of road work on our street and the adjoining road. I should explain that we have had a house in our 'hood for over 20 years and have endured all the dust, dirt and grime that comes from living close to an un-tarred road. We have even put up with the endless fake/pretense moves to tar our roads. I cannot even begin to count the number of times some truck has arrived under the cover of darkness around 3am to dump mounds of sand on the street as part of a scheduled job that never actually happens. Eventually, a contractor will run out of money or something else will come up and the road work will be postponed.The strange thing is that most of the roads in the wider 'hood are tarred! Note: I'm ignoring the scary potholes -the -size-of-moon-craters-issue because that is a whole different topic.
So when real road tarring started on Saturday morning, it was hardly surprising to find people in our 'hood had pulled up chairs by the roadside and were eagerly taking in all the action. I myself watched completely mesmerized and in awe for a whole 10 minutes without moving. I was half-expecting street hawkers to show up selling plantain chips and cokes to the gathered crowd. By the way, how is it that hawkers always know where the traffic jams are all over Accra? That is something that has always baffled me. Back to the road...while we watched, my mother pointed out with amusement that it was like we were all transported to the pre-independent Gold Coast where the inhabitants of a remote community had gathered to see a tarred road for the first time in their lives. Yes, it was actually that exciting!
But...it was all too good to be true. My new-road joy has already turned sour. Although our adjacent road is complete and has already turned into a speed demon's Grand Prix highway (or more like Grand Pricks highway), our actual street has been left abandoned. Apparently the contractor has run out of supplies. The road is half-tarred, half-complete and not a single peep about when work will continue. Now ain't that Third World living for ya?!