It’s A Special Challenge (Pt 1) – By Bernadette Araba Adjei

It’s a Special Challenge…..

Thirty-something years living in sub-Sahara Africa and short flights into other jurisdictions out west has taught me that many things that people take for granted in some countries are a special challenge in my homeland;

Our Roads

As the rains start and you cuddled up safe at home, you are lulled by a false sense of rightness and oneness with nature until you venture out to go to work the next morning – then you realize that (being unfortunate to live in an un-tarred road locality) your caricature of a road has been washed away. What remains, gullies littered with twigs, empty water bottles and suspicious looking black poly bags you must make very sure not to pass over otherwise your mud splattered car cannot be parked at the office next to that nice car of your work colleague who lives in a serviced estate.

Want some solutions?

  1. MOVE to a town house if you can afford it.
  2. Make a gutter in front of your house ( if you are lucky, your landlord and neighbors will cooperate.
  3. Try talking to your Metropolitan Chief Executive to help out
  4. Please any other suggestions?


Our Traffic

So I get off to work and driving to work has its own special challenges. Other road users strongly believe you are not in a hurry and must overtake you even when it is before 6am and there is no traffic on the road. Then the trotro and taxi drivers believe that once you are a “plavit” private car owner you must be overtaken or somehow bullied on the road. You have to stop anticipating their behavior because you will be disappointed. The traffigators in their cars have not been used for years and have lost their functions. Such that even when they progress to a “ Stanbic” bus, they still do not use traffigators. Junctions are approached at top speed to intimidate you and they draw into the road without warning.

Then as you safely get to work and heave a sigh of relief the evening trek awaits you, buy hey enjoy your day, the evening will take care of itself.

Then as traffic builds up in the evening, police, army, CEPS, prisons, immigration staff in private cars decide that they are important and drive in the middle of the road towards oncoming traffic. Of course some “daring” private car owners mostly with children in the cars follow the “officers”. Then the trotro and taxis follow. Others decide to drive on the shoulder of the road. Soon enough there are three or four lanes and total chaos. A special challenge indeed.

Want some solutions?

  1. Put some soothing music on and endure the drive
  2. Call a police officer you know to complain and hope someone will be sent to sort out the traffic
  3. Pray
  4. Any other suggestions?


Our Schools

Finding and keeping a child in a good school is a special challenge. Crèches that are good are expensive, but hey it’s ok to pay for the service. What about the disappearing diapers and baby food? You better not complain or your baby will develop nappy rash and you don’t want that. Then there are the teachers who demand envelopes for Christmas, Easter, long vacation, their birthday’s your child’s birthday, their uncle’s funeral.

Then fees are increased, and then you are asked to donate for school project, for school donation, for special projects etc.

Then you move on to the primary level and you need to go for “interview”. And a five (5) year old is quizzed and prodded by “experience” people who know what they are about.

You get into school and you pay and pay and obey and obey till your child passes through the system. And so it goes on through the academic system.

And then successive governments decide to change the education system, curricula, and number of years according to their campaign promises. And so we go on.


Want some solutions?

  1. You change schools that worry you too much
  2. You take your children to “international schools” if you can afford it
  3. You take your children abroad.
  4. Any other suggestions?


Our Hospitals

So you live well and ensure you don’t fall sick and go to hospital. You queue to make a card. Whilst quite unwell you are asked your ethnic group and other statistics questions. All very necessary am sure but timing is everything isn’t it? You have to deal with nurses who want to you to shout “Yes Madam” very loudly to their call. Who have no smile and sympathy for anyone whether or not you are in labour.

You queue to see a doctor who mostly is in a hurry and if you are not lucky will not even touch you or your sick child to examine. And if you are lucky to be physically inspected who answers mobiles mid inspection to talk to their wife about food, or a friend about meeting afterwork.

If you are on health insurance be sure that the drugs written for you will NOT be in the hospital pharmacy.

If you go to the lab, you get unsympathetic gossipy talkative lab technicians take your blood whilst conversing with colleagues.   Unprofessionalism here I come. If you are doing “fasting blood sugar” test, be sure you have a strong constitution. Time wasting is the order of the day. Appointments are useless. Bossiness is part of the game. Power play, queue jumping, who you know. Blissfully you leave the hospital feeling sicker but relieved and pray you don’t come back there for a long time.

Want some solutions?

  1. Get a private doctor (if you can afford it)
  2. Go to a private clinic.
  3. Don’t get sick or pregnant
  4. Any other suggestions?

to be continued —–