This past weekend, we were all away: Charity, my wife, in Montreal, Canada, Frank, our son, in Accra, Ghana and madinghana at Morontuo, Ashanti. Morontuo is a little village at the lip of the meteor crater that holds Lake Bosumtwi, the only natural lake in Ghana and an ecotourism destination well worth visiting !
Here’s what it looks like from space:
And here’s what it looks like from the precipice.
Now do ya see the asokwa, that’s the big bird out on the limb. I think is an African Pied Horn bill-correct me if I’m wrong? Well, my good friend the elected former assembly man visited me one evening and told me a story:
Seems the ostrich and the asokwa were having a debate about who is bigger. So the asokwa tells the ostrich to go stand by the trunk of the tree and bounce up and down. Then the asokwa flies up in all his glory, alights on a branch he is accustomed to far out on a limb and bounces up and down. “Ya see, ostrich, I’m bigger! Just look what I’m doing to the tree and you???? Well, nothing is happening.”
So, my son Frank got back from Accra and I got back from Morontuo and we exchange stories….Frank’s were of money and glitz, of wild spending- not his -and luxury…Mine were of dire poverty where a couple of packs of pencils left by Four Villages Inn guests to be passed on to kids in a local school generated so much joy….
Then it comes to me, what a metaphor to view development! The cocky asokwa representing the capital city with all its bravado and deceit getting all the importance and attention while the ponderous, gullible ostrich represents the hinterland, getting little…..
And then I come across an article on the Ghanaian human rights organization Imani site http://www.imanighana.org that gives credence to my analogy. It is written by a diaspora Ghanaian-oh, if they’d only return-at the University of Guelph, Canada, entitled “Replicating Accra, Keep It Simple Stupid”.
The KISS (keep it simple stupid) sure caught my eye since the word ‘stupid’ is a no-no in Ghana and here it is used by a Ghanaian in reference to political leaders. Also, my high school French teacher used to call me “KISS”! Keep it simple, SCOTT!
It’s a great article that spells out clearly just where everything is going wrong and how it can be set right.
And two concluding additions: 1. Funnily enough in yesterday’s letters to the editor section of the Daily Graphic, Ghana’s oldest and largest daily, there was a call from a Mr. Odame of Suhum to MOVE the capital of Ghana from Accra to Cape Coast. After all Cape Coast was the original capital of Ghana. That would insure that Accra would be replicated at least once!
And 2, if any would-be tourists have read this far, follow the advise given on the Four Villages Inn website www.fourvillages.com GET OUT OF ACCRA -A CITY OUT ON A LIMB- AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN! In other words, FEED THE OSTRICH!