The rural always feels like I have taken a step back in time, before modernity, before electricity, before washing machines and Wifi. Tamale in Ghana felt different. Its a rural village with a sports stadium like The Wembley, and this crazy large swimming pool where the cost as maybe 20 cedes I can’t remember. Motorbikes are the in thing, in fact my Air BnB host came to collect me at the station with one. There I stayed with his father – the Vice Chief of The Village
He is a big deal here, once I got lost and I asked the people where the Vice Chief lives – they took me home.
If you go to Ghana, take the flight to Tamale, or the bus whatever just go.As part of the air BnB (how I got to stay here) there are various activities you can do to fully immerse you into village life. From washing new born babies the traditional way, learning how to spin cotton with the female elders, and even volunteering in the nearby hospital if you have the qualifications.
However, all is not well in this modern traditional paradise – and its. our fault. As Africans we seem to be on this race to modernise everything, wear ripped jeans and not look too “backward” to the West. As a result we have neglected our brother and sister in the rural areas. Instead of investing in their infrastructure we blindly pretend that we don’t know the state of their hospitals, water issues, food issues – especially in my country in Zimbabwe where we had a drought recently.
If my perfect Vice Chief didn’t have a son in the West sending him money or running this Air BnB, life would be harder than is already is. Ok so thats a story for all African countries, but we can appreciate that if people in the towns are struggling for money and rely on remittances its worse in the rural areas right?. In Sudan Remittances of families in the West sending money home because is 34% of the country’s GDP, for Zimbabwe its 13% as you can se below. The Vice Chief said people need electricity to charge their phone, for communications. Whilst I was impressed by the adapter in my room and fan and the investments of electricity cables by the Ghana government – electricity is sadly being cut off because people can’t pay. Subsistence farming as we know doesn’t really make a lot of money, it means you have food etc
Electricity in the 21st century is not a luxury. Thats why I really love how the government is trying in the sense of the investments in electricity cables etc. Thats a big step. Next step is affordability.
He is the Vice Chief and when my friend came to visit me she was in awe of him – nobody just gets to visit the Vice Chief I guess. Another little boy came to offer a kola nut, which I heard is to signal that they require his presence at his home. All these things can still happen with electricity in the areas whether we have to subsidise it. Can be done with adequate investments in the health care systems, I mean if the town people find it so expensive with our full time jobs, what about some of our rural brothers and sisters when we know there is an income gap.
Oh what I would give to be back. Some people volunteer here for months on end he says. Its not a place you want to leave. I did get a little scared when I went to the toilet at night and the goats were sleeping outside my door. Cuties