Tweet You are sitting and watching television and unexpectedly everything goes dark. For a moment, you wonder did you forget to add more money to your pre-pay electric meter, but then the familiar sounds of "Oh!" fill the air. This is the universal verbal cue for lights off in Ghana. Because undoubtedly the interruption of power has interrupted whatever business or pleasure you were doing and well you have to verbally display your dismay at the same time as your neighbors; I'm sure its some unwritten cultural rule.
So the sound of silence feels the air, and then the waiting begins. Maybe its just two hours today, or perhaps 6, if the power gods have frowned on you prepare for 12-18 hours of darkness, and well those are the most dreaded times. Lying in a dark room, no air moving, musquitoes chewing your body, as you wonder which will kill you first malaria or heatstroke.
How I remember the times and problems of the common Accra man. Le sigh and then I moved up. You see the Jeffersons moved to the upper East Side, the Evans in the end moved out the projects, and I my friends have moved to Roman Ridge. A part of town where the power is always on and the tap is always flowing. It is the promised land in the city of Accra and I have been lucky enough to make it in.......for a quite a reasonable rate might I add.
When I first came to look at the place and they told me the power never goes out and water always runs, I knew it was a hoax. After all, living here for three years has taught me that nothing always works in Ghana. So yes, I was extremely skeptical, but for the price they were calling I decided to give it a try. Plus, it really really is a cute apartments and finding a decent apartment in Accra is probably like finding a decent apartment in New York...almost impossible. So I grit my teeth paid my year's rent and moved in. And much to my surprise...they were right, everything works.
Over the past two months my water has only not ran for 6 days, which is like 10% of the time. A statistical miracle I'm sure for most countries in Africa. And the lights never go out. And when they do. I simply just sit and within 30 minutes they are back, and 30 minutes is actually considered a long time.
Ahhh, the lap of luxury. And yes, I enjoy every moment of it. Now I will admit sometimes when my friends are forced outside of their homes because of lack of power and they invite me out, I do feel bad declining their invites. But moments like this also give me a better understanding of Marie Antoinette. I simply pick up my remote, flip through the channels, plug in my cell phone and turn up the fan and say, "Let them eat cake." I'm in Roman Ridge B******CHES!
Until Next Time Smooches.