Growing up in Accra was fun. I recall the days when children were excited about rainfall because we would get the chance to bath in the rains. After the rains, I was part of the squad who went out on a snail hunting spree in search of some snails for the household. It was during this stage of my life that I discovered that some snails are edible while others are poisonous; same with mushrooms. Games like “ampe”, “tumatu” and clay moulding were also much interesting when played after the rains. For instance, “tumatu” involved, first of all, drawing lines on the ground. You then use sand-in-rubber to jump into each stage till you reach the final level of the game. In all of these processes, the wet ground facilitated clearer lines and proper landing of the sand-in-rubber (the material that determines which level you get into in the game). These days I don’t really see children playing these games as much as we did in those days; not on sunny days and neither on rainy days. Perhaps, floods are posing a bigger threat with regards to rainfall in Accra unlike before.
Rainfall seem to have become a scare for the people of Accra, especially following the June 3 floods that took away many lives. Nobody dares to play in the rains any longer. My Alajo(a suburb of Accra) days cannot be forgotten when it comes to talking about floods. If you live in the part of Accra where it does not easily get flooded thank Heavens. Those were sad times because rains entered our rooms and most of our belongings would be seen swimming in the water. For days, we had to hang our mattress and wet items in the sun which really did not show up during such moments. It was always a pitiful sight to behold. Sometimes we had to just make fun of the situation and laugh at neighbors whose shoes and “Ghana must go” bags were being carried away. Seeing them chasing after these things could really crack a person up with laughter, despite all that was going on around us.
Tuning in to my radio set this morning really brought back memories. Can you believe that somewhere last year, the floods carried away a listener’s kiosk which she found three days after? What could be the solution to this worrying issue which render people sleepless whenever there are rains? The feeling of loosing a property or a loved one to the floods is what terrifies people these days. One can only ask him or herself if the rains are a blessing or a curse. To me, the focus should be shifted from the rains and be brought to real human activities that pose this challenge in society. Some of these activities may include dumping of refuse into gutters(which I have observed on several occasions), littering around, and not regularly distilling our gutters.
Recently, I got stuck at Nkrumah Circle because of the rains. I was at the bus stop near Vodafone when the rains suddenly came down, and so I went to seek cover at a Filling station close by. After about ten minutes I decided to move from there and find the next available car to my house because the ground was gradually filling up with rains. On crossing to the other side of the road where I could get a car home, I realised the place was already flooded. There and then, I asked myself if the N1 Interchange constructors had considered building drains or not? The answer to this question is quite obvious. The radio station I tuned in to also had a Public Relations personnel from Zoomlion Waste Management Company, promising Ghanaians, and those in Accra precisely, that the Odaw river dredging exercise was underway. This really got me pissed. What will ‘underway’ in this context mean to listeners who need clear answers to this problem? I must admit that so much talk with nothing to show for it is killing us as a nation. It is rather funny how the Odaw river too has been blamed for almost every flood in Accra and yet little or nothing at all is being done about it.
Let’s be frank to ourselves, when last did you drop rubbish on the ground? Was it your fault that you dropped it off since you did not get any wastebin to drop them into? After every sanitation day program, do we collect the rubbish we remove from the gutters or we just leave them there? What is the permanent solution to flooding in Accra? As for me and my family, the little we can do is not to litter around and clean our gutters regularly. Can we guarantee same solution for people in our neighborhood and expect that they will willingly comply? As more and more people are migrating into Accra, are there measures to control waste management or should we just totally forget about finding solutions? I must also make mention that there are fewer drainage systems in most neighborhoods in Accra that could allow easily flow of water into the sea. Assembly men and Community leaders should quickly help check that more drainage systems are built.
My last statement should be read with meaning… Dear Accra Mayor and policy makers in the Accra Metropolis, save us the plenty talk and less work to show for it. Accra is our ‘city’ and we need to maintain that status without fear or favor. The last time I checked, a city is a central business district. This is where most of our investors and business partners come to deliberate on important National agenda and international market relations discussions. Do your possible best to save it. We are truly tired of all the promises and talks. The earlier you put your pens to paper, the better Accra it will be for all of us. You cannot expect us to pay taxes and not demand for solutions from you. Then we might as well keep our monies and use them to solve our own issues in the most efficient ways we can.
What is your take on the Floods in Accra? How have you been a victim to this flood situation? Is it the individual or government responsibility to solve this menace? I will love to hear from you. Let’s all help to build a better Accra together. Stop littering. Do the right thing. Also, don’t forget to spread the word.