People will be people.

Dear Kordei,

Sorry I have been away for so long, seminars and work have kept me busy. I miss Ghana… there I said it. I miss the banter when bargaining for the prices of a good, I do not miss the trotros1 that much but I definitely miss some of the quibbles and squabbles that happen over fares and seats. I miss walking in the market and then hear a random person say ‘’Obaa wo y3 kama’’2 or ‘’Tumtum Ahuofe’’3, that alone can brighten anyone’s day.  I miss eating Fanice4 on a hot day and having kenkey5 for breakfast. I miss the way most Ghanaians are quick to listen to one another’s problems and offer solutions. I miss how sometimes we just can’t mind our own business.  I miss the fact that almost everything can be repaired and I don’t have to buy a new one. I miss the people and the hospitality. Ghana has its downsides as well but this letter is about Germany not Ghana.

These experiences I am about to share with you have created this question in my mind. Do people make up a system or does a system make the people? That’s your food for thought. Kordei, I don’t even know why we try to discriminate against one another, because we are all one. The same God created us all, just different cultures and influences. You would think that a country that has constant supply of water and variety of detergents would lack unhygienic people but Nope. Hygiene is really a personal thing. It just dawns on you that we are all the same.

Where there are rich people, there are poor people. Where there is sanity, there is insanity. The same way where there are pleasant people, there are the unpleasant ones. During the summer, I did not like taking the bus and the tram. Why? Because it had a funny smell, some sweaty people and I am guessing who bath by just washing their face and armpits.

The same way on a hot day in Accra and you are quite unfortunate to sit close to some of the trotro mates6. You might leave the trotro with wrinkles because of all that grimacing. I have met some trotro mates who practice good hygiene though.

I had an experience with a pervert on the bus but I will have to tell you about that ordeal in person. People will be people! I know people say most nurses in Ghana are rude but for me I have been fortunate to meet the lovely ones. It is in Germany that I have met the rude ones. Since I have health insurance here, I decided to do a check-up. I have already been to a general physician so the next was a gynaecologist. My coordinator helped by giving me a list of those near my vicinity. Apparently, Gynaecologist here are hot cakes, they are busy and booked more than a salesperson trying to meet his target on a deadline day.

Everybody has a breaking point, for some time I was somewhat homesick. My German has gotten better over the months. At the first place, right after I asked the nurse for an appointment, she quickly told me they are booked for the year so until next year . I asked her if she knew any other place, I did not even finish my question and she said no. Right opposite that building was another one, I went in and this second nurse was even worse. She did not even let me greet and she said no appointments. I then said okay, I am ready to book for next year and she still said no. She did not even want to listen to me. I thought my German was that bad so I tried to ask her if she could speak English and the no was stronger than ever. I got to the parking lot and I just started to cry. Like real Annalise Keating7, ugly face tears. I decided to give up on the gynae appointments and then see a dentist.  In addition, thank God, I found a sweet, warm and hospitable dentist practice (Besters & partner) in the Vahr. The nurse though could not speak English, was patient with me. When I asked about a gynae nearby, she politely asked about the horrible place I visited earlier. I told her they were all booked. She then told me she did not know any other else. How sweet of her.

Then again, people will be people. The same day I met rude nurses, I met a sweet one too. The same way sometimes, someone can be inappropriate in a bus is the same way someone can offer you a seat because you are carrying lots of things. I really admire how the young ones still offer their seats to the senior citizens in the bus and tram.

Oh yeah, a new gynaecology practice opened up close to work so I have already booked one for this year. And oh yes. The nurses there were very lovely to the extent that I nearly forgot my earlier terrible predicament. They were so patient, one of them did not understand English but she was patient with me when I used to my phone to translate and talk to her.

It is funny how we are quick to  comment ‘’ This can never happen abroad’’. Some things may never happen and that is true. but when it comes to human behaviour, we are all way more alike than you think.

Kordei, this is to say that we are all one. We think, we cry, we laugh, we feel. We are one, so why the hate? Brings me to the question: Do people make a system or does the system make the people?

Have a great week!

Your Borga,

Ems.

Lexicons

  1. Trotro – a minibus that is usually overcrowded and it is a common mode of transport
  2. Obaa wo y3 kama –  Twi language from Ghana  for You are such a nice lady
  3. Tumtum Ahuofe – Twi language from Ghana for Black beauty
  4. Fanice– vanilla ice cream sold in a small sachet
  5. Kenkey – cooked fermented corn wrapped in corn husks
  6. Trotro mate – Assists the trotro drivers by collecting fares from the passengers
  7. Annalise Keating – Character played by Viola Davis in ‘’How to get away with murder?’’

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