(All pictures in this post were taken with the iPhone)
A couple of years ago, right on this blog, I wrote about how I had been duped by a priest who sold me land he didn’t have the right to. At the end of the day, after much prayer, phone calls, begging for my money, getting a lawyer on his case and finally threatening to ruin his reputation in the press, I managed to squeeze out of him 50% of the money I paid for the land, which in actual fact was just about 30% of the money I had spent in acquiring the land, walling it, etc. It was a tough time in my life.
Venting online got me some very sympathetic and supporting emails. I was an emotional wreck at the time and every little support helped. I was also quite shocked to receive some self-righteous emails from folk who couldn’t wait to tell me how unfair it was to tarnish the priest’s image without giving him a fair chance to defend himself. (Defend himself??? I thought I was the victim!!!) After boiling with rage for a while, I came to realise they were quite right. I had no right to tarnish a person’s reputation without giving them a fair chance at self defence. I apologised the best way I could, and prayed they never get “419ed” in a system that doesn’t work, by people with friends in high places.
Whilst all these things were going on, my Shylock of a landlord was raising my rent like a lunatic baker pouring yeast into dough. The apartment downstairs had been turned into a church and those guys made sure I hardly slept. But what broke my heart the most, was when my wife returned home from hospital with Ato, our youngest son, just a couple of days old, and those church guys were holding all night services and screaming into microphones. I had a fresh baby, a tired wife, paying abnormally high rent and having sleepless nights. Those were tough days but tougher days were still ahead.
My sister had been talking about an auctioneer she knows, who came highly recommended. I was quite delighted to discover he was someone I already knew. He was a mate of mine from the University of Cape Coast. He showed me a few properties around Accra, and after I settled for one I thought I could afford and liked, I committed $15,000 to the transaction and from the moment he received the money, his attitude changed. He wouldn’t pick my calls, he would constantly cough up excuses and his stories didn’t always add up. So I called a few other friends who knew him and that is when the stories began. My good friend from school, it turned out, was now a con artist. Fortunately for me, I was able to grab him at a good time and retrieve every penny I had given him. I was shaken. I couldn’t afford the exorbitant prices all those real estate companies are charging for their badly built apartments and houses, my attempts to buy land and build myself had gotten me burnt by of all people- a priest, my landlord had increased my rent by 75% and I have a growing family. I have seen some tough days.
Why am I telling you all this? Well today, my tenancy-saga is thankfully over, due to the good advice and support of friends like Mawuli T., Mawuli A, Robin, Francis, Rhoda, Nana Benyi and a lot of close friends and family who encouraged and supported us either technically or emotionally to not give up and press on. Eight months after we started a new project on a land we bought for a very good price from the father of a good friend, we have moved in. The house is not completely done yet… but it definitely is habitable… and the wife and children love it.
So now, as you can see from the pictures, I live in Ghana’s answer to Malibu, an hour away from the madding crowd and enjoying my new life.