Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Half Rain




I spent my childhood in sunshine and occasionally in rain. On one weird day, we were playing five aside football on the pavements of L Road, Community 9, Tema. I don’t remember whether my team was winning or losing but I guess it didn't really matter in the end.

Normally when it starts raining, it is natural to dash for cover. Even children do that. On that mystical day, half of us did run for cover whilst the other half looked at us, wondering if we were alright.

We were drenched but they were as dry as Harmattan’s backside. And then finally, it hit us all. It was raining only on our side of the pavement. How's that possible? How could only my left had be getting wet whilst my right hand stayed completely dry? How could my left foot be wet and my right foot be dry?

Ten of us went for dinner in Luanda, Angola. The dinner bill was 5,700 United States Dollars. Our chaperon pulled out a wad of $100 bills and paid it off with the coolness with which people in London pay for chewing gum. The very following day, I discovered that just a few kilometres away from where we'd had that dinner in Luanda, other citizens survive on less than a dollar a day. I saw people eating uncooked cassava and groundnuts for supper. They live on the same pavement but it rains only one side.

I have had the same kind of experiences in Accra, Lagos, Lome, Abidjan, Dakar, Ouagadougou, Bamako, Monrovia, Banjul, Kampala, Yaounde, Johannesburg and Zanzibar. It seems to rain only on one side of the pavement in Africa.

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