Soon… (Kumasi, Ghana)

By Michelle Baker, KF11 Ghana

I have been in Kumasi, Ghana for about 10 days just in time for the rainy season. Many people living in tropical areas probably know that when the rain comes the city shuts down, along with the power and the water supply. When you ask, when will the rain stop, the reply is “Soon.” When you ask, when will the power come back, the reply is “Soon.” When you ask, when will the water come back, the reply is “Soon.” I am coming to realize that “soon” really means MAYBE in a few hours if you’re lucky.

A few nights ago, there was a terrible rain storm that caused the power to go out around town, including my apartment. After a long day at work, I came home to darkness and no food, and so I went to bed.

At about 5:00 a.m. the following morning, I woke up and was excited to learn that the power was back, so I hopped in the shower and lathered up my hair with shampoo. Of course at that exact moment, the power decided to go out again along with my water supply. Thankfully, I had some bottled water on hand and used it wash the shampoo out of my hair. I rushed to get ready and made my way to Adom, Kumasi’s city centre to meet my colleague to a catch a bus to a branch office located in Techiman, which is a few hours away from Kumasi. A colleague and I went to this branch office to conduct training on Kiva loans.

We rushed through the chaos of the central market only to learn that we had missed our bus. When I asked when the next bus came, the reply was “soon.” I asked “how soon from now, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour?” The reply was “it is coming now.” Nearly 2 hours later waiting in the heat, the bus finally came.

Techiman’s main road.

Arriving at about 11:00 a.m. at our destination, we learned that the power had been out since the morning as they also had experienced the rain storm. Our training required a computer, and without power, there wasn’t much we could do but wait. As you can guess, when I asked when the power was expected to be back on, the reply was “soon.”

At about 7:00 p.m., the power finally came back on permanently. We were able to assemble our group and present our training at 8:00 p.m., nearly 9 hours after we arrived. Under normal circumstances, I would have been highly agitated, however, you soon realize that this is the way of life in Ghana and the people are pretty relaxed about it. And so, it is my turn to adjust and just relax because the rainy season has only just begun!

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