Friday, November 26, 2010

The Streets of Ghana

Driving around Ghana’s towns and cities has been most fun and interesting. There are literally thousands of little family businesses along the roadside where people bring their produce from their small farm to sell in a makeshift booth or open table. But besides the produce you’ll find a large section of roadside businesses where a few mechanics might be doing car repairs, or perhaps a plumber, a pharmacist, brick maker, or a furniture store represented by a couple of sofas. No other furniture, just a couple of sofas, usually matching. Or you’ll find a pile of used tires for sale. Sunglasses, dry goods, fish prepared in a multitude of ways. I asked about the used tires. There are thousands of them. The new tires are so expensive that most have to purchase used tires. If there is actual tread on 50% of them I’d be surprised. The government is looking at regulating and perhaps subsidizing the cost of new tires since the used tires are creating a huge road hazard for those that are using them.

Anywhere that the traffic slows down to a mere crawl you’ll find individuals carrying their goods on their head, bombarding your vehicle looking for someone to spend a little money on their fruit, homemade cooking, home goods, water bag and even a coke. We even saw one guy trying to market some bathroom scales.

The most fun thing about the whole commerce thing is the names chosen for these roadside businesses. Here are some examples,

God and Sons Telecommunication LTD (how can you not buy a phone here!)

Majestic Way Bakery (Now that’s has to be good bread!)

Faith Men Company Car Wash

Blessed Fruit LTD

All Mighty Hairdressing (imagine getting your hair done here? I’m thinking that you will not find a better cut anywhere!)

Lord is My Light Enterprises

Glory of Breakthrough Plumbing LTD (Now that’s a plumber that knows what everyone is looking for!)

I don’t think that I am exaggerating when it say that at least 1/3 of all businesses here have a name that’s been spiritualized in some form. If you found a yellow page book here (and I don’t think there is one), you would find thousands of businesses that start with Blessed, or Mercy, or Majestic. Some do it for luck while others are honestly giving God glory. I’m thinking the former more than the latter.


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