In 1983, I was not yet a teenager but I remember vividly the journey to Wasa Akropong. Before this visit, I recollect an earlier visit when my grandfather passed away and we had to be in the holy village for his funeral. That was in 1980 and I remember the number of animals killed during the apaa, the practice where a curfew was announced for everyone to lock up their animals; any stray animal seen not locked during the curfew hours found its way into the pots of grieved mourners. For the 1983 visit, we travelled on a sleeper train from Accra to Tarkwa and continued to Akropong from there. It was a great experience for an Accra boy; we used to see trains run from Accra to Tema through the Dzorwulu station, which we could see from our vantage spots in Kotobabi. So riding in one throughout the night, with all the stops in all those remote villages, was like fairytale.
During my National Service, done in my holy village, my colleagues and I travelled on a train from Tarkwa to Takoradi, another memorable experience.
The last time I checked on our rail services in Ghana, the only lines running are the Nsawam and Asoprochona routes; I am doubtful that the Nsawam route is running now.
I had an interesting discussion with Sam and Elsie Forster the morning of 15 August, 2010, and that same evening, I engaged with my friends Kwaku Badu, Bob Palitz, Julius Sowu, Hannatu Sulley and Ken Ansah on Facebook, trying to remember the name of the spot where as a kid, I used to go and ride bumper cars. Julius and Hannatu came closest in giving us the location: right next to the PTC building opposite Wok Inn and what used to be a Goil petrol station at Nkrumah Circle.
Kwaku Badu added: “Nana, remember afterwards we will go to DANS BAR for some lovely drinks and ICE CREAM! Coming to think of it Ghana was very very nice in the 70s,” a sentiment echoed by Hannatu who said “Wow…..good old days in the 80s and early 90s – na Ghana yɛ dɛ (Ghana was exciting)!”
Bob Palitz, with his usual unusual way of looking at things humorously, asked: “You mean there was a time in Accra when you had to go someplace special for bumpy cars, rather than encountering them everywhere as we do now?”
When I watch Ghana Television (GTV) now, in the midst of the proliferation of TV stations, I reminisce about the past. In the days when we had only GTV, there were some great programs we looked up to. Thursday theatre, Akan drama, great movies, etc. Apart from about two programs on GTV, it is very original programming.
So the question in all of this perambulation in grey matter (Ace Ankomah’s way of describing the excursions in my mind) is this: How is it that with the passage of time, Ghana becomes less and less of “very nice”, and in our reflections, the past seems brighter than the future? Isn’t that a serious aberration? How come that in most of the topics we discuss, it seems that what we enjoyed in the past hasn’t improved but rather deteriorated? Consider our educational system, our road network, our hospitals? Of course, we have seen improvement in telecommunications, for example.
How can we work together that we will not only recall the ‘good old days’ but admit how we have added to those days and turn the verdict in favor of the future: so our children and the subsequent generations can look to a brighter future?
On the specific issue of fun parks for our children, Akofa Ata has the first suggestion: “Let’s invest in some at the park in Tema so our kids can go and have fun. And also some Arcade game consoles.”
NAD wrote this in August 2010.