Plates of Woe

we have an anonymous guest today!! why he has chosen to remain anonymous, no one knows ‘cos his work is good. but.. as always, i aim to please so i’ll let him feel free in his anonymity. enjoy and comment!! – Rowie 🙂

UPDATE!!! the guest is Delali Vorgbe follow him on twitter @ef0_delali 


During the second to last week of last semester, I took a much-dreaded trip to a bank in the ‘city’, from the amazing ‘village’ of Berekuso. ‘Much dreaded’ for a number of reasons: first, I was reluctant to leave the cool, serene village for the hustle of hot Accra. Second, I was definitely not looking forward to the long tro-tro ride I had to take into town. Regardless, I took a trot down one of the two paths that slither down the Ashesi hill into the village to find a car.

Now, one of my roommates and myself have christened the mentioned paths, by courtesy of a certain Buckminster [of Ice Age II], ‘The Chasm of Death’ and ‘The Plates of Woe’. Obviously, by their names, crossing these paths is no cheap task. A trip down The Plates of Woe will take you across slippery rock, smoothened by the friction of shoe sole against stone, and a vast expanse of steep flat earth with no vegetation to hang on to for support. Frankly hoofs, if you could grow any, would come in quite handy. Otherwise, if you were insane enough to travel The Chasm of Death, you would encounter an erosion-fashioned abyss that stretches for miles [ok maybe a few hundred feet], with jagged rock jutting out of the earth on either side, apparently not for footholds but to pull the unsuspecting traveller into the belly of its abyss. Between death and woe, I chose the latter… Tough choice. Okay, I must mention, albeit reluctantly, that you could simply walk down the nicely tarred road that leads from the school into the village. But that doesn’t come without risks either. If you were overcome by stupidity and took that route, you could suffer err…yes, a muscle cramp. So between death, woe, and a muscle cramp, I still went with woe. [Enter Plates of Woe]

Down in the village, and with a fresh lesson in rock skiing in the bag, I joined a taxi to Abuom junction. The trip was one not over road, but over moon craters in a vehicle that was no moon rover. At Abuom junction, I joined the first tro-tro I found going my way. As I climbed aboard and made my way through the labyrinth of foldable seats and spears [what else do you call a metallic shaft with a pointed tip?], to the back of the vehicle, a thought crossed my mind- If we crashed into anything, being impaled by spears would probably be the least gruesome of my injuries. Next after me, a woman with three children in her wake, all of them younger than seven years old, climbed aboard. She was having difficulty making sure her children were not killed as they maneuvered their way around, over, and under obstacles in the metal and foam forest they had just ventured into. As this woman got off the bus somewhere in Dome, the smile she wore clad her frail body with more dignity than the kabba and slit that hung loosely around her figure. She either was a content Ghanaian woman, or a black Japanese royal skilled in the art of emotion hiding. Hmm… hard to tell.

Over at the bank, I was entering a rage. The debit card I had run down The Plates of Woe, travelled across moon craters, and rode in a metallic contraption that looked like some device of torture from the mind of Jigsaw for, was not ready. What was more, the banking hall official seemed to think it would suffice to apologize for the bank’s abysmal service. It had been a month and a half since I had put in the request and paid for the card. I ranted for a full five minutes, and being able to do little else, was on my way back to Berekuso.

Back at Abuom junction, I joined a taxi whose door wouldn’t close unless The Incredible Hulk took his foot to it. Worse, it wouldn’t open from inside because there didn’t even exist a handle. As I travelled once again over moon craters, sitting as far from the defective door as I could while inadvertently restricting the driver’s ability to switch between gears, I realized I had travelled down The Plates of Woe more times than one that day. Funny thing was, like the woman who was clearly used to the life-threatening trip with her kids, I was tired of complaining. I had begun to accept it as the way things were in this country. That is my greatest worry now- that we will, as a country, come to accept that no other path but the Plates of Woe lies before us, and taking it is our best bet at moving forward. That accepting mediocrity is what has to be done, because for us nothing else exists.

As the taxi bumped on, I took out my not blackberry cell phone to start writing this post, and watched as my network bars disappeared at a rate of 1 per every 200metres closer to Berekuso I got- another trip down those damned plates! Climbing back up the hill to school via the now all too familiar plates, while making a sound like one out of Darth Vader’s mask, I thought to myself: “A trip down that Chasm of Death couldn’t possibly be any worse after all.”


6 thoughts on “Plates of Woe

  1. Karlo says:

    haha…. I have a strong feeling about who wrote this….. the english, the attention to detail and the story itself reminds me of one person….. I feel am 😉

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