Classy slums is how I want to call it when I found myself on the 10th of January, 2022 amidst four young vibrant men who were happily discussing an ongoing football game. I think it was the African Cup Of Nations (Afcon) group B qualifiers between Senegal and Zimbabwe being played at the Kouekong stadium located in Cameroon but telecasted live on television.
The mood when I chanced on them was that of happiness and excitement. They were also engaging in constructive criticisms and expressing interesting chain of thoughts on the on-going football game. They had historic in-depth knowledge about football in general and predicted in unison which country will make history at the end of the various group matches played.
Okay, let me not lose sight of this write up’s focus which is to share my experience in various parts of a slum at various times on different days. My perception changed! Growing up I was made to perceive the slums or for want of a better word “the residence” as a “no-go area”. I(we) were made to believe that the slums where ever it was located across the country (Ghana) were made up of individuals who were always ready to fight.
The fight was at the least opportunity coupled with criminal activities engaged in on a daily basis. Some persons even described them as “national issues” but my experience over a consistent two weeks period proved otherwise in the classy slums. Experience they say is the best teacher and I gained an experience I will cherish for a long time.
Pardon me if I refuse to mention the name of this particular classy slums but if push comes to shove, well I might. Let me give you a clue. This area is located in the Greater Accra region of Ghana. Some would call this slum, “Zongo” but that’s where my other profession aside writing, took me for 2 weeks where I engaged various individuals from different backgrounds. I worked predominantly with schools whiles there and when on break, I took walks in and around the neighborhoods.
There were various well situated businesses which if I did not have a fore-knowledge I was in the slums, will have pass for an international business hub. These business were conducted in a serene environment in the slum oh!
Also areas were demarcated in the classy slums properly as residence and I could walk through without ending up in another person’s room compared to stories I was told when growing up. Actually the friends I made over the two weeks’ period were willing to have me integrate into their neighborhood. Such nice people. I was taught a few Hausa words and after my two weeks project I sure will be returning to take active classes in the language.
The schools I worked with were situated on storey-buildings so I actually had a bird’s eye view of the classy slums neighborhood and I was impressed with all I was seeing. Most households had solar panels powering their residence. Not to say the slums do not deserve this but how many residential areas have solar panels and this I found to be cool. The level of comfort exhibited was classy. Most rooms were fitted with air-conditioners with sliding doors and windows.
In the mornings most of the guys gathered at various food joints in the classy slums and ate from one bowl amidst great conversation and joy. Great unity if you ask me was exhibited in the classy slums. The food sold were also hot and neatly presented but I could not usually join in because I was tommy filled from home.
For me it will be wrong to describe all slums across the country as a “no go area”. I believe times has changed and to it should be the perception about people in general. When I make my first millions, I might move to this particular slum and when you see me just shout out “the slum millionaire”.