Kwame and his spouse, Consolation, are driving from Accra to Kumasi with their English buddy Tom Arthur. It’s Tom’s first go to to Ghana. He’s stunned to see how a lot meals is displayed alongside the roadside on the market to passing motorists. He’s much more stunned when Kwame stops the automobile and Consolation begins to cut price with the merchants who cluster across the automobile selling their wares.
For Tom, the additional they went the extra dramatic appeared the surroundings. The bushes grew even greater and nearer to the highway. He bathed his eyes in a greenness he had by no means imagined existed and which he discovered gently soothing. It was a greenness enlivened by frequent flashes of shiny scarlet or gold as they motored previous bushes in superb full flower. Nonetheless, not all of the sights have been nice. Tom was disturbed by the unhappy procession of animal corpses displayed alongside the roadside. Held aloft by the tail by boys and youths, lately executed mammals and reptiles of nice selection have been supplied on the market to passing motorists. When Tom expressed his disgust Kwame defined that bush meat was extremely wanted in Ghana and lots of drivers would cease and purchase. The most typical bush meat on provide was forest snails, as large as tennis balls, bought alive and strung collectively in bunches with robust braided strings of elephant grass. Their abundance was testimony to their close to common reputation.
After they entered Ashanti Area and pressed on in direction of Kwame’s house city of Konongo the highway rose and fell with a regularity that bred monotony in frequent commuters however fascinated Tom. It is like driving on a low frequency radio wave solid in pink laterite, he mused. The roadside wares turned extra enticing with every undulation. Lots of tomatoes, oranges and bananas got here into view, piled excessive on picket tables at strategic promoting factors. Lay-bys offered simple parking off the principle carriageway and quite a few automobiles have been stopped at every location. Additionally on provide have been farm merchandise much less acquainted to the Englishman: yams, plantains, pawpaws and avocados.
Because the automobile got here to relaxation at one such roadside market, Tom was alarmed to seek out the automobile instantly surrounded by a crowd of ladies and kids, all shouting the supremacy of their wares. Every vendor balanced a spherical tray of produce on her head whereas she held out a pattern specimen for immediate trial. Tom tasted an orange. He was equally stunned by the greenness of its exterior and the candy juiciness of its inside. He had beforehand supposed that every one oranges have been orange in color. Now he knew that among the sweetest have been inexperienced. The draw back was that they have been additionally filled with pips.
Consolation took the chance to inventory her larder for the week forward. The staple gadgets have been yams and inexperienced plantain. Tomatoes, onions and peppers took subsequent precedence after which smaller portions of most different commodities on provide. Tom was amazed on the ferocity of her bargaining. He could not hear what she was saying however he thought he caught the sentiment. Each value, it appeared, was grossly exploitive and solely inexpensive by a wealthy foreigner. Had been they enjoying Rule Britannia? By a protracted discourse of declining quantity each value was overwhelmed right down to a fraction of the preliminary asking. Then, most wonderful of all, an additional amount of produce was invariably added when the deal was achieved. No offence was taken on both aspect. Each events appeared to benefit from the confrontation. On the finish, purchaser and vendor parted the very best of associates, promising to do enterprise sooner or later at each alternative.
They drove on in direction of Konongo with the automobile full of the produce of the forest farms. Tom hoped that no forest wildlife within the type of snakes, scorpions or spiders had by chance hitched a journey, hid within the voluminous bunches of plantain. Consolation assured him that she had checked all the things fastidiously earlier than loading it into the automobile. There was some bush meat that even Ghanaians did not relish, she joked. In reply to his query she assured him that the snails too have been unable to flee from their binding.