Monday, October 10, 2005

Where the Streets Have No Name

Have I mentioned that the streets in Accra often don't have names? Seriously. Never do we get directions like you are used to getting. In Ghana, directions are the useful kind, you know, like English majors give-

"Go past the river and turn left at the third pink house".

"Go to the Shell station, turn right, go about two miles and turn at the big tree".

With no mail delivery, addresses are a formality I guess. And I know from experience that our street name and house number gets me absolutely nowhere, but "Go to the new mall, etc. etc." gets me-

"Oh, yes, yes, yes! I know where you are!".

Many streets simply have no name, and often the ones that are named are not exactly creative inspirations- e.g. Lagos Ave. - okay, major road, leading to my house more or less. 1st Lagos Road- branches off Lagos, goes nowhere. 2nd Lagos Road- ditto. 3rd Lagos Rd.- ditto. Etc. There are 5 that I know of.

The roads that DO have names are often pricelessly colorful though- Dadeban (Dah-day-bahn) Road, Kokomlemle Link (just like it's spelled with long 'O's), Cantonments Rd., Adabrake (Add-uh-brack-uh).

Often the roads are named in a purely common sense way- the road from Accra to Takaradi is...wait for it...the Accra/Takaradi Road.

If there is a name for a street, there is often a sign telling you what it is, although usually only for the street you may be turning onto- so if you don't know what street you are actually ON, you are out of luck. Color me out of luck a LOT.