My stay in Ghana keeps getting extended. Lately, I’ve been thinking I’ll be here much longer than I want.
Thus, I’ve been catching myself daydreaming about the things I’ve been putting off buying.
If I had known I would be in GH for 3 years, I think I would have bought a car. I’ve spent mucho cedis on taxi fare. A friend of mine pretty much drives for a living. He said that he spends about $150-200 per month on fuel. Ten cedis here, five cedis there — after a while, it all adds up.
My hesitation stems from two sources. First, the advantage used car sellers have is significant relative to the US. There’s no CarFax nor certified pre-owned dealers. Sure, you can bring the car to a mechanic but that implies you have a trusted person who knows something about cars. Many flood damaged, stolen, and seized vehicles from the US and Europe end up in Ghana. Caveat emptor rules in Ghana. Once you’ve paid cash for the vehicle, good luck getting a refund or guarantee or any type of protection.
The classifieds website, Tonaton, displays the used cars offered in Ghana. Get a 2006 Mini Cooper for $5,000! Is that a good deal? Or a 2004 Mini Cooper for $3,000! Sh** that’s the cost of a couple of Apple Macs. Or a 2007 Toyota Yaris for less than $6,000.
Second, driving here is not that easy. It’s not as difficult as, say Egypt, Nigeria, or China, but driving still requires a certain level of stress and patience that I’m not sure if I’m ready for. For instance, much like certain parts of the US, drivers do not like to yield to cars changing lanes. What’s worse, traffic can be grindingly slow.
And yet, considering there are decade old cars on the road for less than $6,000, I sometimes think I could buy one and use it for a while.
Another thing I sometimes consider is buying some land, building a house, and moving in. Sure, I couldn’t afford anything in central Accra but the attempt would be good practice for when I build a house in the US. Someone was telling me he was going to build a 3 BR villa in Aburi with a pool for $80,000. Of course, in Aburi, you wouldn’t be connected to the main power grid and have to rely on solar energy and/or a petrol generator for power. Another friend bought some land far far away from Accra for $4,000 for an acre. I don’t know how much it would cost to build a small house with air conditioning but it can’t be much more than I pay in rent every year.
Anyways, building my own house is crazy talk. But a man can day dream.
My landlord provided the apartment furnished. Lately, I’ve been buying a few items to make it more my own. For instance, I bought some table cloths and blankets for the couch for $10-20. I’m afraid of buying anything too big because I’ll have trouble bringing it with me when I leave.
I doubt I’ll buy a car or build a house. Sometimes I feel unsettled here and those things would suggest some permanence. Maybe a little “wasted” furniture wouldn’t be too bad.