Watching Ghana fly by my windshield, I see familiar needs in unfamiliar places. I see oddities that I’ve never seen before. I see more West African Dwarf Goats than in all of Kentucky and West Virginia put together. And I see faith and free enterprise combined in (how shall I put this respectfully) other creative ways?
Consider some of the business signs that we pass in a matter of about twenty minutes. I cannot possibly make these up. I am so busy writing (or chuckling), that I cannot even pick up my camera. I know marketers back home would kill to see this stuff.
Let me share some standouts from the experience.
Do you need a mechanic? Are you broke-down or dented up?
Get your vehicle to “Rosary Radiator Service” or “In God We Trust Fitting Shop.”
Thinking about building something? A new house? A fitting shop, perhaps?
Give your business to “Greater Grace Cement Blocks,” “The Hand of God Sawmill,” or the “Power of Trinity Construction.” Nobody would cut corners with a name like that!
On the other hand if they do rip you off, could you sic the Law on them? Imagine how that conversation would go.
Me: “Your honor, I wish to file a claim against ‘Your Savior’s Wing-dings.’”
Judge: “What? Git out of here before I hold you in contempt.”
Me: . . . !
Back to reality. Where I come from, the hair salon is always a place of prayer. You never really know how things are going to turn out. But that WOULD NOT happen (or it might not matter) if we had establishments like: “Last Hour Haircut” or “Repent Haircut.”
Be sure to leave a good tip, though. It’s not everyday that you get a two-for-one deal: ablution with absolution!
Got a grocery need? Fill your bags at “Thy Word Mart,” or “Amen Cold Store.” (Just for the record, anything cold in Ghana gets my Amen automatically.)
Disappointed by recent developments?
Take them to “Trust God Photos.”
And I know some of you tofu-eating, gak-milk-drinking health elitist-wackos might struggle at the thought, but how could anything on a menu from this place be bad for you?
“God is Able Fast Food.”
I feel the cholesterol-jam in my veins breaking up as we drive by.
Somewhere in this journey, we stop. Likely to pee. Or look for more fufu. Leaving the others to their devices, I find this sign and study it carefully. Feel free to join me in the safety of your own home. I’m not exactly sure why I find this sign so captivating, other than (1) l like the fireman-exterminator combo approach, and, (2) I believe it is rare these days to find professionals who not only dress the part, but are competent in dealing with both spitting cobras AND stinging scorpions, not to mention the other zillion things that breed under your bed in the tropics. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind having my own combo fireman-exterminator suit to wear around or sleep in while visiting the tropics, if air-conditioners came in the standard model.
To conclude this nonsense, please behold one last roadside jaw-dropper. James is especially keen that I see this and goes out of his way to make it possible. I am indeed flattered.
Note the photo below.
Downstairs is a business with a sign that we have become quite accustomed to:
“Saviour International Stationery & Bookshop.”
I’m sure they offer an array of very nice pens. But this is not the spectacle we’ve come for.
Upstairs is a coffin showroom. Yes, that is what I said. Now in Ghana, this is not so unusual. I have seen several. Apparently people window-shop for this sort of thing all the time. From their cars. As they drive by at 100 km/h.
Wife: “Oh, Honey! STOP! Look at that one! It definitely goes with your hair color. And just look at the texture!”
This establishment sells customized coffins. I AM SERIOUS IN THIS. Look on the one on the far left. That is a cocoa pod, right out of a Donald Sutherland flick. If your life was invested in cocoa, does it not make sense that you would want to be to coached into eternity in a pod of your own? Next to the pod is a large Canon camera, the perfect choice for that little photo-bug in your family. I think the next one over is an eagle (more contemplation needed here). Beside that is a pineapple (is that not the perfect choice for your favorite uncle?), or a jet engine, or a cow in a basket, or what appears to be a bumper car from an amusement park. With wings. You must admit that the color scheme is so in this-year.