I have chosen to make my time useful in any commercial vehicle I take. On Sunday, I took a white Sprinter vehicle to Kaneshie. I reached for my white earpiece from my pocket and slotted them inside my ears. I selected one of my playlists whose first song is Ekii ki mi by Wisa and Luther. I listened as the car drove past other cars who could pass for scraps because of the way they maneuvered on the road as though they are carrying heavy containers.
Our car ran into thick traffic at the McCarthy Hill Junction with people gathered across the street. I felt the weight of curiosity weighed heavily on my shoulder as those who sat behind me reached their heads out to scan the scene as though athletes who need the head to win a race. Meanwhile other passengers had begun to question why people are gathered on the street—as if by such questions they would be filled with every detail. Often they get to satisfy their curiosity since they end up eliciting numerous responses. As the vehicle snaked through the jammed vehicles to the traffic light, I saw a body of a man say 28 or 31 on the floor with a cloth on him while two men are busy changing batteries from a phone to make a call. The street was packed with onlookers—people who are moved by common human feeling to show their sympathy and pay their last respect to the man lying down.
I was moved by the emotion of inevitability of man’s destiny—that we’ll all die one day. I saw a sprinter packed by the other side of the road with its windscreen smashed. A man who could pass for the driver was trying to convince some people about his innocence and how the man lying dead was knocked down. A woman let out tears while looking at the dead man. Perhaps she’s human. Or something like that.
As we left the scene, a man sitting by me stammered. “At least the driver would be freed if the police effect an arrest”. Another voice behind contributed. “The laws in Ghana are effective on the poor and not the rich”, he said. The driver who was supposed to concentrate on the driving was looking at the inside mirror. He smiled when someone said “the poor has no honor in this country.” He looked at the man in the front sit. “The driver would only take care of the dead man’s funeral and that would be it. His insurance would cover him.” I smiled and removed the right earpiece from my ears to give them the feeling of being listened to.
“That’s why in Mali, there’s a road for cars and that of motors. They both don’t get to use the same road as is the situation in Ghana,” the stammerer contributed again. His phone begun to ring. He scrambled for it from his pocket and raised it to his right ear to listen. He spoke Hausa. He turned to my direction when he was done with the call. “Is the dead person a woman?” he asked. Everyone was surprised. Perhaps. One of the men in the front seat turned to look at him as though saying ‘are you serious with what you said?’
“He’s human”, I said inaudibly. He repeated the question this time the words were tossed slowly. We chorused to him that it’s a man.
As we continued the journey I began to interrogate what makes us all human. Is it our ability to sympathize with one another in moments of distress, grief, and loss? Or the recognition of our shortcomings as fallible beings? Or a combination of both? When I got down at First Light, I scanned the left and right side of the street before crossing over. My consciousness level was at its all-time-high because of the scene of the man who has been sent to his grave, at least untimely, by that sprinter parked at McCarthy Hill Junction. This reminds me of how we’re careful when disaster hits. Or in the case of those persons who visit the morgue to take a dead friend, relative, parent, colleague or sibling for burial. They are exposed to other dead bodies and immediately get hit by the message that ‘nothing is built to last.’ At least not on this earth. In times like this, we are more careful than ever. A drop of needle even attracts our attention. Our thinking resonates with that of our creator. We turn to fellowship more with our creator through prayer and the reading of the Bible or the Quran. However, we return to our carefree and irresponsible lives when things revert back and normalcy restored. At least this cycle is repeated every day. This is who we’re. You may call it shortcomings. However, this is what I am convinced about, that our shortcomings are what make us human. At least that’s how we’re wired to react and respond to our environments.