The rains came down like Angel Michael was chasing them out of heaven. They gathered like an army and advanced through the gutters, the path specially designed for them to gully through–but they had company. The Everpures and Special Colas were in a heated battle over their space with the Rush and Adinkra wrappers. The black and white plastic bags, gum and biscuit wrappers were at the peripheries, pretending not to be taking so much space. The enraged water pushed through his new tenets with vigour until his strength was no more. Then he spilled over and took to the streets; pulling every object along and forcefully breaking poles and wooden shops, and seeping through windows and cracked doors.
I had a dream. I had gone to the pool with my friends. They insisted I bathed in the water. I relented for a while and finally decided to touch the water to find out how cold it was before stepping in. My hand moved slowly to stir the water. The chills got me to the feet instantly. I opened my eyes to see objects floating round and about me like balloons in water. The sleep vanished from my eyes like a whirl wind. Without a second thought, I rushed for the door. When I stepped into the water, it climbed up to my waist. I managed to reach the door amidst the floating items.
When I turned the door knob, more water rushed in. The water was gradually climbing to my chest. I saw a wooden wardrobe floating close by. I quickly reached for it and climbed to the top. It took me to the part of the pool where the water levels were relatively low. I got down, walked through the streams till I got to the open space where many others whose rooms had been captured by the water had also gathered. Then I heard the women screaming and pointing in the direction of the abandoned homes. I inched closer and heard Naa Klorkor screaming the names of her children. She was weeping terribly. Idrisu, a neighbour who had also survived the flood, drew nigh and whispered to me. The flood took all her three children away. She couldn’t save even one. I saw five other women in the same state being consoled by other women who might have lost less valuable objects to the flood.
What had I also lost? Had I lost something valuable? I remembered my school certificates and passport and licence; my valuable documents. Suddenly my heart began to ache. Tears gathered at the corners of my eyes. I looked away from the direction of the flood and blinked. My eyes opened to meet Naa Klorkor’s. I felt silly all of a sudden. That woman had lost three children, and here I was crying over lost papers. A vehicle pulled over. Everyone rushed in its direction. Suddenly I knew it was the rescue team. –but what was there to rescue again, the wardrobes or the microwaves? All the important thingspeople were gone.
At about 10pm, the rains had subsided. The waters were still stuck at our homes. The items were still floating. As I was contemplating on where to spend the night, I decided to take a stroll through town and probably find someone who was fast enough to save his phone. I wanted to call friends who were not affected by the flood, and find one to spend the night with. As I walked the streets, I spotted the choked gutters. I saw water sachets and biscuit wrappers that looked like mine. I saw the water still spilling over gently in bits unto the streets.
Guilt enveloped me. Then I searched my mind for avenues to dispense the blame. “The government should have constructed bigger drains” -so that I could now throw all my home rubbish in them? “Where were the Zoomlion workers?” if you ever walked in the night you will see how they tirelessly clean the city each night. Maybe I was waiting for the prisoners scheduled for community service to come and clean up my mess. I was educated. I could read. I knew a gutter when I saw one. I knew the purpose of the drain and street was far from collecting rubbish. Yet I threw them there anyway. It was painful for me to realise that my wrapper would be implicated in the cause of the flood; the flood that caused people to lose their loved ones and valuable items.
I cannot do much about how people build and set up their shops. I cannot do much about where they purchase their lands. There is this one thing I can do, I can throw my wrappers in a bin or keep them till I get to one. It won’t kill me -but the flood might. Wrong is not only when we cheat or insult or fornicate. It is wrong to throw rubbish about. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Yes, you can. If you won’t go littering about your place of worship, don’t go littering on streets and turning the drains into a garbage site. God is everywhere; even on the streets.
My heart goes out to all the people who have lost their loved ones to any flood. May the Lord be your strength.
© Phelyks Kwabena Agyemang