Most people have a ‘boga’ friend or relative whose occasional pilgrimage back to the ‘motherland’ disrupts their schedule. For many, this trip from these friends can be a bit of a pain in the behind. Kwaasi the Cunning Linguist, for one, has had it up to here and shares his painful reasons why.
BOGA-/borger /n/(derog. offensive)- A not too sophisticated Ghanaian with an idealistic and simplistic view of life who has managed by dint of his/her perseverance to go to a country usually in Europe, toils there and decides to revert to his/her country of origin for a few days usually for a funeral, a marriage ceremony or has been deported (and is working on going back)….
THE OFFICIAL GHANAIAN HATERS DICTIONARY
- Airport – I think this is where my problem with the Boga starts. The fact that they have like a hundred relatives here, but you have somehow become the “Chosen one”. You are chosen, not because you are the closest relative or friend but because you own a car or have a house to yourself. Luckily it is not
too difficult to spot the quintessential Boga from Yankee, Babylon, Germano or Holland (YBGH) with their humongous, whilst a couple of porters lug along about three more bags….each! (you take a deep breath – lights, camera, action ….”give a weak smile and wave -it’s go time )
- The Voyage Home – You might be thinking, “ah being a chauffeur is that bad”, until the Boga opens his mouth: “Wow, Ghana has changed, its getting developed” (usually expressed when you get to the Accra shopping mall).Ghana has changed because of a mall? Negro please, this is standard fare the world over. The more blunt ones, depending on where they are coming from or the level of exposure they had before they left simply say “ In YBGH everything is different” (yep it certainly would be considering it is another frigging country.)
- The Ultimate Gift – This is the part I love! Not because I am going to get a gift from this Boga, I just love surprises. Last time it was a useless toothpick holder, another time I got a $1.00 shirt that said “I’m too Cool for you”, I wore it exactly one time because as soon it was washed it faded and the letters disappeared. So like a Magician, the Boga dips his/her hand into his magic bag of tricks and hands you yet another completely useless item, guess what it was…….. a poster of Barack Obama (yay, this is exactly what I have always wanted to put up on my wall, awesome!)
- The Perfect Sleep – Ok, to be fair this does not happen all the time but the Boga is ready to tell you all the fantabolous tales of YBGH like it was on another planet…mostly its 12am …I “needs” to sleep…wake up and work (that is how we do in GH)..but no this Boga won’t write his/her autobiography and
let me read it later, he just wants to go on and on about all these “interesting tales featuring the Boga and other future Bogas…and then I hear “sorry I can’t sleep my (f$$$$$$) biological clock” or whatever…something about a clock. Not sure why I have to be punished for that. But in a nutshell, Boga cannot sleep so neither can you.
- The Next Three Days -Expect your quintessential Boga to continue yapping and have an opinion about every single thing he/she knows nothing about. In case you didn’t know, staying in YBGH makes you a lot smarter than the average Ghanaian and much more sophisticated. Fashion? Don’t go there! Technology? Nigga please the Boga owns an I-phone 5! Food? Yes, he worked at Burger King for 2 months…not sure how that make him a connoisseur
on red wine, but he sure thinks it does. Expect to hear “oh my God, is this what they call Chinese food here? You should come to YBGH and taste proper Chinese food…Want to get back at them? Take them out to the club on Friday and do the Azonto dance. I guess they didn’t see that coming!
- Cars – The quintessential Boga is going to ask about…your car, where he can get a car or harangue you about the transport system. More often than not the truth is- The Boga never owned a car before the exodus did not own a car in YBGH but now wants a car. A party?…”Sorry I don’t have a car”, “how do I get there…do cars go there?” (No people in GH, the country you were born in before you left barely 2 years ago, trek everywhere!) What happened to taxis if you don’t want to use a trotro or Metro mass!!!… I get… it they
are expensive beside “it is 10 bucks, OMG….that is ridiculous!”
- Cash – When it comes to cash the Boga has the irritating ability to convert everything into Dollars, Pounds or Euros. The Boga is shopping with you and you’re about to pick a pair of trainers, hair cream or new plasma tv…PING!! Conversion Alert!. ”This is a hundred bucks… ridiculous! in YBGH it is only 10 bucks…..” “oh, things are so expensive here, next time tell me and I would bring this down it is only 2 bucks there” (great idea, it will sure beat the Barack Obama poster you gave me). Sadly in spite of all this conversion the Boga, due
to grabby relatives, higher standards like “Evian” mineral water, and higher taste in the necessities of life means they run out of money before they depart. Some end up borrowing from you by asking straight up “can I have fifty dollars or indirectly, “can I use my credit card here” (eyes rolling to the back of
my big skull)
- The King’s Speech – I usually have a knack for figuring out accents, even the difficult ones like Australians, New Zealanders, but the Bogas I know, mostly have accents I can’t quite place; They drawl, they are nasal and they talk like they have saliva in their mouth. Their accent is not Yankee (north, midwest or south), not from anywhere in London (north or South) and not from Germano or Holland….some call these accents LAFA…I don’t know how they perfect it but when they speak Ga, Twi or Ewe all trace of this accent disappears and for a brief while they almost sound like my long lost friend.
- Wall Street and Higher Learning – These Bogas also come back after being abducted with higher business acumen- they want to sell coffee and latte, ice cream and frozen yogurt, get into real estate (buy hectares of land in places like Cantonments, Labone and Airport). Wow, why didn’t I think of all that, and recently some want to get into oil and gas. Many don’t finish a first degree but proffer advice on things I majored in, because…. “Gad Bless Americar!”
- Green Card – By the time the Boga is going (and trust me by this time you can’t wait), she/he drops this line, “I have finally gotten my papers/my stay/my green card” or whatever legal document that allows them to stay in YBGH
“forever”. It usually takes me a few seconds to comprehend the enormity of this (Does that mean they would not actually be coming back again???…yay!) You promise to call each other more regularly and to come visit next summer or winter (you said December and she said winter)….you look at your childhood friend disappear into the airport and breathe a sigh of relief. Thank God, that’s finally over…you wish him/her a safe journey, and hope they stay in YBGH and never step on the shores of the Gold Coast (I mean Ghana) again!