Here’s my winge/wish list for 2011 in no order of importance. In fact all of them are important and will go a long way to help improve the general image of Sierra Leone.
#1. Traffic & Bad Driving
I can guarantee you most drivers on the road don’t have any formal driving training. Oh yes they may have a driver’s license but that doesn’t mean they can read signs. I guess one can argue, there aren’t that many signs …nevertheless educated drivers make better drivers. People scratch cars (especially ocadas) drive in the opposite direction on one way street, overtake on the right (inside) instead of left, all sorts.
The worst is when some people decide not to wait in queue during traffic jams just like everyone else, but rather try to overtake on the opposite side of the road. More often than not they meet an oncoming car and a fight ensues making the jam worse etc etc. I can list a catalogue of sins compounded by the point below
#2. Old Cars
These are the greatest causes of traffic EVERRRRR… grrrrhhhhh… The roads are being done so we all expect delays but this almost always compounded by a broken down vehicle sitting in the middle of the road somewhere. Suddenly a journey that’s going to take you 30minutes more will now possibly have 1 hour on top! Taxis and poda-podas are the biggest culprits.
I say to the the government, instead of taxing brand new vehicles ridiculous amounts, old cars should be taxed more than new ones so that Freetown does not become the capital of throw-away ready-for- recycling cars which hamper our day to day activities.
I mean this is basic. Rubbish collection should be Top priority for any town or city authority. Clogged gutters, rubbish on the street and on the beach are bad for the health of people living day to day, not to mention bad national image.
I must acknowledge the fact that Lumley beach is far more cleaner since the new tourism Minister took office.
Still more can be done. What I notice is most of the rubbish on the street is caused by people throwing plastic rubbers after they’ve drank water. Solution: force companies to produce water in bottles only (This has been implemented in Ghana and has reduced street rubbish considerably). On cannot police every one but water companies surely can be regulated.
In addition, Reliable cleaning services need to be deployed, if the city council cannot do this on their own, they should hire a private company and hold them to account.
One last point, public bath houses and toilets need to be increased or created. Using public places for ‘nature calls’ is a public health hazard. Cleaner Salone, Healthier Salone, simple as that…
#4. Lack Of Courtesy
I look forward to the time when I’ll go to the restaurant and be served by a smiling or at least pleasant waitress or waiter who recognises that my being there pays his salary at the end of the month. 😆
Customer service is non-existent, you need help with light, water, electricity, health emergency, there’s no one to call or at least the numbers are not easily accessible. If you go to government as well as private institutions, the receptionists are oftentimes rude or just not available. I’ve been to a private business where, the receptionist was eating rice & cassava leaves at her desk!!! I mean…. man if it’s your lunch break just find somewhere to eat especially if you’re the first port of call for the business. The troubling thing was it seemed normal. The manager himself was there. Professionalism where are you?
#5. Lack Of Gratitude
People generally don’t say the simple words “Thank You” I find that astonishing and it’s something I’ve been struggling with over the past 3 years since we’ve been here. You do things for or give things to people they just take it and expect more….wow
‘#6. Illiteracy And Education
Now this needs major improvement!!! I could shout this over “vuvvzela”. ==Education, Education, Education!== For the sake of the next generation, the education system has to be overhauled and made to work. Schools are springing up everywhere but graduates still can’t spell. Is it due to lack of good teachers, facilities, corruption (pupils trading favours for good grades) or all? One recent university graduate put it poignantly that the university is churning out illiterate graduates. SAD.
This lack of literacy leads to so many other problems in the workplace at home and nationally. People who haven’t got a clue what they are doing at the work place. The one-eyed man who finds himself in the land of the blind, has to hold everyone’s hand and do their work for them too including basic things like spell checks etc.
If all the young men especially that wake up and do nothing all day just lazying around people watching and getting into fights would spend just two hours of their time each day learning a trade – for instance welding, carpentry, farming, driving, sewing, learning English and such like – conditions will improve for them and their families and Sierra Leone as a whole.
For my last point – Trustworthiness – I need another day to blog about it as it affects most of Africa too.