I returned to Ghana to find a country mourning the passing of its President, John Atta Mills. His unexpected death was unfortunate, and the nation has my sympathies.
The funeral is this week, and sirens have been a frequent sound on the streets of Accra, as government officials arrange funeral events and the Accra glitterati attend them. I heard a few sirens back in the States, where I was on vacation for a couple weeks. I actually found it jarring to see the sound accompany emergency vehicles. In contrast, in Ghana, sirens almost exclusively herald someone's motorcade, while emergency services are sparse and inefficient.
With all due respect to the late President, I think that it is tragic that resources can be marshaled to clear the streets for dead important man's funeral, but cannot be scrounged up to clear the streets to get help to a dying ordinary citizen.
I hope that when we hear the sirens associated with this week's-- and future-- motorcades, we take a moment to aspire to a Ghana where sirens are used to clear streets for the rescue of all people, not just for the convenience of important ones.
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I have worked in economic policy and research in Washington, D.C. and Ghana. My husband and I recently moved to Guyana, where I am working for the Ministry of Finance. I like riding motorcycle, outdoor sports, foreign currencies, capybaras, and having opinions.