Street Flooding in Accra

The rainy season is well underway in Ghana!


Yesterday afternoon, I left the house to eat at a local restaurant and then visit friends in Roman Ridge, where I used to live. Shortly after my plate of Thai noodles arrived, the power went out. I looked outside, noticing how ominous the sky had become during my meal.

I needed to get my bill ASAP. I looked around the dark restaurant for the waiter; he was nowhere to be seen.

As thunder continued to sound; I approached the door of the kitchen. I knocked several times, only to get no response from within. I gingerly opened the door, and found exactly what I was looking for. My waiter was sitting in a chair, with his head leaning against a desk. He was fast asleep. I cleared my throat, and he lurched awake. “Eii sorry-o,” he repeated several times.

After receiving my bill, I grabbed money from my wallet and quickly placed it on his bed [desk]. Rushing out of the kitchen, I grabbed my bag and reached for the door. But alas, my speed was in vain.

Zeus was having a major temper tantrum. The sky – bleak and gray – was lit up with continual flashes of lightning. The rain was coming down nearly sideways. A few brave souls could be seen outside covering their heads with plastic bags and dashing for the nearest bus stop.

Leaving the restaurant at this time would’ve been madness, so I sat and read The Dressmaker of Khair Khana for the next hour. As soon as there was a lull in the storm, I threw my Kindle in my man-bag and ran for the main road.

I underestimated the extent to which the storm had slowed. It was still pouring; in the 20 seconds it took me to reach the main road, my clothes were drenched.  I tried flagging down a taxi, but none would stop because the right lane of the two-lane road was flooded.

It was raining so hard that it was difficult to keep my eyes open; I couldn’t keep waiting for a taxi on the side of the road. I ran for a balcony covering nearby, where several Ghanaians stood there waiting for the rain to finish. As I approached, they scooted over and made room. All eyes were on me, the obruni, as I proceeded to squeeze out a steady stream of water from my drenched clothing.

Over the next two hours, I stood under the balcony with the women and children [and recorded the video above]. I was soaked to the core and shivering from wind gusts. Nonetheless, I was kept amused by watching people make their way through the street. Schoolgirls waded through the water, holding their dresses high to not become dirty from the murky water. A ‘pure’ water seller balanced her bucket upside-down on her head to use as a makeshift umbrella. At one point a motorcycle driver sped through the flood water at 30+ MPH, creating a stream of water that rose high above his head.

At long last, the rain slowed to a drizzle. I said goodbye to my friends whom I shared the cover with, and waded through the knee-deep water to reach a trotro. I got off at my street junction, elated to finally make it home.

My heart sunk when my eyes beheld the following sight:

The above ‘river’ is the dirt road to my house. After unsuccessfully waiting for 30 minutes for the water to recede, I went to a internet cafe to waste the day away. At night I returned, found a taxi driver crazy enough to drive through foot-deep water to my driveway, and took a much-needed shower before falling fast asleep.

2 Replies to “Street Flooding in Accra”

  1. And back home in Florida we have Tropical Storm Debby flooding streets and spawning tornados. The sun is expected by the time you return.;-) Have a safe journey!  

Leave a Reply