- Babas: recommended to us by people that took their time opening the gates. We usually took these men (usually above 60) on to help them than for practicality. Mr Chris had a big bad leg and he limped. You got to your gate, tooted the horn and he opened the gat after maybe 4 years.
- Maiguards: These were typically northerners that actually could be security guards. The ones we have had were armed with bow and arrows and maybe a daggar or so. Really quiet and diligent. We ended that chapter when many years ago, my family went to the beach and we came back with a black and white rabbit that we thought we could keep as a pet. A week later, we all went out of town. We came back and Mohammed (the guard) told us that our rabbit was dead. The maid told us Mohammed killed it and ate it.
- Soldiers: From the days when my dad held certain appointments. These guards were armed and proved to be well.....interesting. Very diligent. Always saluting and running to open car doors. But they always harrassed and scared guests. "Who are you?" "Who are you looking for?" "My friend nobody with that name dey here" "Uzo who? No Uzo dey here. Only sister Uzo dey and we no like your face so you no fit see am" "You wan see Uzo? You know know ya level. Gerrout". Any guesses as to how that ended?
- Mr Osei: He deserves an entry to himself. This is the guard we had the longest. Mr Osei came to us when i was about 9 and still running around in shorts and a tshirt, making mud cakes and mashing up leaves in an attempt to make soup. I dont remember how he came to us but he was Ghanian and used to eat Kenkey and liked Ashanti Kotoko. I know now that this is a football club. He used to play pool and would go out drinking apeteshi (sp?). I guess this is best described as moonshine. As i grew up and the boys started coming round, Mr Osei became a tax man. Noone could see me without settling him first. I understand that N20 would suffice in the early days. As i got older and the boys became young me with cars, settlement now became mini bottles of Chelsea or London Dry Gin and money. If you didnt settle him, you couldnt see me and i would never get the message that anyone came by. He would also "forget" you so you would have to settle him again. Good grief. He became part of out family. We footed hospital bills, got him arrested, bailed him out, fired him, rehired him......We asked about his family and he told us he had children but nothing more. I was away when i was told that My Osei had fallen ill. He started talking a lot about going back to Ghana to see his family. My parents organized a bus, loaded it with furniture, food items and stuff, gave him money, paid the bus driver and off he went. Back to Ghana. He sent us a letter a few months later. Thanking us and letting us know he was okay. We have never heard from him again.
- Man O War: This is out present arrangement. They dress like soldiers, act suitably tough and when one bugs you, you simply called the agency and the replacement process happens.
Through the years and through all these arrangements, my mother started the tradition of feeding the guards on Sundays. This is not part of their pay structure or package but its been happenening since i remember. Every sunday, we heap food onto a plate, hand it over with a drink and all we ask is that the plate be washed and returned. Since i have been home, my mom has relaxed on the kitchen and cooking front (afterall what are kids for? LOL) so i make the sunday arrangements.
This past Sunday, i went out to see a movie and had lunch with a friend. I got back home at about 4 and went to my room. My parents had been fed and it was a nice quiet day when my doorbell rang. I went downstairs to answer the door and it was the man o war fellow. Dont know this one's name. But there he was.
"Ehm Aunty. Happy Sunday"
"I know know whether you don forget..."
"But you never give me food and i never chop since morning. I still dey wait for the food oh. I just say make i remind you in case you forget and i know say u comot before"
What the hell? LOL. Its not an entitlement. Its at our discretion. See me see trouble....