When I was little, I kept a piggy bank. I lie, piggy banks actually looked piggish, mine was the creative masterpiece of an unaccomplished area carpenter. It was still good though. It was a small box with a slit on the top of it. Susu box, that’s what we called it; the Ghanaian child’s first encounter with the concept of saving.
Originally, those things were meant for keeping pocket change. If you kept dropping spare money in it long enough, you’d eventually get a significant sum. Well not in my side of Osu; there was no spare money or change anywhere. You had to rely on generous visiting uncles and faded coins dropped and forgotten in sandy, sun-scorched corners. Forget Jack Sparrow, those were the real treasure hunts. Sometimes the most coins were in Nyaniba Estate gutters. We’d ‘fish’ them out, wash them and ‘launder’ them in our susu boxes. Because of the sparse flow of spare change, it took quite a while to get any meaningful amount in your box. The most heartbreaking days were the ones that you’d return from school to find your box smashed and your big brother or cousins gone. Untraceable!
Those were the risks of ultra-small scale micro financing back in the day. It wasn’t always like that. There were good times when after months of dropping coins and folding paper, you’d pry your box open and find enough money to become your own Santa. You became the area star when you walked onto that bald, sandy pitch with your-own-sweat ‘case 5’ football in your armpit. Even though the whole world knew you were crap at football, Read the rest of this entry »