On Saturday the 12th while in Ghana, I traveled from Accra to Tamale by road. In keeping with the rainy season, the sky was laden with low-hanging grey clouds that pressed their gloom down on us. To keep us from falling into depression, we were treated to a visual shock treatment in the form of the colors of the cell phone companies.
As advertisement, each cell company offers to paint your house or business in its color for free, provided you let it add its logo. MTN’s color is yellow. Vodacom’s is red. Tigo’s is blue and Zain’s are purple and green.
It seemed that every other building beside the road was painted Vodacom’s neurotransmitter red or MTN’s smiley yellow with a few of Zain’s mood-enhancing greens or purples for variety. It seems that Tigo’ s painting program is a lot less active. Perhaps it is just as well. We did not need more “blue”.
Sometimes the Vodacom, MTN and Zain colors would be right next to each (see one of the photos on the right) as if we needed to be on two or three anti-depressants at once. In one rural village, the yellow and red buildings were contrastively interspersed between the earth browns of traditional mud-walled houses.
As an adjunct treatment, taxis are required to have each of their four fenders painted a deep yellow. There were quite a few taxis in most towns; often awaiting clients in front of a building painted in cheery MTN yellow or wake-up Vodacom red.
In Congo the same thing is happening to the point that it seems that there is a race on to see which company can paint more of the buildings in town its colors.
In addition, cell phone towers are everywhere. So many that the Ghana government suspended cell phone tower construction temporarily while it studied the matter. In one place one tower rose out of a little papaya orchard, like a misplaced tree of the wrong species.
The dreary day was dealt a deadly blow. I arrived in Tamale in great spirits. My apologies to the makers of Prozac.