Buea Defilling The Ghost Town

Life is active in most part of Buea on ghost town days

Buea Regional Capital of the Southwest for most part is defilling the Monday lock down declared by seperatist fighters across the English speaking regions of Cameroon.

I got up this Monday morning, August 16, 2021 and hired a taxi to take me across town so that I can see how life unfolds here on a Monday compared to Bamenda, capital of the Northwest Region.

I had arrived town a day earlier and booked my self into a hotel not far from Bongo Square. Here life on Sunday was as usual, busy and bustling not much to write about.

When I made negotiations with the taxi man for my two hours ride, I told him I just wanted a feel of the town on a ghost town day. He instead chuckled. “Ghost Town day” he replied. “Some of us have long forgotten about it this way except you have things to do in Muea or Molyko” he replied in pidgin English.

I asked him if he could take me to the busiest part of town on a Monday and he pointed at Class Quarter. Here I saw taxis picking and dropping passengers, some coming to sell and others to buy as shops and markets were gradually opening up. By the time we rounded our tour by 10:45 am, over 75% of the shops and stores were opened. The money transfer agencies, financial institutions, meat market, filling stations, and the road side vendors were on. Many bars and restaurant were crowded while you could buy roasted maize, plum, plantain and graundnut by the road side. Roosted chicken, fried and cooked pork, soya were all available.

We made a brief tour of Molyko down to Mile 17. Life here was less busy as in upper Buea. I asked if we could go to Muea but he blatantly refused. He reminded me that I asked to see busy part of town and this is as far he could go.

We return to my pick up spot after passing through OIC Market, Bakweri Town, Great and Small Soppo, Bokwango, Buea Town, the regional hospital and the adjoining districts.

Many roadside shops open up on Sundays

There are vehicle circulations on the main street of Buea

Having lived in Bamenda for most of this crisis, I can say Buea is way active on a Ghost Town Day than Bamenda. One can go out and get essential items, buy or sell, go to work and generate income from the usual activities, far from the case of Bamenda.

I spoke to some vendors and business operators in Small Soppo and Bongo Square. Anita and her sister selling a variety of local dishes said business for them on Monday was as usual. “Some times we even sell more because a few eating houses remain close” she added.

“I have a family to feed, I have rents to pay, so I make use of all the weekdays except for Sunday” Ngu Festus selling shoes at  Class Quarter told me. “I don’t respect the ghost town and I will never because it doesn’t put food on my table ” he continued. But when I asked if he will if he was in Muea or Bamenda, he paused for a while before confidently telling me people in these areas I mentioned are fools. “It’s their decision to respect or not to respect the fake ghost town” assuring me he can’t live in such places even though he is from Bamenda.

My taxi drivers however tells me there is a big difference in activities in Buea on a Monday and any other day. Business for him is timid, though he charges his passengers more on a Monday, he makes less money compared to the other days he said. ” I wish this thing was finally over” he ended up telling me.

Though many businesses are opened, many others still remain close especially after Sandpits going towards down town. But yet, Buea is far more livelier than Bamenda on a ghost town day with more and more businesses gradually abandoning the ghost town for a more active life.

I also found out that you can go out to enjoy the nighlife in Buea too on a ghost town Monday

Later in the night,  I ventured out to Class Quarter again. I was able to choose from fried patoto and egg, roasted fish, puff-puff and beans, hot pepper soup and cocoyam,  rice and stew amongst others from the different selling point. I settled for one of my favourite, fried eggo,  spaghetti and Irish patoto.  After this a walked a few metre to a noisy bar, got myself a fresh bottle of drink and mingled with the locals. I could hear them complain more of the irregular water supply in the midst of the raining season, the heavy rains  and poor power supply than about the ghost town. After my relaxed moment I tried to board a taxi back know to the hotel but was  other very lucky so I decided to walked the distance. As I walk freely on the streets I could confidently concluded that Buea from all indications is actively defilling the ghost town.

By Abongwa Fozo in Buea, SWR.

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