African Engineers: A New Boy Comes in Suame Journal, Kumasi, Ghana

Numerous younger guys come from the villages of rural Ghana intent on producing their fortune in the major cities of Accra and Kumasi. For numerous, their 1st aim is to grow to be apprenticed to a grasp craftsman and their to start with issue of call is Suame Journal in Kumasi, Ghana’s largest casual industrial place and the household of thousands of motor mechanics and motor car or truck human body builders. Initially impressions are lasting impressions and the subsequent is an account of one particular young man’s initial face with Suame journal.

Kwame located that there have been no surfaced roadways coming into the journal. The only access was attained by deeply rutted dust roadways that squeezed amongst the workshops, frequently with insufficient width for two cars to pass. Not only workshops lined these streets. Abandoned autos, machinery and scrap materials had been scattered almost everywhere, some in piles projecting into the road and some essentially lying in the highway exactly where they experienced been run around by a thousand autos and become embedded as a everlasting feature.

Kwame before long realised that contrary to in the village, exactly where most of the homes were being constructed to the similar fundamental pattern, in the journal all the workshops have been various. Most of the larger workshops were being developed with concrete block walls and corrugated steel roofs and some of the smaller workshops have been likewise manufactured. Quite a few additional of the smaller sized workshops were constructed with wooden board walls but the corrugated metallic roofs were conventional. Numerous workshops had open up sides and many others were being tiny additional than a wood workbench. Some artisans sat on the floor in the shade of a mango or neem tree with only a tiny toolbox by their side.

The level of action impressed Kwame. He experienced never noticed so numerous people today, largely men, busy at operate or moving about with noticeable reason. Just about everywhere there was the sound of hammering, the flash and crackle of electric powered welders and the hum of drilling and grinding machines mingling with the continual roar and drone of car or truck engines. Kwame also discovered that there had been folks who appeared to have practically nothing to do. Some had been viewing the work of other folks and some have been sitting outside the house their workshops, apparently waiting for work to arrive to them.

Kwame was fascinated by what he noticed as he wandered further into the Journal. Most of the workshops seemed to be concerned in vehicle mend. Some claimed to be authorities in repairing specific would make of vehicle: Benz, Land Rover, Toyota or Bedford. Some specialised in fixing specified car or truck parts: batteries, brakes and clutches, bodywork or diesel engines. A couple of experienced exclusive equipment for carrying out precision function this kind of as crankshaft regrinding or cylinder reboring. Every workshop had a title-board proudly proclaiming the solutions it offered. Quite a few of these were being brightly painted and some gave lists of services in terrific depth. The neatness of these title-boards contrasted with the chaos that surrounded the workshops and, in numerous instances, penetrated inside. Everywhere you go, machine elements, materials and applications lay about in apparent abandon.

A young male of Kwame’s age was sitting on the ground beside a bench cleansing a piece of machinery. Kwame requested him what he was undertaking. He was told that the element was a gas pump and the job was to thoroughly clean it thoroughly. For this goal the youthful male had been provided some petrol in a tin can and an outdated rag. He explained to Kwame that he was apprenticed to the master who owned the workshop. Being in his to start with yr, his work was confined to cleaning. This gave him the opportunity to know the components perfectly in planning for studying how to mend them in subsequent years. Kwame asked how extensive the apprenticeship would final and was amazed when he was told 5 years. He felt that he wouldn’t want to wait that extensive to turn into a learn.

After some time roaming amongst the workshops Kwame located that in addition to presenting fix companies some workshops designed a products to offer. He observed larger workshops constructing the picket bodies of trotros and cocoa trucks. Together with these bigger companies have been blacksmith’s retailers supplying steel bolts and nuts, hinges and brackets to the system builders. Some more compact workshops were generating coal pots: charcoal-burning stoves like he made use of at household for cooking. Piles of these coal pots stood waiting for selection by market place traders.

So a lot was likely on in the Magazine that Kwame couldn’t get it all in. There had been some activities that he could not recognize because he lacked the needed specialized understanding. He was so fascinated by all that he observed that he misplaced recognition of the time. To his surprise the sunlight was heading down and his thoughts turned to supper and slumber. Where by was he going to invest the night time? He decided to go again to talk to the enable of the apprentice he had satisfied. He had some trouble finding his way, there were no signposts in the Journal, and by the time he arrived the workers have been leaving for residence. Having said that his new mate was however there.

Kwame uncovered that the apprentice arrived from a village considerably absent from Kumasi. He had no put to stay but his master allowed him to snooze in the workshop. He invited Kwame to be a part of him. Section of the apprentice’s operate was to supply overnight security and for this two adult males ended up far better than one particular. In return for this kindness Kwame funded their supper: fufu and groundnut soup bought from one particular of the a lot of ladies foodstuff sellers who plied their trade in the Magazine. Kwame’s father experienced often warned him of the potential risks of acquiring food stuff off the road, but on this occasion there was no choice. The soup was extremely very hot with pepper, perhaps to compensate for the lack of any other flavour, but Kwame preferred his soup that way. He slept soundly on his initial night in Suame Magazine.