Business to ease at Kantamanto, Abossey Okai (Thursday, April 1, 2010, Spread)

THE usual hustle and bustle that characterises trading activities at Kantamanto and Abossey Okai in the central business district (CBD) will be missing from today, as most of the traders who are Kwahus prepare to visit their home towns in the Kwahu area for the Easter festivities.
A visit to Kantamanto and Abossey Okai yesterday showed that the usual customer call was at its peak, as second-hand cloth and spare parts dealers made frantic efforts to attract customers and make good sales.
Abossey Okai and Kantamanto have become the home of hundreds of Kwahus and the epicentre of the trade in spare parts and second-hand clothing, popularly known as "obroni wawu".
At Kantamanto, a few of the second-hand cloth dealers who spoke to the Daily Graphic said even though sales had been generally low over the past month, the week leading to Easter had seen a sharp increase in demand for clothes.
"Beach wear has been on very hot demand this week and I am capitalising on that to divert from the usual shoes and laces I sell," Mr Kwasi Sarpong told the Daily Graphic.
Mr Sarpong, from Obo-Kwahu, said he had never missed the Easter festivities back home, since it was the only time he was able to meet his entire family and friends and also set out plans for the family's development.
A second-hand shoe seller, Ms Joyce Asante, said although she was not from Kwahu, she found the place exciting and had not missed the excitement the past three years, adding, "I am especially excited about the paragliding. I am happy that it is back again after the 'no show' last year."
The only people not too enthused about sales were the butchers deep in the belly of Kantamanto.
According to Mr Mohammed Seidu, a butcher in the market, the perception that Easter was not the period to slaughter animals always affected meat sales at Easter.
"The market no good; I get plenty meat for here. My hope be say Sunday make people buy for picnic," he said in pidgin English.
The excitement and preparations towards the Easter were no different at Abossey Okai, a suburb of Accra described as Ghana’s spare parts hub.
It has become a refrain that “if you do not get the car spare part you want at Abossey Okai, then you may as well sell your car to scrap metal dealers”.
Here, too, Kwahus dominate the action, selling anything, from car engines to bolts and nuts.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, spare parts dealers at Abossey Okai said the Easter celebrations served as the moment to break from the long and tedious routines they ran daily.
Mr Akoto Bamfo, a spare parts dealer who has been in the business for the past eight years, enthusiastically said, “I see the Easter celebrations as a holiday to go home and visit my family and friends I have not seen throughout the year.”
He said the period also served as an opportunity to raise funds and support development projects in his home town, as well as address pending family issues, adding that the excitement that had been absent last year was because the paragliding programme was not held.
Mr Francis Bediako was upbeat about this year’s celebrations, saying he was looking forward to the street jams that would rock the area.
Mr Opoku Sarpong, another spare parts dealer, said even though he had not made adequate preparations towards the Easter celebrations, he would still go home because of his family.
He bemoaned the reckless lifestyles of the many young people who thronged the area for the event.
“It is a shame to see young people drink and do all manner of irresponsible things,” he said.
The Kwahu area has become the heart of Easter celebrations in the country lately, with thousands of people, both young and old, natives and non-natives, trooping to the area to enjoy themselves.
With the breathtaking and serene atmosphere there, the place has become more exciting and not-so-easy-to-resist after the addition of paragliding to the celebrations.
Paragliding, a recreational and competitive flying sport which was introduced five years ago to boost domestic tourism, has become a major attraction to the celebration in Kwahu, attracting tourists from Austria, Germany, South Africa, the USA, the UK, Togo and Switzerland, in addition to fun-starved local tourists.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic concerning security and accommodation for the event, Mr Ben Ohene-Aryeh, the Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Tourist Board, the organisers of the Kwahu Easter Paragliding and associated events, said more than 250 police officers would be on hand to provide security.
He warned that any miscreant who showed up to cause trouble would be dealt with to ensure that the programme ran a smooth course.
On accommodation, he said the GTB had arranged for a number of tents for the event and urged interested people to register with the board in Accra or the venue of the programme.
He, however, advised revellers going to the event not to over-indulge to prevent casualties.
“We want people to enjoy themselves as much as they want but we do not want to risk lives,” he stressed.

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