… It’s no more basic

We were taught in school that food, cloth, and shelter were the three basic needs of man. Well, in recent times a few more items have been added to the list – sanitation, education, healthcare et cetera.

Hm, basic means simple, plain uncomplicated, rudimentary … etc, etc. If the synonyms of the word “basic” are anything to go by, then food, clothing and accommodation should be one of the most simple, available and inexpensive things any human being should have.

Well, Obodai and I have come to a conclusion that shelter has seriously chosen to leave the category of the basic. In fact, you will have to pardon me today. I am trying hard to make my thoughts as sound as possible, in spite of the mental stress I am experiencing presently.

So if you find any phrase that doesn’t sound eeerm … I don’t even know what to say, pleeeeeease pardon me. Not many whose landlords are chasing them around with rent increment can make very sound their thoughts.

Our landlord is bothering us so much, we are being provoked to buy a house of our own. His last email to us was last week. He reminded us of his intention to increase the figure paid monthly from Gh¢250 to Ggh¢350.
For goodness sake that’s some 57 percent or so increment right there! Not that he even lives in the country. So what does he need that kind of money for? The annoying part of his mails reads: “please, if you know you will not be able to pay this new amount, kindly let me know, to enable me start advertising the upcoming vacancy”.

Then                                                                         Now

Why would he even attempt to think that we wouldn’t be able to pay? Why would he want to rent the apartment out to another when we haven’t mentioned our inability to pay? In any case, we are not in a position to pay Gh¢350. That’s the truth. We have too many commitments, and with my current heavy state, I need to shop for baby et cetera, et cetera. Oh boy, my mind is full of scorpions.

We still haven’t responded to his email. In fact, a day after its receipt, Obodai and I agreed to buy a house of our own, no matter how small. Even if it was a single-room apartment, we would buy and also be surnamed landlords. At least it would be a better option to pay for a house of our own with the same amount than to pay into the pocket of a landlord.

As a step to this conceived idea, we visited a few websites and found interesting prices for houses of various shapes and sizes. Huh, houses are really expensive in this Ghana we live in. Whaaaaaaat? I was even surprised to find that some were going for $450,0000. Eigh! Why? Were their foundations laden with gold?

Since we wanted to cut our coat according to the available fabric, not according to our size, we opted for a two bedroom self-contain house built on a 50 feet by 50 feet piece of land. It was going for $55,000.

That in itself was way too expensive, but we found the phone number of the owner and gave him a call. He was cash-strapped and needed money urgently. He assured us that if we could raise $48,000, the house would be ours.

On Monday, Obodai and I took time out to visit a financial institution where we could take a housing loan. The officer in charge took her time to give us thorough explanations and assurances of our ability to own the house.

She gave us a list of documents we needed to produce to enable the loan processes to commence. We were both so happy, even the baby in my womb kept leaping for joy. Just when our discussions had reached a head and were about thanking the lady, she asked one question: “please, which of you will take the loan?” “Me”, I responded.

Then she asked with a smile, “m’am, please how much do you earn each month? I would like to make a few calculations”. With a confident smile, I told her my salary. Almost immediately the expression on her face changed from bright to dim. I knew something hadn’t added up.

Forcing a smile she asked, “please, would you like to rather co-borrow? At least I’m sure your earnings will soar a bit high if you join forces with your husband to take this loan”.

A lump popped up in my throat immediately. “Sorry madam, we are unable to co-borrow as you suggest. My husband has a loan he is servicing at his bank. Should he join with me to make the monthly payments, we will be ‘hot’”, I said calmly.

Hitting her pen against her table in a rhythmic tone, she heaved a heavy sigh and said, “ma’am, please your salary can qualify you for only $25,000, payable over 15 years.

Crestfallen and abashed, we politely excused ourselves from her office and assured her of a possible return, should we settle on a means of raising higher earnings.

Hm. How do they make it? Yes, those who build in Ghana, how do they raise the cash so to do? Eh? We own a plot of land somewhere on the outskirts of Dodowa. It’s so deep in the heart of a forest, I doubt if there will be any settlement in that area in the next 10 years.

Huh, truth is, even if the plot were situated in a “settled” location, we wouldn’t be in a position to raise even a single room before the end of January 2018 on that land. Where would the monies

So do we keep mute and find money to pay our landlord or look for other nonexistent means of raising our salaries? I’m so confused, I don’t know what to do right now.

Shelter, shelter, shelter. For me, it’s not as basic as we’ve been made to believe. Somebody tell me, how do we buy that small house or pay for our increased rent?

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