Thursday, 13 August 2009

Translation

This heading is misleading, because I am thinking along the lines of a decorated donkey is still an ass...let me explain.
I have been wondering if Ghana Telecom was equivalent to Twi, and has merely been translated into English, that is Vodafone. I am wondering because their service is pretty much the same. Or is it expectations that are getting in the way?? Honestly with GT, we learnt not to expect much so we wouldn’t be disappointed, but with the arrival of (trumpeting and fanfare, please) Vodafone (applause) we expected...well, much better service.
I do not use their mobile service. I remember the price my father had to pay for his number when they started and I have kept that impression since then...for the Big Boys only. I do however, live in a house with a GT landline. I have been forcibly appointed as the custodian of this line [my dad’s ‘ingenious’ ploy to lower his bills]. So when our landline went out of order it fell on me to report it.
I drove to the GT office, after calling directory assistance (bet you didn’t know it was there) for a number where I could report a fault, and no one picked up. On the first day, a Friday, a very nice lady reported the fault for me. I remember thinking how nice the office looked, and how committed they all seemed. I felt bad about the 900 or 950 who were being laid off too. They promised that the fault would be fixed that very day.
It wasn’t. The weekend was spent landline-less. My parents’ relatives who live abroad expressed their displeasure about having to call cell phones.
On the Monday, I made my second trip. That day I paid my bill too, hoping it would motivate them to fix the line faster. At the office the two young men at that desk had fun flirting with me, and asking me why I didn’t use their mobile phone network. I pouted, smiled...we all played a nice game. Naive me, for thinking that after the good time I showed them, they would follow up for me. They merely used me for their pleasure :(
The third time, I was no longer in the mood for games. With a very straight face I reported my problem, indicating that this was the third time I was being assured that it would be fixed that day. A man, I assumed was a supervisor, came over and did I check only to tell me that the problem had been recorded as resolved. I started to ‘charge’. Quickly, he directed me to another office, dedicated to faults. I marched over there to the manager of that division’s office. Very curtly I stated my problem. [The whole time he was playing with his phone, proceeded to make a call, share a joke, and have some laughs, before asking me to restate my problem]. I sighed dramatically; about to launch my speech, again I was interrupted. This man seemed to be a supervisor of sorts. He called the manager to a back office, where they checked the number of faults that had been reported since morning. The supervisor got very upset, and asked all the technicians to be called back and ordered that all 90 faults should be fixed before the end of the day (It was 3o’clock.)
The manager returned, finally listened to me, and assured me that the fault would be fixed. [Heard it all before...I sang in my head]
Miraculously that evening the phone was working. Three cheers, hip, hip, hip....
Ah but me bre ye. I wonder if I could ask for compensation or my fuel back. There doesn’t seem to be so much difference between Vodafone and GT. At least not yet, so maybe it is just a translation from local Ghanaian inefficiency to foreign Ghanian-like inefficiency...