6 AM

Good luck sleeping past then.

As a guy who likes to sleep until the last possible moment, and then some, it was a mighty harsh welcome when I heard the kids screaming, the women selling, and the men arguing at 6 AM.

And apparently, the rooster has no regard for normal rooster standards either as it will cock-a-doodle-do whenever he/she pleases. The attitude on that thing, damn.

What I’m trying to get across here is: as soon as that sun crosses the horizon, the city buzzes to life. The days here start early.

It was frustrating at first, but now that I’ve gotten (sort of) used to it, I find it interesting. Now I know, some people start early back in Toronto as well, but I would say society as a whole starts at 9 AM – i.e. when the average work day starts. That’s not the case in Accra. It seems that society starts when the people want to start and this begs the question: why do the people want to start so early?

I have some thoughts.

I think people either start their days so early partially because they want to, and partially because they have to.

I’d say one reason society starts so early here in Accra is because it is situated in a part of the world with roughly only 12 hours of day light, year round. To be as productive as possible, it is necessary to get the most out of the day. Maybe society doesn’t want to start so early, but they’re forced to. They have no other option, they need to work, and (for many people) to work, they need the daylight – this is their livelihood. You may ask the question now, what about light sources that aren’t the sun? To this, I would point to a lack of reliable and consistent infrastructure and affordable, constant power.

Then, on the other hand, I also think that this may be a choice. From my observations to date, the informal sector is so large in Accra that this place isn’t bound by the confines of the formal sector’s 9-5 schedule. From what I see, if street vendors want to start selling at 6 AM, no one’s stopping them. If taxi drivers want to start peeping their horns at 6AM, no one’s telling them to quiet down. If the man cutting a tree wants to use his chainsaw at 6 AM, nobody is getting in his way. The day-to-day society has been defined by its people – in Toronto, at least in my head, we’ve got it reversed: we’re defined by our society. Maybe the people of Accra are rebellious – it’s inspiring, if so.

In my opinion, each mode of operation has its ups and its downs. Till next time.


P.S. Egg and bread just isn’t the same anymore. I’ve recently learned of another lady close to where I work. I may try her out once I open my fast for the day.

P.P.S. Oh yeah, I’m fasting. Ramadan started yesterday, more on this in another post!


2 thoughts on “6 AM

  1. Everything happens earlier over there. When I lived in SA we started school at 7.30AM and my parents were out the door even earlier. Maybe the sun just comes up earlier or its cos weather/sunrise/sunset in most African countries (as far as I know) doesn’t differ as extremely between summer and winter so they can get up that early with the sun throughout the year.


  2. lol the PS and PPS

    haroon please just write a book.
    but yeah i feel you bruh. these 6AMs + past midnight sleep habits…EWBrutallybadchoices
    i’ve come to much for the same conclusions mi amigo. another factor is safety. Uganda has been peaceful for quite sometime now, but that doesn’t change the fact that most people know it’s more dangerous at night. so getting the most out of the day light is how lots of people in the social classes i’ve been privy to roll.

    for people outside my circles, business here has a strangely relaxed vibe to me. so bustling about 12-13 hours a day is often equivalent to doing all your normal life things for certain size vendors is what i see. thoughts on that?


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