Since moving to Lusaka, my mornings have been noticeably more quiet than the past 3 years. I say noticeably, although it took me coming back out to the district to notice how much louder the mornings are in the rural areas. Or maybe it’s not more – but rather it’s different. Certainly in Lusaka, I still here the dogs barking and fighting, I hear children running with their mothers scolding, and women washing. But there is a distinct sound that I’ve woken up to every morning for 3 years that’s missing – the rooster.
When I lived in Dedza, there was a rooster that loved to strut around in our front yard just in front of my window. He would start around 4 or 4:30, but really get going around 5:30-6. It was a natural alarm that would always amuse anyone calling me early in the morning. It was truly impossible to sleep through as he was joined by others.
In Ghana – despite it being the capital of Accra, livestock and animals are still very much present in the neighbourhood where I lived. As the city grew, it amalgamated other smaller, then-rural towns into the metropolis and kept going. Madina was one such former town. Madina estate even ha a grazing ground at the top of the hill where herds of inner-city cattle would come to graze. Occasionally you could see them walking up an down the main road. It was always a bit surprising. Keeping chickens and roosters is common, and although the sounds of roosters and dogs was then coupled with the sounds of trucks, cars and people starting out for the day, the sounds of animals was still very much present in my morning.
I have no doubt that there are parts of Lusaka which are similar to Madina in Accra. Certainly, Madina wasn’t the wealthiest area, but it wasn’t the poorest either – it was somewhere in the middle. That area exists in every growing city – be it in Africa or America; although I believe there are stronger rules around livestock and cities in America.
As for my life in Lusaka, it remains rooster-less. I can’t say I miss the early morning wake up cacophony, but I do notice it’s absence. My alarm clock is not nearly as amusing.