Prof Gyampo narrates why he was asked to return a bucket to a supermarket in U.S

• As part of measures to ease up his stay as a student in a foreign land, Prof Gyampo bought a bucket to help store water for future use

• He was advised to return the bucket since there was no such thing as water shortage in the US

• The political scientist opted to buy the bucket due to occurrences which has been normalised in Ghana and several other countries

It is not an unusual sight in any Ghanaian household, it may even extend to every African home; the phenomenon of having water drums, buckets or bowls to store water for future use.

Having been born and bred in Saltpond, Ghana, it was just the order of the day to have buckets of water in the bathroom or other open spaces just in case the taps stopped flowing.

If you have lived in Ghana long enough, you would know that having storage container in your home is in fact a sign of wisdom. You may procure a ‘polytank’ or gallon as a precautionary measure as well.

With this mentality, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Political Science of University of Ghana, Prof Ransford Gyampo, was quick to add a bucket to his shopping list when he arrived in Boston in the United States of America to further his education.


Brimming with confidence after purchasing his brand-new bucket, he quickly settled in his apartment and showered; pre-empting any unforeseen water cuts, he took the initiative to fill up the bucket and set it aside.

A visit by his supervising professor, however, exposed his ignorance and further embarrass his judgement.

Recounting his experience in a write-up copied to GhanaWeb, Prof Gyampo noted that his supervisor asked him to return the bucket after seeing it in his home.

“Her reason? there was no way on God’s earth the taps would cease to flow at any point. At least that had been the story in the past 60 years or more that she had been alive for and she was certain the narrative was not about to change.”

As unbelievable and absurd as that she sounded, Ransford meekly obeyed and went back to the shop where he bought the bucket to return it. The attendant took the bucket and refunded his money.

Read Prof Gyampo’s narrative below:

I schooled in the US briefly and I remember among the list of items I bought first, when I settled in my school, was a big bucket. After bathing, I fetched water with the bucket and kept it.

Then my Supervisor, Professor Pearl Robinson visited me and saw the bucket containing water, filled to the brim. She asked what I was doing with the bucket of water, but I ignored her and introduced another conversation.

But she asked the same question about four times in a manner that demanded a response. My response was “Prof, I bought the bucket, to fetch and store water after bathing, so that if the taps do not flow, I will always have water.”

My supervisor looked at me in shock, doubt and disbelief, upon hearing my response, and the look on her face, got me also thinking for about a minute, and asking myself why she appeared ignorant about the use of a bucket. She then tapped me by the shoulder and said “please return the bucket, and go back for your money.

I have been here for 60 years and haven’t seen water stop flowing from the taps. I can assure you that the water won’t stop flowing whiles you are here. Please return the bucket.” I quickly poured the water and without even wiping the bucket, I returned it and my money was refunded.

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