Our lives in their hands

I apologise to those readers who might have been in the audience when I gave a talk to the Ghana Institute of Engineers at the institute’s offices at Roman Ridge in Accra some years ago. I don’t recall if I had a written speech but I do remember clearly what I told them; I took them through my day until I got to their function and it is the same story I am telling today.

My day starts when my radio comes on at about 5a.m. It means I wake up needing to say thank you to an engineer. The journalists and programme makers might be the best there are, but for the engineering feat of the radio and how the words and sounds are transmitted, I would not get that obligatory early morning radio wake-up fix.

When I stir and go to the bathroom, it is to the WC and another engineering feat. Then I approach the washbasin and turn on the tap to brush my teeth and wash my mouth, after which I move to the shower cubicle and have a shower, warm or cold depending on the weather. Every stage of my stay in the bathroom is dependent on the expertise of an engineer of one type or the other.
My next stop is to find some clothes to wear and I go to the ironing board to iron the clothes, still needing to say a silent thank you to an engineer.

At this stage, I am almost in a fit state to meet the world and I move to the kitchen to come face to face with an array of gadgetry that engineers have developed to improve the quality of life for humanity. The kettle to boil water for my cup of coffee that really wakes me up; the stove, if a boiled egg is on the agenda; the refrigerator for the fruit juice and the toaster for my obligatory slice of toasted bread.

By this time, I have taken a number of phone calls, some quite important, many can wait to be dealt with later and some would get my blood pressure racing; all of which would not be possible but for the engineering skills that made the phone technology possible.

Then I look for my car keys and go