Emmauel Yaovi Kilinogo, his wife, Charily, and two of his five children share a tiny one-room cement hut on a muddy compound in this city's Bubashie slum district.
His two older children (two of whom are by a second wife) live with Klinogo's parents in the eastern Shana village of Kpedze.
"I can't afford to keep all the children and the other wife with me here," said Klinogo as he talked in the spartan living room of his sister's house located next to his. "My other wife lives in Togo because my parents can't feed everyone."
Klinogo's plight is one that is repeated in many of Africa's urban centers where traditional rural cultures of several wives and numerous children clash with the economic realities of low salaries and expensive living for the marginally educated migrant worker in the city.
Klinogo's predicament is compounded by Ghana's steady economic deterioration. His already insufficient monthly government salary of $113 has shrunk dramatically under the relentless battering of more than 50 percent annual inflation. More than six months ago he began to skip meals several days a week so he could buy basic food for his children.
Out of his monthly 311 cedi salary, Klinogo pays 200 cedis for food and 120 cedis for charcoal for his wife to cook with. Rent for the hut is 25 cedis. Monthly carfare to and from work (a truck that transports workers free breaks down half of the time for lack of spare parts) averages 30 cedis. The monthly total comes to 375 cedis.
There is no place else for him to look for work, said Klinogo, who attended elementary school both in Ghana and Togo. After farming with his father for several years and a stint as a kitchen helper at a rural school, he scraped together enough tuition for a year as secretarial-commercial training school.
In mid-1976, at age 26, Klinogo arrived in Accra, lived off his sister for six months and then landed a job in the office of post and telecommunications. In the beginning, when Ghana's inflation rate was 110 percent, he earned half of what he earns now but the money went further, Klinogo added.
He also managed to get by making harvest-season trips to his parent's farm, bringing back to Accra sacks of cassava, cocoa, yams and corn. "I can't do that anymore because my parents are in their 70s and can't grow as much," Klinogo said. "They have trouble feeding themselves and my three children."
A year ago, there was a brief respite during the four-month rule of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, a group of junior Army officers led by Air Force Flight Lt. Jerry J. Rawlings who overthrew their senior officers of the then military government. From June until September, when the Revolutionary Council voluntarily turned power over to a newly elected civilian government, food prices plummeted and black market activity stopped.
The soldiers of the Revolutionary Council jailed and publicly caned black market profiteers. They made all traders sell their goods -- for the first time in years -- at official, government-controlled prices.
"Before the coup," said Klinogo wistfully, "I paid 4 cedis on the black market" for a 14-ounce container of milk. When Rawlings was running things, "the same container" cost a fifth as much, he added.
"I don't buy milk anymore," he sighed. "The price is up to five cedis."
"Hope?" asked Klinogo rhetorically. "I have nowhere to go so I just take it like that," he shrugged. "I don't have any hope because tomorrow it is always getting worse."
Until recently, Klinogo was able to borrow a little each month from friends and relatives who are better off than himself. "Now I owe them 1,600 cedis and I have to avoid them," added Klinogo, the words choking in his throat. "Where do I get the money to repay them?"
Each day, Klinogo said, he is preoccupied with just getting enough to feed himself and his family. "That's all I can do now," he concluded. "If anything, we must eat."