Accra

1-22-10

And what an eventful day it was. This morning Fifi and Kekeli wore fall jackets to school because the temperature dipped below 80 for half an hour. I went to work with Senam while I waited for Evans to arrive. I researched the organizations I wanted to contact and began my quest. After a few busts I was very discouraged, but I still had my meeting with the Women’s Empowerment group to see to. Evans came early, which was surprising, and then we began our quest. The plan: his house for nourishment, then the organization, then into the heart of Accra.

Evan lives with his grandmother, who mistook me for Joanna, the Australian. I say his apartment, which really is one room. Impressively, however, he had a T.V., two couches, a double bed, a refrigerator, a large radio, and many other items in the space. We went to the local market to buy ingredients to make banku and tilapia with hot pepper. When we returned to his house, we prepared the meal (who knew that by Ghanaian standards I am a horrible cook!). I ended up eating half cooked tilapia, which tasted much like dirty water- luckily I did not get sick. Evans was timing himself to finish within half an hour, which did not fare well for us.

After we ate, we went to Amasaman to speak with the program director for Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa, Hayford, about program details. The program is wonderful. They give microloans to woman-owned businesses in the area and then check in with them to make sure they pay, keep good books, and suggest better ways of marketing their products. There are several volunteers already there, with more coming in the next two months. The living quarters are also lovely- we stay in the chief’s house with two meals prepared for us each day. I now need to figure out my funds before moving to their project. Also, Evans and Hayford exchanged contact information, and it would seem as though they may work together in the future.

And then the fun began. We went to the center of Accra, where markets ruled. There was someone selling anything you could possibly want. I could have bought clothing, goats, chickens, plastic tubs, DVDs, shoes, smoked fish, chicken feet, cow’s feet, tomatoes, peppers, yams, and a myriad of other things. Men called me ‘Wifey’ and grabbed at my arm to get me to buy things, and I found it difficult to look at everything without drawing attention to myself. After that we went to the ocean, which was quite peaceful. We weren’t allowed near the water per the guard’s orders. I managed to get a few good pictures, however. Afterwards we went to get Chinese food. I have decided that I do not like Ghanaian Chinese food. It isn’t what my American palate is used to, so I can’t enjoy it.

On our way home I saw a car catch on fire. It was right before the toll booth and glowed a brilliant orange. The driver scrambled out from the car and took a fire extinguisher from the trunk. I thought the car was going to explode! There were flames coming from the underneath and licking the doors, and from the engine. I also saw a man selling a puppy in the middle of the road (talk about drive through shopping!).

I came home to news of dead tilapia. The entire pool was full of belly up fish, and a five gallon bucket on the side was overflowing with carcasses. Our best guess is that the chemical levels in the water were too high.

Tomorrow I will rest and wash my hair. A man that is somehow connected to the family was just here and is apparently an artist. He would like to draw me tomorrow, which should be interesting.

Practical Ghanaian Travel Tip #21: Do not make eye contact with a vendor unless you would like to buy something. It will only lead to awkward conversation and hurt feelings.

Practical Ghanaian Travel Tip #22: Traveling throughout Accra is relatively safe. I would suggest taking precautions and not carrying too many valuables, but there is no need to obsessively worry about your safety.

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3 Responses to “Accra”

  1. Dad Says:

    LOL “Wifey”….u are getting serious attention in Ghana.
    The VPWA program sounds good, I remember you talked about that before.
    Very eventful day and I love Travel Tip #22…btw that works very well here in New York City.

    Love You and look forward to the next post.

  2. Christine Says:

    I am long overdue for a response to your blog. Each entry is so interesting. You are having an amazing experience and I feel like we are all traveling with you.
    I am glad you are looking for a new project. Good luck.
    Keep us posted!

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