Money Makes the World Go Round

1-24-10

I feel much better today. I forced myself out of bed at 9AM so that I wouldn’t sleep until I was sweating and be hot for the remainder of the day. After greeting everyone I was told that Paul, the helper, would prepare breakfast for me. I decided that this was a prime opportunity to wash my hair. I lathered two times and conditioned, then took my bath. It was glorious stepping out of the tub feeling clean. I exited my bedroom to the sight of a covered plate of food. I assumed that it would be banku and something spicy, but to my surprise it was ham, eggs, hard dough bread, and hot chocolate. My taste buds lovingly appreciated the change. After feeding I sat around the living room for a bit, but my newfound drive to stop my boredom, along with the piercing sounds of country western music forced me out. I went out to the back yard to inspect the fish pond for the first time since The Death. It was surprisingly clear (I would never tell them this, but I am convinced it was a build-up of algae and chemical imbalance from inadequate filtration that killed the fish). I saw little baby tilapia swimming around in schools and greatly envied them. It is rare that I get the intense urge to go for a wade. It was much like when you see an amazing meal that makes your mouth water and visions of what it would be like to eat that food fill your head. I could feel the cool water on my skin and the slippery feeling as it engulfed my toes and fingers. Anyway, I decided that swimming in a stagnant pond with baby tilapia in Africa was a bad life choice and meandered to the dog pen.

Last night I got very concerned that the larger male dog was going to kill the puppy so I went to look at them. I had seen the puppy before, but only heard the larger dog. It turns out that it is quite a cute, docile short-haired medium-sized mutt. The dogs were still yapping throughout the day and I noticed them scratching a lot, so I can only assume that fleas are driving them crazy (this doesn’t console me since my beauty rest is interrupted every couple of hours by barking).

I returned inside and got my camera, feeling motivated to take a walk around the community, but was interrupted by Kekeli before I fully got through the front door. She took me to the backyard to show me the dogs (which I had seen five minutes before), and insisted on me waiting for the puppy to come out so that I could play with him. While she was distracted I slipped away, but was caught again by her before reaching the gate. She asked me to go into her mom’s shop, and so I did- it had A/C so I didn’t mind. I stood around awkwardly while Kekeli spun around on the floor. I had planned to stop in before my walk anyway to buy units for the phone, but I suddenly felt very ashamed of buying more minutes. Most people here buy 2 Cedis of credit at a time; I buy 10 twice a week. Rationally I know that people don’t usually call the U.S. here, but I still felt as though I could easily be judged for wasting money on extraneous things.

When I left the shop I headed straight for the gate, only to find it locked. It was a major blow to my gusto and I had to make a decision. I would have to ask someone to open the gate, and that person would most likely insist that I go with someone. At that particular time I felt like being alone, so I went back into the house.

I did laundry (and am still doing it 3 hrs later) with the family’s washing machine (yes!) and air dryer contraption thingy that I’ve never seen before. I also watched the quarterfinal Africa Cup of Nations match between Ghana and Angola with Senam while drinking Jäger and cream soda (I got my wish!).
I also had time to think about the plight of Africa. In the United States we hear much about HIV/AIDS, genocide, poverty, and fighting, but we hardly hear about the plight of the third-world. In Ghana, it is known that water conditions, sanitization, education, health care, and many other infrastructures need to be improved, but it is a matter of money that prevents improvement. Today I watched a news story about garbage in Ghana, it was voted the 2nd dirtiest country on west Africa. Senam makes the point that the government refuses to allocate funds for garbage disposal, and Evans previously stated that people would rather through their trash on the ground than into a receptacle. I would believe both. I have seen countless numbers of water bags, papers, wrappers, and other types of garbage thrown out of cars, trotros, and by people on foot to believe these things. The garbage situation would be greatly improved by just removing water packaged in plastic bags. This would mean adequately sanitized tap water, however, which is another dilemma the country faces.

As one person I often feel overwhelmed by the issues around me. Ghana is one of the most stable African countries yet still they have so many problems. I can’t imagine the help that other countries need.

p.s. I am going to start uploading pictures on Facebook.  The thought, for some reason, just occurred to me that in the year 2010 I can do that sort of thing.

Practical Ghanaian Travel Tip # 25: If you can, be the first to say ‘good morning’. Doing this makes an awkward exchange approximately 76.4% less likely. I always get greeting anxiety when I enter a new place. If the person greets first, there is the chance they believe you are being impolite. It is also easier to just combine “Good morning, how are you?” when you initiate the greeting than to have to remember it later on. This has been the trickiest social interaction for me to get the gist of.

Practical Ghanaian Travel Tip #26: Vegetarians can easily live comfortably for an extended period of time here. Fish is the preferred source of protein, and you can supplement beans in your diet.

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15 Responses to “Money Makes the World Go Round”

  1. Auntie P Says:

    I have been following your journey. You go girl! I am so proud of you.

  2. Auntie P Says:

    I have been following your journey. You go girl! I am so proud of you.

  3. Auntie P Says:

    Hi!

  4. Eleana Says:

    Put pictures up! On fb but here as well. I dig the blog so far. But, you sound a little bored. Try going out on your own and exploring more. You’re in Africa for Christ’s sake! Have fun, explore! GET SOME MORE BOOZE IN YOU!

  5. Katie Says:

    I’ve always wanted to travel to another country, but I don’t know if I have the courage to go to Africa or Asia. I really like reading your blogs, Christina. Keep it up.

    • christinasamuels Says:

      When did you change the spelling of your name? In any case, you should go to wherever you are interested in. From what I remember you were learning Japanese? You should go to Japan. It would be awesome. Just don’t smoke weed… apparently the consequences are severe according to my friend who went last summer.

  6. Dad Says:

    Hi babe
    you made my evening, I am half way around the world from u in San Francisco sitting at a bar having dinner. I am glad u had a better day and u should tell them about the fish.
    Look forward to hearing from u again.
    Love you
    Daddy

  7. Mom Says:

    WOW! Nothing more.

  8. Mom Says:

    We can talk at 4 today if that works for you. I will set the alarm so I dont forget.

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