Published: July 5th 2011June 24th 2011
Where to begin? Well, I’m here in Ghana but it took me 3 days to get here thanks to Alitalia. Long story but basically I didn’t arrive until 2300 on Friday 10 June. I was picked up by Simon, who was part of the group that visited York Hospital last August, Ethel, a Health Information Officer and Eric, our fabulous driver. I say that because you have to see the roads to believe them and we made it in only 2 ½ hours instead of the expected 3(!), eventually arriving at my accommodation for the next 2 weeks at 0230 (see pictures). It was on this very eventful drive that I discovered that they had arranged for me to teach computers and their programmes to 2 beginners groups of 15 each and an advanced group of 20 (gulp), never taught before in my life so this should be interesting (pics). Needless to say I spent most of the weekend preparing for my classes. Then on Sunday there was church (as I am writing this now it is obvious that I wasn’t struck down), a whole 3 hours of it and there was going to be more the following Sunday but Simon
took me to a local town instead, called Koforidua, it’s the regional capital. The real reason became obvious when he took me to his new house that he has been building for the last 7 years! Hopefully moving in this August, also met his lovely family and a close family friend who made Fufu for us, very nice. Tried lots of different foods, Fufu is cassava and plantain, banku which is a maize porridge, both are usually served with a very spicy sauce which is too spicy for me, but they have been very understanding and toned it down quite a bit for me. Also tried Plantain on it’s own and yam which both taste quite a bit like our potato, when it is fried however, plantain does have a slight banana taste which is to be expected.
The accommodation is very basic, which is what I expected, it being student accommodation, just a room with a bed with mosquito net, fridge and table and 2 chairs, no kitchen and a shared bathroom. Whilst I’ve been here though I have discovered that this is normal accommodation for most people. 4 or 5 households share one W/C and washing, self and
clothing, is done out of a bucket in cold water unless you are lucky and have a shower like us. I say lucky because we do have the fittings for a shower but most of the time the water hasn’t been on so I too have been washing out of a bucket. I think I have managed 4 showers in my time here so far (12 days) which isn’t nice in cold water. All my food is being brought to me by Grace, the lovely wife of Dr Aduamah (another visitor to York last year) and Eunice, a young girl (16) that they have taken in to enable her to continue with her education. I’ve also had some interesting roommates! Cockroaches, crickets, fire flies and a grasshopper.
I managed to survive the teaching and not too many people fell asleep, it’s really difficult to teach someone computers and their programmes when most of the people don’t have access to computers where they work, although on the 2nd day of training laptops were provided for practice. I have since attended their equivalent of a Board meeting, and it’s not just my presentations people fall asleep in!
I also had a text
from my son Richard in the week which made me panic a little but it’s all sorted and the good news is he has passed his assessment for the Army and will start training shortly. (Proud Mum who has to tell everyone-sorry Richard). Not had many texts this week as no charge in my phone, thought I’d do the environmental thing and use a solar charger for everything whilst I was away, after all, Africa, India and South East Asia all have plenty of sun right? Wrong. It’s the rainy season here in Ghana and although it doesn’t rain all the time there is quite a lot of cloud so, no sun, no solar charger, no phone. Managed to email a couple of times but again very expensive and intermittent connection. Hopefully both forms of communication will be better in India. I’m guessing more sun and lots of internet cafes…we’ll see.
As I prepare to leave Ghana all I can say is it is an experience, I’ve visited Africa before, Morocco and The Gambia, but as a tourist so stayed in nice hotels where water wasn’t an issue but I have to say I have enjoyed seeing the real
Africa, or part of it at least, and observing real life for the locals. It’s been an eye opener. I have lots and lots of firsts, roommates, food, experiences, most of which can be explained in one word – Africa.
This first blog is a little longer than anticipated and later than I had intended due to internet issues as mentioned above. Hopefully, my updates will be more frequent once I get to Asia. To be continued.
There are more photos below