A new day, first sunrise in Ghana, that passes quite slowly in ‘rest’, so you make friends with the hotel staff, learn a few words of Twi*. Many naps later, you join the ‘boys’ for a Stone beer, twice the size and potency of a regular beer. Coupled with the liberal shots of ‘local gin, it’s the best’ on an empty stomach that the boys press on you, and it’s an early night, lulled by the very bizarre sitcoms running on TV Africa. The next day passes in much the same way, thouhg you rise to two nearby churches’ weekly jubilation, with a disappointing trip to the airport (still no bags) and a journey through the main clothing market in Accra, a huge space filled with vendors, odors ranging from leather thongs to coconut milk spilling freshly from the husk, and dried fish, thoroughly unappetizing under the flies. You hear people calling, music thumping from time to time, chickens and on one occasion, a dog squealing as a boy swings it by a hind leg – shocked, you stop but Henry pulls you on shrugging out the explanation that this tribe from the north eats them (‘them’? ..Oh the dog.)and maybe that’s why. Ok. You find a phone chip, bargain sunglasses and a change of clothing and leave satisfiedly sucking on bagged pineapple, the first fruit you’ve had here to supplement the starchy-spicy staples. The bargaining is tricky-half of it is in Twi or pidgin English, but you hold your own, making the vendors laugh at the pluck of this sweaty obruni.Other things you handle less easily, like the girl who clutches your arm like a friend and demands ‘Obruni, give me 2000’ (, apparently a child sent from the north by her parents to earn money, wandering in bands with the others and carrying loads for a pittance, at best (2000 cedis is about 20cents, but will buy her a small meal.)
A day in the bumpy trotros that ride the potholes in the pocked red dirty road faster than they should, so much that the van doors swing open quite often to the cries of ‘faster!’ from your copassengers. You silently welcome the respite from the African sun and don’t mind how long it takes you; a deathtrap like this could use caution, if only to lessen the pressure on the string holding the door to the vehicle. Uncertainly, you’re back in your room waiting for a call to see if you’ll finally be oriented by Martin. Maybe tomorrow. You dream of Tafo, lush and full of promise – the project! You think of tomorrow’s adventures… You miss home and the people you carry in your heart.
*(more than you do in Ewe, which the next day will abruptly end with the confusion of the close words for ‘be quiet’ and ‘vagina’)
posted Tuesday July 2007