21.07.2010 - 25.07.2010 35 °C
Here we are again!
21st of July - We are ready at 6am to leave back to Denu when Simon reveals another problem that the little shabby car faces: the driver's door won't open anymore and chances are great that the other doors will follow soon. Not wanting to risk getting stuck in the car through out our journey, we frantically try to find a car repair area that can do the job before opening time at 8am.
After much searching, we finally find someone willing to do the job and we set off after about an hour's wait. Instead of the usual bread and vegetable omelet breakfast on the roadside, Simon wants us to try the Ghanaian porridge made in Accra. The porridge we know back in Europe is called "oats" and we have tried many styles of "porridges" at home. This one, however, is a thick concoction and the first meal in Ghana that I truly dislike. Luckily it comes with little pasties called "Koose" that are made off grinded beans. Then we finally set off. I can hardly keep my eyes open and fall asleep for a while. When I wake up, I realise Simon has parked the car somewhere along the road so that he too can rest his eyes. Traveling in the hot Ghanaian sun is definitely tiring! But after our little snooze we are good to go. We stop at a town along the way so Simon can see some of his friends, which he hasn't seen in 12 years. Whoever Simon seems to meet, greets him with shrieks of joy and warm cuddles - a testament that he is a true friend to everyone. Back on the road, the car faces another obstacle: some truck had lost a huge nail (the size of a football) and on the dusty roads, we did not see it. So the poor car... drove over it with a loud 'BANG!'. It was terrifying, but luckily the damage was not as severe: the indicator-light of the car got swung across a field, leaving it with a small gap. Judging by the noise, it should have been a lot worse though! When we finally do get home in one piece, we get greeted with many "Are you back? We missed you!" shouts and Bless has made Ben some special plaintain-muffins, knowing how much he loves them. It's good to be home again!
22nd of July - Through the journey to Accra, I made the decision together with Ben and Simon to help them out on the Construction Site for the last couple of weeks as opposed to working at the Ebenezer School. This decision was based on my wish to help out as much as possible and even though the Headmaster had made me the promise to give me more to do, I felt that he was doing me a favour, as opposed to me helping him out. And that way, I will have divided my work into: 1 week and a half at the Ebenezer School and 1 week and a half at the Construction Site, which is the best of both world's, isn't it? So at 6.30am Ben and I both leave the house with a packed breakfast and as we set off to the site, we quickly get hushed back inside to meet a tailor named Ben. Mme Celestine had him come over to take our measurements to make some African clothing, as we had told her a couple of days earlier how much we liked her clothes. How exciting!
When we finally get to the site, the work is constant until we finish at 12pm, in time to be home before the weather becomes unbearable. The work consists of digging 1.5m holes to lay the first foundations of what will become the school, administration and accommodation building. Despite it being hard labour, it is also enjoyable as in Ghana everyone works at their own pace, taking regular and long breaks. And the other workers seem happy to get a helping hand from two hardworking "yavoos" Exhausted, we go home and spend the remainder of the day with Portia (as Bless has gone to the Eastern Region for a couple of days) and have a great time. I'm really happy to have been of use today and look forward to tomorrow!
23rd of July - Happy Birthday to me! Not much time to stand still as we head straight to the construction site at 6am and get cracking. The digging is rather hard today as there is a strong wind that blows the sand straight back in and makes the walls cave in. But at least the temperature is bearable and we get a lot done. And we also get to help Charles a.k.a. Nigeriaman ('because I schooled in Nigeria') with making the concrete. We need 5 wheelbarrows of sand, 2 bags of cement, 4 wheelbarrows of gravel stones and finally 2 wheelbarrows of bigger stones. This concoction is then mixed thoroughly (and all by hand!) with water and tadaaa! The concrete is made! It's fun work and 'Nigeriaman' proves to be a real happy character.
I was really looking forward to spending the rest of the day at the beach, but the weather proves too miserable and our backs and muscles are really aching from all the work. So instead we have a beach walk and spend some time watching the strong waves crash onto the sea shore.
As we return, Portia has made us food and we spend a nice evening together. Ben is asked to teach Sandra some mathematics, which he really enjoys. So from this day onwards, he will meet her on the porch every evening and become Headmaster Ben!
Knowing how much I have been craving watermelon all day, Simon shows up late at night with... yes, a watermelon! That was possibly the best birthday gift! All in all, my birthday wasn't memorable in the sense of their being a big party with many presents and food. But it was memorable in that I got to spend it with Ben for the very first time in four years and that it was in Ghana. I couldn't ask for more!
24th of July - no plans for the weekend means we go and inspect the work that has been done at the Construction Site and take our time to understand the magnitude of the project. We should have left at 9.30am, but since we are on African time, we have time to do a wash of clothes and watch an episode with everyone of "The Legend of the Seeker". Everyone has seen the series many times before and they love it! Watching a movie with Ghanaians is a true experience in itself: they shout out at the characters, laugh, pray at bad moments and make it all the more exciting for Ben and I.
The reason behind Simon's late arrival is caused by another problem with the shabby car: he has lost the keys. So in his quest he somehow managed to borrow someone else's car-keys which magically fit! Though they cannot lock the car... so after we visit the Construction Site, we drive to a place to have the key hole taken out, then take a taxi to a different place to have a new key cut out. And being in Africa, everything is possible! When all is done and Simon can drive and lock the car again, we have lunch and stop somewhere to have both men's hair cut (or "cropped" as they say here) by possibly the coolest looking barber in Ghana. And he did a good job too!
Back home, Bless teaches us how to make Akplé and we watch another 5 episodes with the family and head to bed exhausted but happy
25th of July - Breakfast is interrupted by the arrival of the tailor with our custom-made Ghanaian outfits: a long slit skirt with top for me and a matching shirt for Ben! As we are asked to try them on for the first time, we are worried we might not like them, but our worries melt away as soon as we put them on: they are beautiful! We are so happy with them! We want to pay the tailor, when Celestine tells us it is a present from her. And what better present can you get from your host-mother? We decide to have a long photoshoot to show off our beautiful attire:
We decide to wear them to church, much to the happiness of the locals, who are proud to walk with us. We get stopped everywhere and end up arriving a little late at the Lighthouse Chapel International Church. The service is great as always, with much singing, dancing, shouting and preaching. On our way back home, Bless takes us to meet her mother Peace and her sister Rejoice at their house. (Aren't those the most wonderful names?)
After some fried plantain for lunch (yummie!) we join Bless to the weekly market. Despite it being deemed a small market, we are relieved Bless is there to show us the way along the crowded and higgledy-piggledy streets with screaming market vendors. You can get about everything there and we buy a recipe book so that we can try to recreate some of the delicious meals we have had here. Ben can't stop himself from buying a big loaf of the local 'sugar-bread' - a true delicacy Simon comes to pick us up to go and visit some of the other host-families and as we come back home we cook food together with the family as always and browse through the pictures we have 'snapped' so far, followed by another couple of episodes of 'Legend of the Seeker'.
And that's the end of yet another wonderful week in Ghana! We love it here!