A Travellerspoint blog

Friends, Family and Home (by Ben)

sunny 30 °C

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Emilie with Beatrice
When we arrived Beatrice was always very very excited to see us, and she was always very happy when we were trying to speak Ewe.

First we tried to introduce ourselves:
Nyoo konyenye Ben ............ My name is Ben

and we were always asked:
Eh foa? .......... How are you?
to which we replied:
Eh, mi fo. ............ Yes, I am fine.

or similarly:
Eh boa? .......... Are you back?
to which we replied:
Eh, mi bo. ............ Yes, I am back.

But sometimes we were spoken to for longer,having no idea what was said. Most of the time you can answer by saying "Yes", or "OK", which in Ewe is "Eh" and "Yo". People always found it funny that Emilie would just look at each other in confusion and then say "Yo".
This usually works, but Emilie did accidentally agree to getting married at least once.

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From left to right:
Porshia, Celestine, Beatrice, Helen, Sandra, and Bless at the bottom

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Emilie with Innocensia

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A white girl, Porshia, Michael, Bless, Innocensia

I found it funny that Ghanains were very happy lively people, but as soon as you ask for a picture they are very serious looking.

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Shine, Sandra's son

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Sandra and Shine

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Emilie and Porshia

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Porshia and Bless
Only Bless was not wearing her traditional African clothes, and I am not sure that she knew what the words on the T-shirt meant.

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Sandra

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Sandra and Shine

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Sandra tying the necklace onto Emilie.
Emilie is already wearing the necklace that Sandra made
The beaded necklace that Sandra is tying was made by Beatrice.
Also, Innocencia gave us a bracelet each that matches the necklace Sandra gave.

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Bless

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Emilie was successfully taught to carry a pan on her head.

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Captain Eku, at the Salvation Army Hostel in Accra.

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Emilie with Shine

Posted by Fat Face 11:51 Archived in Ghana Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

The Construction Site (by Ben)

sunny 30 °C

The Construction Site

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Emilie at the site.

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Agbo mixing cement

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Emmanuel making the bricks, and Charles carrying the bricks away.
Emmanuel is the main contractor at the construction site, and I think that he hires everybody else for the work that need doing. When I see the pictures of Emmanuel, the first thing I think of is on Emilies birthday when he was very excited, and punching his fist in the air he said "Thank you God! God Bless you! Many more years to come!"
Charles is called "Nigeria man", by everybody there because he grew up and went to school in Nigeria.
The first few days, he was wearing an empty bag of cement on his head to protect his head from the sun. I immediately decided that I would leave him my hat when I left, but a few days later he was wearing a hat of his own. He is one of the happiest people that I have ever met, and is constantly singing when he works. It was Charles who was always happy for us to work with him, and Emilie and I spent a long time mixing cement with him.

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Simon, also known as "The President", or "Adabato Ameyebo" (meaning crazy black man)

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Hard at work

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This is looking from the orphanage onto where the school will be built. In later pictures you can see the holes that have been dug where the crops currently are.

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Lots of new bricks

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The view from the hole

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Me busy at work. It was very hot that day (as you would probably expect in West Africa)

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Job done!

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Many holes have been dug. Inside them, there is a large concrete block and there are metal supports in the centre, which will be the pillars.

Posted by Fat Face 11:49 Archived in Ghana Tagged volunteer Comments (1)

On the Street (by Ben)

sunny 30 °C

On the Street

In Ghana there was such a great atmosphere everywhere you were. Houses tend to be very basic for the majority of people, usually just bare concrete walls and floors, and very little time is actually spent indoors, so most of life is spent outside. This means that even a very small village in Ghana seems very busy.
The place that we were staying, Denu, lies in the south of the Volta Region along the stretch of coast between the capital city, Accra, to the border of Togo, and it is the area of Ghana least visited by tourists. This means that people are surprised to see a white person, making it very hard to take pictures of the towns and people going about their daily lives without many people staring at you.
I did manage to take some very sneaky pictures though:

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A very bad picture of a tro-tro.
Tro-tro's are the main form of transport in Ghana. It is basically a small minivan with as many rows of seats squeezed in as possible. On one trip there was even a person on the roof, which was brilliant, and sometimes we would get inside to find that there was a live chicken by our feet.
You can either go to the station, where people will frantically shout "Where you go?" and then take you to their waiting Tro-tro, to sit in until it is full, or you can sometimes flag them down in the street.
The prices are always very reasonable though, for a 5 hour drive we each paid about £3, and a journey from one side of Accra to the other is about 20p each. Bargain.

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People carrying food on their heads.
It is very nice that you can just walk down the street and buy many different kinds of foods.

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I have never been anywhere with such a high proportion of taxis. You can tell that they are taxis because the front and rear wings (the bits above the wheels) are painted orange.
There are 2 types of taxi rides in Ghana:
Shared taxis drive back and forth along the main road picking up anybody that is going in the right direction, so it is normal to share your taxi with as many people as can possibly be squeezed in. I once saw a small taxi (an Opel Astra) with 5 people in the back, 3 on the front passenger seat, and the driver.
Most taxis are old Opel (Vauxhall) Astras or Cavaliers, apparently because it is easy to buy parts to repair them. Obviously not windscreens though, because most of them were broken.
The other type of taxi is a "dropping" or "chartered" taxi, which is basically the same as you would get in Europe. You get in, and it doesn't pick up anybody else along the way, and drops you off where you want to go.
In Ghana the people are very honest. In a tro-tro we were always given the same price as the locals, even though they could have easily ripped us off. The only time I ever felt like people were trying to take advantage of you is when taxi drivers wanted to take you somewhere, and would ask for wildly high prices, because you are yavoo. When I say wildly high, I mean about £2, but that is still 10x as much as you would pay for a shared taxi.

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A family that we were talking to, some of which were from Ghana and some of which were from over the border in Togo.

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This is usually what happens when somebody else uses my camera.

Posted by Fat Face 11:25 Archived in Ghana Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

The Beach (by Ben)

sunny 30 °C

The Beach

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Fisherman in Denu are selling their fresh fish. People are already trying to buy the fish before the fisherman fully reach the shore.

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Bless, Emilie and Nat

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All the boats have something religious on them. This one says "Father Forgive Them".

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There was a very Caribbean feel to the beaches here

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A half built boat.

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The first children that asked us: "Snap me! Snap me!"

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Some fisherman in Keta Lagoon

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Emilie and Simon in Keta
Keta used to be a large town, and it was the capital for all of the Volta Region, until sea erosion caused most of the town to be lost into the sea. The large rocks that you see are attempts by the government at stopping the water intruding further into the town.
Keta lagoon is to the north of Keta, and at some points there is leass than 1km between the lagoon and the Atlantic, so many people are worried that one day the entire town will be lost to the sea.

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The remaining part of the fort. The rest is now in the Atlantic, along with most of the town.

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Posted by Fat Face 11:23 Archived in Ghana Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

Coffins (by Ben)

sunny 30 °C

Coffins

Simon took us to a workshop in Accra where they build custom coffins.
When somebody dies, they can have a coffin made representing what they did in life.

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This is what I will have please. A Ghana Airways Aeroplane

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A drinks bottle. Maybe that person worked in the factory, or just liked the drink.

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A lover of movies?

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A fisherman

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A driver of some sort

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A construction worker

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Another fisherman?

Posted by Fat Face 11:07 Archived in Ghana Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

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