Monday, 30 November 2009

Three Zero

It’s getting to the end of my birthday week, yes, I choose to consider the whole week a celebration of my existence! This year I enter a new decade, the thirties! Although I’ve displayed only mock horror at this fact, I have had some panicky moments in the past week. My birthday was last Tuesday and I woke up feeling extremely old and tired. Could this be because all sleep training went out the window once we got to London and Em kept me up all night? Probably.

Wednesday, and my joints were feeling a bit stiff and achy, a symptom many geriatrics complain of. Could this be, because I was still adjusting to UK temperatures and again hadn’t slept well? Possibly, but in that moment it felt like my youth truly was gone, forreva!

Saturday night, as I was threading a sewing machine for the first time in two years (why is another looong story), suddenly my 20/20 vision failed me and it took five blurry attempts before the thread made it through the eye. At this point I was really close to breakdown: is this what being thirty means? A few minutes later I remembered that I had been awake for twenty hours and hadn’t eaten for the past twelve of them. Here’s hoping that was the reason, as my perfect vision is extremely precious to me.

Some people get depressed about turning thirty, but I guess I’ve hit most of the milestones that can cause anxiety. Profession, yes, job, yes, home, yes, marriage, yes, children, one. So far, so good. And yet on Friday I felt a slight panic that the fun and wild twenties were over forever, had I made sure I had enough fun? Then I remembered, my twenties have been a blast!

(Pictures from my low key birthday party at Prampram yesterday.)

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Timeout Accra

No, I'm not talking about the magazine, Timeout Accra (which I haven't had an opportunity to peek through but hear is quite good), rather I have taken a timeout from Accra and with me, I have my favourite accessory, Em. We're currently chillaxin in Kent (England) at my dad's place. The last few weeks have been extremely hectic and thanks to several months of sleep deprivation I'm completely fatigued so when the chance of spending a week in London came up, I was nowhere close to saying no.

Whilst Em gets a dose of Grandpa, I'm going to enjoy some much needed, a break from household and work responsibilities and of course, a bit of shopping. I think we all at some point feel time running faster than we can keep up with, and when we do, it is important, if possible, to catch our breaths and slow down for a bit. If you can't (or don't want to) make it to London for a week, I'd recommend a weekend break outside Accra, perhaps at Green Turtle Lodge, Stone Lodge or even a night or two at the serene Afia African Village, right in the centre of Accra (Ministries).

And of course if either budget or time is tight, try my old favourite, head to your mama, papa or anyone you know who'll be happy to take you in for some days and relieve you of your daily chores for some days. Mentally, after two days I am already ready to go back, but physically I still need some more sleep and as such, am happy for the days we have left.

In between shopping, resting and relaxing (possibly the most inactive verb!), we're all getting in to the mood for Christmas and thanks to IKEA, it looks like there's a pretty good Swedish Christmas to be had even in the heat of Accra. See you soon!

Monday, 16 November 2009


I hope the title doesn't offend you (ashawo means whore/prostitute, when one wants to be crude. Originally a Nigerian word, it is the generic term in Ghana now.), but my whole weekend has been tainted by Ashawo.

Firstly I must say it's been a great weekend! After weeks of sleep training, baby finally sleeps through the night and as a result we could get a babysitter (my mama) and go to a friend's birthday dinner at Le Magellan Friday night. When someone after dinner suggested we continue the night at Citizen Kofi, Virgo and I, like the two newly released prisoners we clearly were, screamed in unison "Yay!" (yes,our excitement was rather embarassing). When we got there, just around midnight, we realised that apart from us and a group of girls, there were a few older white men (clearly the target customers) and - you guessed it - ashawo.

After dancing for about an hour they played a song I recognised that I'd been hearing in the past few weeks and of course, when it got to the chorus, I heard what it was - yes - Ashawo! Interestingly, at this point the two prostitutes who had been putting on a nasty, somewhat disjointed mapouka-like show all evening, stood this one out, each suddenly very busy texting away on their phones.

Yesterday, we headed to Tema to what turned out to be the after party of a funeral and whilst waiting for our friend's requested song, the new Slim Buster/Tinny collaboration to play, what did we hear: Ashawo.

The song, an old Nigerian classic from our parents' days, is so catchy in its beat that anybody can end up singing along, if not also dancing. Yesterday, I laughed off a friend's fears that Ashawo might be baby Em's first words the way Virgo continued singing it all day long, however today, I'm slightly concerned. After humming it this afternoon, we got home to hear the same song playing at the drinking spot across the road. Just imagine the reactions of uncles, aunties and the ever present church brigade if at nine months little Em opens her mouth and blurts out:


Thursday, 12 November 2009

Wrong number!

The days are flying by with so much to write but no time to put it down in print. Am I the only one who feels like time is racing to the end of the year?

One thing which has often bothered me is the manners of mistaken callers. Usually they answer the call by screaming: Akos? Akos?! When the response is "sorry, wrong number" the caller hits back by kissing his teeth loudly. I've gotten used to these calls over the years and don't let them upset me anymore. However on Sunday, even I was surprised by the reaction.

I received two calls from a woman screaming "Wula? Wula?!" When I as usual alerted her to the fact that she had called the wrong number, she kissed her teeth and slammed the phone down in my ear. Hmmph.

Later that evening, around 21:30, the same woman called again (unfortunately I feel I have to refrain myself from calling her a lady!). Exasperated, I once again told her, "Sorry, wrong number". Her response (screaming):

Dabi, m'enka enkyere me se eye wrong number! (No, don't tell me it is the wrong number!)

At which point I just laughed and hung up. Later on I wish I had stayed on the line and said "OK, sorry it's not the wrong number, I am Wula, yes everything is great, bla bla bla" and wasted her credit til she realised, it was indeed, the wrong person she was talking to.

Well, at least in the end she put a smile on my face. Silly cow.

*Special thanks to the Poet for helping me write in Twi

Thursday, 5 November 2009


A few years ago I remember complaining about how I missed London's corner shops, the accessibility to everyday products on practically every street corner. What was I talking about?! Clearly, if I had gotten out of my car more often here in Ghana, I would've noticed all our "corner shops".

After getting back to Ghana, and realising that certain things are harder to do with my constant accessory (that's the baby I'm talking about), I've had to give up on some of my regular spots and find other options. For example, for weeks I wondered how I'd coordinate baby and breastfeeding so that I could have my hair braided, something I usually do at Auntie Alice salon. I thought of the long queues there and told myself, surely there's someone in my area who could sort me out with some cornrows.

Then, on my way to a funeral three weeks ago, the zip of my traditional top broke. I panicked for a second before I reassured myself and my mum, that surely, there would be a seamstress somewhere on this or the next road. That day, I asked a girl in the neighbourhood to take the top for me, find a seamstress and bring it back to me once the zip was repaired.

A few days later I finally decided to explore the area myseld, and even I, with my optimistic opinions of our road, was surprised at everything I found. Less than 100 metres from us, there's a seamstress, a hairdresser (who actually agreed to braiding my hair at home, solving all baby related issues), a laundry service, a drinks shop, a newly opened corner store, a fruit & veg stand and of course the local drinking spot that keeps us 'entertained' e-v-e-r-y evening til 1 a.m.

Within a 500 metre radius, there's a pharmacy, dentist, clinic, forex, school, day nursery, restaurant, clothes shops, etc! Granted, Labone isn't exactly in the deepest of forests, but our road looks very quietly residential and in all my almost two years of driving on this road, I had never noticed many of these places.

Well, it's good to know that even without a car, most of the weekly errands can be handled in a 2 or 3 minute walk, this knowledge was especially useful to me as I went car-less all of last week. But that's a whole other story...


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