Saturday, 27 March 2010

Power and marketing

Remember about eighteen months ago when I was all excited about going to Agbobloshie and then never did? Well, today I finally made it there! Went with my 7-month pregnant friend N and headed onto Graphic Road. We were completely excited (tourists as we are) when we got there, and completed the market experience with some wagashi (fried cheese which was quite similar to Asian paneer) and sachet water. All our 'marketing' (shopping (will show pictures tomorrow)), which will probably last for more than two weeks, cost just around GHc50. Quite a difference from what you'd get for GHc50 on a trip to Koala!

(N of course found it very embarassing that I took pictures, but how else would I have captured the occasion?)

Today (now, actually) it is Earth Hour day, when electricity is turned off for an hour all over the world to remind us to conserve our energy. Like Kajsa pointed out, in Ghana whether we like it or not, we have are own Earth Hour ever so often. Of course, ECG took care of us today too, switching the lights off at 18:30 but thankfully, they got us back on within 10 minutes.

I do however remember last year's Earth Hour, which occurred whilst Em and I were still in hospital. While she slept, I looked out onto Mölndals town center, only lit up by streetlights, and as I sipped a cup of nyponsoppa (rosehip soup) and a glass of milk, I remember thinking that I'd have to take this picture (below) of the milk carton, to show Maya the unusual milk carton that was in the shops when she was born.

Now, off to bed to get enough rest and find the energy to prepare Bissap and aim to roast a perfect lamb steak tomorrow!

Monday, 22 March 2010

World Water Day: Water, water everywhere and not a drop to spare...

The saying above pretty much sums up Ghana. With an ocean edging the entire southern border o the country, a lake so vast it provides us all with electricity (well, sometimes) and rivers and waterfalls all over our land, it is amazing that we struggle for water each day.

Any given morning, on our street in Labone, you'll find school children carrying an orange gallon of water back home for the morning's preparations, before heading off to school. Some of us are lucky to have polytanks collecting the water as it runs, because like many water-lacking areas, we only get water about three times a week. Yet on one of those mornings that I catch a small boy walking a looong way for water, I happen to pass the Osu road that leads from Ebeneezer Presbyterian Church to Kingdom Books, and what do I see on my right? Through a crack in a wall, water is gushing, gushing out of a broken pipe into nowhere and everywhere.

(This beautiful picture borrowed from Anderson Cooper's blog)
The unfair, unnecessary waste hits my stomach with pain. What are we doing? How is it that this most precious item that we cannot live without is allowed to escape freely, when just around the corner there are people in dire need of it? With so many water efficient ways of living, it is time this issue moves up on the list of our land's priorities and we see a change in the water situation in Ghana today. I hope to mention a few water efficient ways later in the week if ECG and Vodafone permit me to.

Today is World Water Day. (As if on cue, the water in our bathroom decided to stop running despite the fact that it is running everywhere else and the tanks are full!). Appreciate every drop of water that passes your way. There are those who don't have that privilege.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Good hair

The hairstyle? Of course I had it done at Auntie Alice Salon and these days there seems to be less of a queue. I waited about 10-15 minutes before they started on my hair. Got there at 11:15 and was out by 14:20.

This time round I missed the morning devotion, but among the hens and dogs getting stuck in clumps of hair extensions, I managed to also catch a goat, aponkye!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Dear friends, there's so many things I have wanted to write about but I have had a really frustrating week. If it's not Vodafone destroying my online social life, it's ECG doing the same to the real life, hospital appointments not coming on on time because they double booked patients (!), meetings being delayed by three hours, business partners taking us back to square one or staff not performing and then getting the company into trouble for it.

I wanted to do a whole countdown to the very special day that my daughter Em turned one (Hooray!) but for now I'll simply leave you with a picture from last Friday's celebrations.

Today has been a very testing day. I got back from the hospital apointment which was postponed (and of course I only found out after two hours of waiting), to find the phone line still cut off, the internet still not working (despite both being paid up), and half an hour later... (oh come on, you know the only thing that could top this off) of course... lights off!

After 36 hours off lights off this weekend, I couldn't take another minute and we quickly headed out to visit an aunty in Airport Residential. This evening, when half of our lights had come on, I decided to have a look at my photos and organise the ones I wanted to print at the Accra Mall. Turns out the last time I went to the photo shop at the mall, they erased my entire memory card, meaning I've lost at least a month of photos! As you can imagine, I am still feeling extremely sad about that and tomorrow I intend to go there, see what can be done and give them a piece of my mind.

Still, as always trying to be positive, I'm focusing on the delicious dinner I had this evening (prepared by moi) of lobster with garlic butter, potato puree with basil and a dessert of apple cinnamon cake (yes, I baked too, there wasn't much else to do with no electricity) and vanilla ice cream. I bought the lobster from one of those guys on Oxford street, in Koala's yard, and I'm surprised to say it was yummier and cheaper than the ones I usually by at Tema European Market! Now, after a quick shower, I'm going to watch some new episodes of Gossip Girl or Desperate Housewives, also bought in Koala's car park and hopefully by tomorrow, the loss of my photos will be a faded memory.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Who Wants to be Rich?

(Picture from Who wants to be rich Ghana)

…I just remembered what I actually wanted to write about yesterday. A TV moment that had me laughing really hard. On Who Wants to be Rich (we can’t afford to make people millionaires quite yet) this question pops up:
Which two primary colours make the colour green:
A. Red and yellow
B. Blue and yellow
C. Red and blue
D. Purple and red
(ok, I admit I don’t exactly remember the four options, but continue reading and you’ll see it doesn’t really matter). The TEACHER and UNIVERSITY STUDENT who is asked the question doesn’t know the answer. Hm, let me not even pass judgement but leave you to make your own comments. So instead he chooses to phone a friend. He calls his friend and this is how the conversation goes:

“Which two primary colours make the colour green:
A. Red and yellow”
"B. Blue and yellow"
"C. Red and blue"
"D. Purple and red"
Ok, I’m guessing the friend doesn’t get the format of the game, but watching it and seeing the contestant get more and more confused made my Sunday night! That is…until my laptop made me cry…

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Laptop abuse

This evening my laptop made me cry. Yes, you read right, my LAPTOP made me cry. After trying to send of a work report for about an hour, somewhere between the internet connection flashing on and off and my laptop freezing for the fourth time, I slammed my hands on to the dining table in despair and when Virgo asked what was wrong, I suddenly felt tears running down my face as I tried to explain my frustration. Granted, I know it is a complete overreaction to a ridiculously temperamental internet connection and a failing laptop (which has otherwise worked wonderfully for its whole first year of life, although sorry Acer, I’m a Toshiba girl and they usually work well for two or three years before slowing down.), probably caused by lack of sleep, stress of all the wahala that’s been going on lately and the pressure of trying to get this report sent in by the end of 7th March.

It just made me realise the power technology has on us these days, I’ve felt completely powerless all evening and that has certainly not been helped by the fact that I now know my computer has the power to make me cry!
(Of course all this was written in Word as the network timed out about three times whilst I tried to write.) Anyhoo, the report finally got sent and thankfully tomorrow we have an extra weekend day to continue what has otherwise been a lovely Independence Day weekend.

How have you spent the weekend?

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Just another day in Ghana

When I decided I was moving to Ghana, some 4,5 years ago, my mum, though very happy about my decision, asked me:
Why are you moving to Ghana when you hate heat, loathe and fear insects and get really irritated when people are not punctual?
I couldn't really answer her, but somehow thought, maybe everything else about Ghana will make it worth the cons.

Tuesday, and I'm in a 5 hour meeting, which of course started late because people did not show up on time. I can't put Em in her high chair as some hundreds of ants are feasting on leftover foodcrumbs in there (left the chair out on the porch, oops!).

Towards the end of the meeting I step out to call Vodafone, who still haven't fixed our broadband (oh yes, it is the same problem). After dilly dallying me for a bit and realising I am not going to give in until I get someone over to sort out the problem, the technician says, "Madam, someone can come over...if you don't mind coming to pick them up."
I know, unbelievable. However at that point, it is so darn hot, with sweat running down my face and I am so desperate to get back online that I agree.

Whilst driving to Vodafone, I am reminded of my mum's question. At times it is pretty frustrating living here. Still, as I drive back home chatting happily with the technician in the car, AC and radio on, and reminded of the sweet fresh mango waiting for me at home, I realise my optimistic thought is still the same: despite the heat, the tardiness and the awful insect and geckos, life in Ghana is so sweet, at the end of the day you still manage to go to bed with a smile on your face.

Of course, functioning AC and broadband make the experience that little bit easier!


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