Thursday, 9 July 2009

arriving in Ghana

A striking feature in Accra, Tamale and perhaps the rest of Ghana is the copious amount of billboards on the roadside. They advertise loans, electrical goods, dentists, health you name it. This is what I first noticed as we drove down the dark muddy road to our hostel in Accra- the Rising Phoenix.
The mysterious Jon had picked us up from the airport with very little complication and he was now leading the way in one of our broken cars with no seatbelts and a broken speedometer. I mention to the driver that I heard there were more fatal car accidents than death by malaria in Ghana. He laughs- we are very safe in Ghana he says, and our skin is too thick for the mosquitos. Ghana is such a relaxed, happy, welcoming country but they hinder thier own development by not seeing the faults and problems in front of them. If they are not recognised they will not be dealt with and those who admit them deal with it slowly, slowly fighting the tide of those who refuse to be made aware.
We arrived at the hostel at about which is a breezy, scenic place by the sea. It is situated in a little shanty town where people sleep wherever they like and during the day women cook in the streets with their little barefooted children runnig around- a common sight in Africa. It is very friendly though and the several Rastafarians who "took us as their friends", as well as our trusty Jon, our new Canadian friend Mike, and our American NGO worker Molly showed us all the best places to go. In general, the hostel was just enough for most of the group though the electricity did not turn on till the minibus arrived to collect us on Sunday.
Sunday was the 13hour coach ride to Tamale with Nigerian films blaring at us and an experience in itself. We were anticipating with excitement the site of our saviours David Bush, the intern, and Peter, the help us with everything man. They met us through the crowd as we fell off the bus and were bruised by the driver and his helpers throwing our suitcases at us. For some reason he was demanding $100 but what did it matter? We were now in the safe arms of David and Peter.
Another few taxis later and we were home to one of our lovely houses with fans and electricity, two chickens and three bathrooms. Our haven. The last few days have become a sort blur with all the NGOs coming round, the waiting so common to the Ghanain lifestyle, the market, the party, the food, Peter, the malaria pills and so on. Yesterday was my first hour and a half of teaching with Caroline in Morning Star with more volunteers to follow. I love it however exhausting it may be. The school is a few shacks and no toilet. I thought I was prepared but I was not and if any teaching is to get done the conditions must be ignored and hand sanitiser will have to become our best friend. I already know three names in my class of ages 7-8 who cannot read much: Sarah, Adam and Abdul Rasid.
Madam Cecilia owns the school and Eric is the headteacher. More on this to follow.
Madam Talia

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