Sunday, 19 July 2009

Lucy's first blog

Stepping of the plane and queuing in the humid airport the first signs of the social issues in Ghana were visible. The sign on the Airport wall read clearly, 'visitors are warmly welcomed but pedophilia is illegal in Ghana and anyone coming for illegal sex is not welcome'.
The passengers [a mix of Ghanaian people dressed in bright prints and cliche travelers wearing the obligatory 'individual uniform' of baggy clothes and bracelets] walked through to went to collect their bags.

Our first experiences in Accra were quite comic,we were like rabbits in headlights. The women carrying heavy loads were fantastic[the novelty has since worn off]. The sewage running down the streets and the people sleeping rough made me feel far from home.

Ghana is very religious and its visible in the streets. Everywhere comic shop names with God in the title make me laugh for example' God is with you hair Salon' and 'grace and glory cold store'.

The 14 hour bus ride from Accra to Tamale, which is where the 16 of us will be volunteering for 2 months was great fun. We watched Ghana change from the urban city of Accra to rural villages with traditional mud huts in mountain settings. The loo stops were an experience in themselves. Our toilet experiences ranged from a hole in the ground [which we were charged to use] to a kind of communal drain. I will never take a toilet seat for granted again they are wonderful creations that make me very happy.

Tamale, our new home for two months is quieter and the poorest part of Ghana. The poverty is very visible in big and little ways, from shoeless children to lack of infastructure. As much as the poverty has impacted me the friendliness also is so overwhelming. The way that every person greets you in the street and smiles really makes you feel welcome .The little children mesmerized by our strange white skin enthusiastically greet us with 'silly minger' meaning white person. Apparently its 'dugbani' a local language but I'm sure some joker tourists must have started a trend.

We have been in Tamale for a week and a thing I am still adjusting to is the contrasting view of time in Ghana. They are very laid back, for example, a meeting scheduled for two can be attended at four. Life in general is much slower [including the internet of the computer I am currently writing on in a local internet cafe] .Talking to a Ghanaian man whilst I was waiting for someone [who was late, surprise, surprise ] ,he mocked the western view of time. 'Time is money' to you he chuckled at this laughable concept. I see him sitting on that bench every day, doing as I can see nothing with his time. I'm not sure why

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