Sunday, 3 April 2011

A load of gas!

We have been living on borrowed time with the gas cylinder attached to the cooker. It should have run out weeks ago. The full one to replace it has been stored in a house in Wa waiting for collection. Today, I took the bull by the horns and embraced the challenge to get it home. I had spent the weekend with my Dutch friends in Wa and doing some shopping at the "Point & Shout" (a dark, very untidy shop with shelves 15 feet high, that sells Quakers Oats, Heinz Baked Beans, Corned Beef and other luxuries) It was aptly named some time ago. A team of young men armed with long poles knock down anything you need from the top shelves. However, they are not terribly well conversant with the names of things in English, hence the need to wave your arms around pointing and shouting "No, further along, the next one!". I ended up with a heavy bag of cans and packets that will give us considerable pleasure over the next couple of weeks.

All the taxi drivers are young, cheerful and desperate to find some connection with you. They live in the same village or know it, have a sister with your name, or even a sister who looks like you, amazingly!! Ali was no different this morning, desperate to be helpful at a price. I explained the task and we ventured out in search of the house with the gas. We found it after a couple of wrong turns and before long the gas cylinder was in the boot of his car. Not long after we had negotiated the tro tro station and having paid and tipped Ali, I needed to tip someone else to get it on the tro, fortunately not on the roof today. Everything was going smoothly as we set off, for the first time in a partly filled van. Unfortunately, we came across a broken down tro and needed to squeeze as many people as possible into ours. I was now 1 of 4 adults with 3 children on the back seat and me with my feet on a heavy, large gas cylinder and my knees around my ears. We made it to the village. Patricia met me and we managed to carry the cylinder and bag of cans between us for a few metres, until a teenage girl insisted on taking the handle on my side and completing the journey to the house. This is not unusual behaviour here. Children are brought up to do a wide range of chores around the house, before and after school and some physically demanding. They are naturally helpful and seem never to complain. They are also incredibly strong.

Here are a couple of shots from the tro. Just a little scenery that will change in a month to being spectacularly green and lush with the rains, we hope.

This is one of the "spots" we pass with a makeshift petrol station at the kerb. No, don't mention health and safety! You buy it by the jug out of the can. You never see Ghanaians smoking, just as well outside the bar, really!

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