Friday, 20 May 2011

Home again

We've actually been home since Wednesday lunchtime but the internet has been difficult since then. It is strange how quickly somewhere can become "home". I enjoyed Accra despite the long journeys each way. Plastic seats and endless bad Nigerian movies don't help. The city is vibrant with lots of opportunities and a few interesting places to visit. Accra is not a huge tourist destination. The interesting parts are just outside. It's expensive though and easy to get into the habit of taking taxis everywhere. It is too hot to search for trotros between destinations. It is also too easy to shop! There is nothing to buy in Nadowli and 10 Cedis can last a week. That sum won't buy lunch in the capital.

I stayed with a couple of volunteers who came out with me and it was really good to catch up with them and discover how our experiences compared. I am reasonably happy with my haircut. It is very short again but will grow extremely quickly. I felt a little nervous when the hairdresser explained that she knew how to cut European Hair as she had watched her friend. It is not a bad job and cost me less than £10. I am now almost all my natural colour.

We visited Jamestown, a very poor  but picturesque ( in a dilapidated and grubby sort of way) fishing area of Accra. There are wide contrasts in wealth in this city as in others.

I could not believe how accessible varieties of fruit and vegetables are in Accra, all on the street! Here we are reduced to tomatoes and yams with a few onions now. Although I found a pineapple this morning. On our last morning we visited Koala. This is an ex-pats supermarket - very expensive but you find things you crave. Patricia and I bought a whole mini Edam cheese for 28 Cedis (£14). What a pleasure and a treat! We found some other goodies too - muesli, good black pepper, ginger nut biscuits and Homepride flour (without weevils). We managed to transport them all home in reasonable shape although the edam is now a rugby ball.

On Tuesday morning we visited a Children's Library set up by a Canadian woman some years ago. It is all housed in a couple of transporter containers. We met Kathy Knowles as she was visiting that day and found her quite inspirational. The library was so well organised and clean, even if many of the books were yellowed. I loved it and the staff cared so much about the place and the children who visited to read and listen to stories. It was a significant haven in an area where children have so little.
It is quite a relief to be "home" although I shall look forward to my next trip down to Accra and the coast. I did manage another task over the weekend. I succeeded in booking my flights "home" for Christmas! It was such a trial though. In the end I booked on line but had to go out to the airport to pay with a credit card. Nowhere else would take one! Fortunately, we were heading there anyway to say Goodbye to Laura.
So, I shall be in Blighty between Dec 16 and Jan 5. I have lots to do and see before then but it is wonderful to be able to look forward to seeing everyone.

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