Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Road to Recovery

The bus ride overnight from Wa to Accra took 11 hours, a little longer than expected due to the driver and his mate needing to rebuild the gear box at midnight in Kumasi. They made a good job of it with two spanners and a torch. Meanwhile, we watched (or tried not to) the most dreadful Ghanaian sitcoms on the TV. I have known children with a camcorder produce more realistic recordings. However, they probably have similar budgets!

I now have medication that is working to restore my stomach etc to good health, thanks to the doctors of Accra's Trust Hospital. The stuff from Nadowli was just not hitting the spot. My appetite is improving and I am overdosing on salads and yogurt, neither of which I have enjoyed since February. It is amazing what you can get in Accra and especially Koala, the International a price! They had brocolli this morning at £9 a kilo! I enjoyed looking at it for free as I have nowhere to cook it anyway.

Life here couldn't be more different to the quiet rural life of the Upper West. The roads here in the capital are full of tro tros, large corporate jeeps and taxis. The latter have drivers who are sure you need their services all the time and each hoot as they pass any white pedestrian......just in case you had forgotten you needed them. Until you get used to it it drives you crazy and its tempting to yell back,"If I want a ******* taxi I'll hail one, thank you!". However, they can't be criticised for not working hard. It's a dog eat dog world for them with far more on the roads than are necessary and each trying to get as many Cedis out of every passenger as possible. I am learning the art of negotiation and am probably not too good at it yet. Street sellers are out day and night with heavy bowls of fruit on their heads or armfuls of beads, bags and other things you don't need. White skin means you are rich and will pay a fortune for whatever they are selling. As in places all over the world, "No, thank you" is not final!

Actually, "No" is not a word the Ghanaians use at all. Whatever you ask the answer is "Yes". It takes time to learn that "Yes" usually means "No".  Will it be here this morning? Yes. Is there a fork in my Take Away salad box? Yes. Do you have everything on this menu? Yes. When a Ghanaian says "Yes", you need to think "No" and may be pleasantly surprised.........or not! Most of the time they don't understand and "Yes" is the default reply. They don't like to disappoint.

Well, I'm fancying a small pizza for dinner. Cheese, lettuce and yogurt all in the same day. Simple pleasures, so often taken for granted in my past.

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