Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Laughs and Loyalty

You need a few laughs after the week I’ve had. I won’t go into details but it involves some grossly unprofessional behaviour from some “Fishwife” who should know better! (This was not directed at me, by the way.) A friend of mine gave me a wonderful expression that is used in these parts……”She bisects her mouth at any angle and brings out any chaff.” Don’t you love it? I wish I could draw the accompanying cartoon. Another one from the same friend, whilst telling me about the condition of the young chickens she had bought from the market……”Six are fine, one has died and three are wearing smocks!” Here is a photo of George in a smock. This men’s striped top is worn typically in the north of Ghana. They are worn more in the cooler seasons.

 Picturing a sick chicken in this heavy garment on its way out or “trying to leave”, describes the state of it perfectly. It makes me smile every time I think of it.

The goats are everywhere around the house at the moment and every one of them is massively pregnant. Most are as wide as they are long.  You’ll remember there is one who waits for me under the tree and smiles. Yes, I know I’m finally losing my mind, but you can see her clearly here. She seems to have been carrying these kids for months. The gestation period is 150 days so it can’t be long now.

 The other mums are delivering, usually on the moat platform, and then take off around the periphery whilst their tiny offspring follow bleating loudly in a high pitched squeaky tone. It’s worse at night when they get lost in the dark and can’t find each other. A kid born yesterday outside the front door got trapped in the veranda under my moto this morning. Her mother looked less than pleased with me for repatriating her with her child. You just can’t help some goats!

I embarked on a mission of mercy with an empty calor gas cylinder on Thursday. I needed to strap it to the back of Michael and take it to Wa for filling. My instructions were to fill it & take it to the tro station in Wa where it would be transported back to Nadowli and delivered. On the journey into Wa I pondered on the likelihood of this working at home.

Filling the thing was easy and I managed to get my heavy passenger to the extremely busy tro station. There were people everywhere and motos weaving between the tros, people selling stuff from huge bowls balanced on their heads and the inevitable wandering sheep. I can’t relate to sheep here. They don’t look at you and wander in front of you almost out of badness, to be a nuisance. They bear no relation to the sheep at home, showing no sign of warmth or cuddliness! Anyway, the tro manager who sits at a table selling tickets had been told to expect a ”Nansapur” (white woman) with a gas cylinder. The large group of assorted men gathered around the desk looked at me blankly when I arrived and a woman eventually remembered the arrangement. Someone untied the cylinder and I rode away. Amazingly, the gas arrived in Nadowli, was passed between a number of people and stored somewhere overnight. Finally, it was delivered to its owner intact the following afternoon. It had no label to distinguish it from any other either. At home, that cylinder would no doubt disappear from the moment it was untied from the moto and would never be seen again.

All manner of things disappear or are blatantly stolen from around our house and veranda. White people seem to be fair game, take what you like and squeeze any amount of money out of us. We are “mugs” and can clearly afford to be fleeced. However, there appears to be a reassuringly strong code of fairness and respect amongst Ghanaians in terms of whose property belongs to whom and they take responsibility for each others belongings. They don’t cheat each other. Going back to the goats for example, (yes, I know) they all roam everywhere but everyone knows who’s is who’s.


  1. HiDebbie,
    I can't believe it's a whole year since you went to Ghana! Great blog/poem re your experience! Reminds me of my tiny experience last September in an Indian school! Has the goat given birth yet?
    Love Kate

  2. Hi Debbie
    Can't believe you have been there over a year the time has just flown by.
    Sorry ti read that you were unwell on your return to the UK but pleased to read that you were able to enjoy special treats that you have missed.
    Sorry did not get to see hopefully catch up next time you are over.
    Take care