A New Year in Ghana

We arrived back in Ghana on 4th Jan, and returned to work the next day. Since then, we have visited all ten Omega schools, aiming to evaluate the feedback we produced for them from the mid-term tests in November. The general pattern was for Sandie to interview the school manager, while Ian and our colleague Ato spoke to the teachers. It made an interesting change from being in the office all day. We also prepared a workshop on test development for the education team at Omega.

Ian explains test results to Omega teachers

Enthusiastic pupils at an Omega school

Cape Coast again

We visited Cape Coast for the second time the weekend Jan 13-15. If you read about our first visit (Dec 2-4) you may remember that in order to get to Cape Coast we have to first go to Accra, in the opposite direction. You cannot buy tickets on the bus, and there are no intermediate offices. This weekend, however, Ato was also going to Cape Coast, and kindly offered to buy tickets for us in Accra, so we could join the bus at Weija Junction. It was still a long trip, because the traffic (as often!) was really bad coming out of Accra, so we had to wait about two hours for the bus. But at least there was a spot (bar) next to the bus stop, so we passed the time quite happily!

On Saturday we visited a couple of forts in Cape Coast, as well as going to some of the places we’d enjoyed before.

Fort William, in Cape Coast

On Sunday we went by tro-tro to Kakum National Park, about 20 miles out of town. This is one of the main rainforest areas in Ghana, but we were slightly disappointed. You cannot explore on your own, and there are a limited number of fairly short guided excursions. The main one is the ‘canopy walkway’ which takes you around the tops of tall trees on narrow wooden planks suspended from the trees. Although there is mesh up to waist high, the walkway wobbled quiet a lot and we felt nervous, so we took the ‘short cut’, completing only three of the eight sections. We saw no animals on the walkway, or on the nature walk we did afterwards, but when we were almost back at the visitor centre we saw a snake up in a tree, and several orange-headed lizards.

On the Canopy Walkway at Kakum NP

A deadly green mamba takes a rest

Inquisitive lizard

Dusty days

The current time of year is what Ghanaians call ‘harmattan’. These are winds which blow during the dry season and bring dust from the Sahara, reducing visibility. Here is the south we don’t feel the wind (just an occasional light breeze) but the sun is usually hazy, although it is still hot, of course. We’ve had no rain since October and so everywhere is very dusty. Our shoes have all turned red-brown, and there are layers of dust on every surface in the flat – trying to get rid of it is like painting the Forth Bridge.

Hazy Harmattan sunrise

Dust and haze

Apart from that, our flat is in good shape – well, almost. By Christmas everything we wanted was done, except that we had a hole in the wall of the shower room (plumbers fixing a leak had removed tiles and not replaced them). They finally turned up on Saturday 7th Jan (banging on the door at 7am!) so we were delighted that now everything was sorted. However, within a week the washbasin tap in our en suite bathroom had stopped functioning, so we are waiting on plumbers once again.

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