It is now four months since Ian arrived in Ghana, and three months since Sandie joined him there. We have got to know the place pretty well, but we are still discovering new things about the area where we live. There have also been some changes.
The steep cut
Our flat is on top of a hill, which is criss-crossed by tracks (we wouldn’t call them roads, although some cars do venture on the broader ones). While out for a weekend walk, we discovered a more direct path down to our office, and we can now walk it in 15 minutes, compared to 25 on what used to be our standard route. The only problem is that it is pretty steep, so climbing back up in the evening is quite a challenge, though doubtless good exercise! We already called another path the ‘short cut’ so our new route is the ‘steep cut’.
Walking the plank
Sometimes we still take the longer route home in order to visit the shops in Oblogo. Further up the hill there are more shops, including two that we visit regularly. A large section of the road there has been dug up to create a new drainage ditch by the side. So to get into one of the shops you have to literally ‘walk the plank’ (or the old door, or whatever else enterprising shopkeepers have put down to enable customers to bridge the gap). Going to buy our phone credit has now become a real adventure.
At the office
On the other hand, getting into the office has become easier. The Omega offices are on the first floor, with outside concrete steps. An extra step was constructed over Christmas, so we no longer have to balance on a lump of rock to reach the lowest one.
The biggest change, however, is that our PCs have been taken away (sent to schools, we believe) and replaced by new laptops. Although in general we prefer to use PCs with ‘proper’ keyboards, laptops have one great advantage in Ghana: they do not switch off as soon as there is a power cut, or even a slight fluctuation in voltage, which happens frequently. They continue to run on battery, hopefully until the power is restored or the emergency generator starts up.
In the flat
We had a new tap installed in the bathroom, only about ten days after the old one ceased to function. One of Ian’s greatest finds was a shop that sold mop buckets, a real treasure since the marble floors here need frequent mopping to keep them clean.
Our bed has taken on a rather strange appearance. It is enormous (bigger than king size) but very hard to sleep on (they don’t go in for sprung mattresses in Ghana). When we returned from the UK at New Year we brought our airbed and pump, in case we had visitors, but decided to make use of it ourselves. The airbed, which is standard double size, now sits on top of our bed, reminding Sandie of the Step Pyramid of Zoser, although Ian refers to it as the bouncy castle. We get more exercise climbing up into it, but it is definitely more comfortable.
When we came back from the UK Ian brought some of his paints and a few canvases from the 99p shop, so he’s been able to get back into painting again after a bit of a gap. We also brought a large collection of DVDs and CDs (acquired from charity shops or given to us as gifts). Our own laptop now leads a double life, having the keyboard hammered in the early evening and then masquerading as an entertainment centre late at night. Laptops – what would we do without them?