There are things that we miss in Ghana – such as constant electricity, a reliable water supply, and a street address! On a recent Saturday we were reminded about all of these things.
A lot of houses, including ours, have large black plastic ‘Polytanks’ to provide a constant supply of water, even when the mains isn’t running. Our tank is mounted high up next to the roof on a kind of metal scaffolding. One Saturday morning we noticed that a stream of water was running down from the tank outside the dining room window. A plumber went up to investigate, and reported that the metal sheet on which the tank sits is rotting, so it has tipped over and caused a leak from one of the joints. If the sheet is not replaced, then the tank is likely to come crashing down one day, causing considerable havoc! We are hoping that the landlady can get this problem sorted soon, preferably while we are away from home, as it will mean going without water for two days.
A street address is something we took for granted until we came to Ghaaa. The only address we have for our flat is Flat 4, NG22/3, New Gbawe Top Base – and nobody would know where that was! If we need a taxi home (usually when we have heavy shopping) we have to direct the driver. Getting a taxi from here is more difficult, though fortunately we don’t have to do it often. There are no taxi companies as such, so you have to find an individual who knows where you live. Luckily we’ve found such a driver, called Alex.
On the day we discovered the water tank leak, our friend and colleague Erica was coming to lunch. She lives in Kasoa, about ten miles away. She also has a local driver, but does not know the way to our flat well enough to direct him. And we could not send Alex for her, because we could not clearly describe where she lives. So it had to be a complicated arrangement, whereby Erica’s driver brought her to Weija Junction (identifiable point fairly close to where we live) and Alex had to pick her up from there – taking Sandie with him because otherwise it would have been difficult to make contact, as there are lots of taxis and people around.
The power supply has not been too bad lately – we’ve had nothing like the 48-hour blackout we experienced in November. But there have been a number of shorter cuts. On the same Saturday evening, we were having tea on the balcony when Sandie noticed the lights going out on the hills opposite. She’d barely commented on this when our lights went out too. They were still out three hours later, when we went to bed. Power was restored next morning, but off again when we arrived home late that afternoon, desperate for a shower!
Despite the problems, life in Ghana has definite advantages, and one of course is the weather. While people back in the UK have been telling us about the dreadful weather – snow, ice, rain and bitter cold – we’ve been exploring a range of beach resorts up and down the Ghana coast, taking in a new one each weekend.
Two weeks ago we travelled up the coast to Fete, and stayed overnight at Till’s No. 1 Hotel. This is very smart and nicely laid out, though very quiet when we arrived. Then suddenly two coachloads of day visitors arrived, and the place became very crowded and rather lively. At sunset the visitors disappeared again, so we had dinner all on our own that evening. The next day we visited the nearby village of Senya Beraku and its Fort of Good Hope, with good views over the beach and the fishing boats below.
The day after Erica’s visit we went to Bojo Beach Resort, quite near home. The beach itself is a sandbank, and you have to take a boat across a river to get there. From the beach you get good views of the fishing boats of Bortianor village tied up in the river.
Last weekend we stayed overnight at Abandze Beach Resort, not far from Cape Coast. It has nice rooms and a friendly atmosphere, and on Saturday the weather was sunny though windy, so we lazed on the beach for a bit. Then we went to explore nearby Fort Amsterdam (confusingly built by the British). This is on a headland with more good views over the beach and boats, but it was spoiled for us by the annoying children there who kept pestering us. But later on, back at the resort, we had a pleasant meal at the beachside restaurant, our table lit by a hurricane lamp and with the sound of crashing waves in the background.
We are working quite hard during the week, honest – it’s just that the temperatures here are warm all year, and there is an amazing variety of beach resorts scattered along the coast, which gives us somewhere to go at the weekend.