It is three weeks now since we returned from England, and life in Ghana has continued more or less in the usual pattern.
It has been a busy period for us in the office. Just before we left for England, the Omega pupils took their mid-term tests, and the data was meant to be entered by the time we returned, so Ian could get on with the analysis. But there were the inevitable delays, so we ended up rushing to get all the analysis done, the feedback printed and collated, and 72 individual booklets bound in time to be given out at a teacher workshop on Friday 30th March. Feedback for school managers is now ready for distribution, while feedback for Omega management is still work in progress!
A busy time was also enlivened by visits from James, our sponsor, and a group of his postgraduate students who were based in the schools for a month. Unfortunately James was unwell for much of his time here, and was taken to hospital suffering from malaria. We’re glad to say he is now back in the UK and recovering.
On Friday 23rd March Sandie attended a ‘Literacy Festival’ held (outdoors) at one of the schools. It was an enjoyable event, although not quite what she expected from the title! Pupils from five of the schools participated, and while there were some poems and playlets, most of the presentations focused on music, song and dance. Some groups had been trained by the Newcastle students, who came from various parts of the world, so the festival had a truly international flavour.
In the blog before last, we wrote about problems with the water tank; we were told that we (and our neighbours) would be without water for three days while it was fixed. As the neighbours’ supply had run dry, we were told to empty our water on Sunday 26th February, so work could start on the following day. We sat up late that night with all the taps on, not looking forward to three days with no showers or flushing loo. But the next morning, to our surprise, the water had come back. We still don’t know why, but it meant a delay in getting things fixed, and so the job was done (luckily for us) while we were in England!
We have had the usual power cuts at irregular times, sometimes lasting for several hours. We brought back from England a large supply of candles, as well as lights that fix to our caps (modern version of a miner’s lantern, very useful when moving around the flat in the dark). We needed holders for the candles, and discovered that, while beer bottles do not have the right sized necks, wine and cider bottles are perfect. It means we have to drink more in order to have more candles – a struggle of course, but we’re managing to cope.
There are a limited number of places we can reach at weekends, so recently we’ve revisited ones we’ve been to before, but with some variations. Yesterday we went to Accra, for the first time in over three months. This time we visited two new places: the enormous Makola Market, which sells absolutely everything, and the Nkrumah Memorial Park. The latter is a mausoleum in an attractive garden setting, and we discovered it is much favoured by wedding couples as a background to their photos! Our guidebook recommended a nearby bar, overlooking the sea, so we went there for drinks, and liked it so much we decided to stay for dinner.
A week earlier we went to Big Milly’s Backyard, on the beach at Kobrobitey: not far from home, so usually we go just for the day. This time we stayed overnight, in order to have dinner in the restaurant overlooking the beach, and take part in the dancing which is held on Saturday night. We enjoyed the evening, especially chatting to some of the young people we met there. However, the music was rather loud for our taste, and went on very late.
As we’d had dinner at Big Milly’s we decided to go elsewhere for lunch the next day. We’d often walked past the Kokrobitey Garden Restaurant, and seen the sign advertising it as ‘the best in town, probably in the world’. Not sure the claim is entirely justified, but the pizzas were excellent, and enormous. Moreover, we were able to get cappuccino (first time ever in Ghana) so that restaurant is now high on Sandie’s list of favourite places!
As it turned out, it was probably just as well we decided to eat somewhere other than Big Milly’s that Sunday. The next day we were invited to have dinner with James and the students – at Big Milly’s. So another trip to Kokrobitey, by taxi this time, and another pleasant meal in good company. It was interesting to see the place on a Monday evening – very quiet and a complete contrast from Saturday!
We’ve recently discovered a couple of restaurants nearer to home, which we can reach without too much difficulty in the light, although we need a taxi back. We’ve also been for a couple of walks, to explore more of the local area. One took us over McCarthy Hill, where rich people live in enormous houses, with paved roads and an amazingly litter-free environment. It’s quite a short walk from Gbawe Top Base, where we live, but a completely different world!