The Omega Schools chain is expanding rapidly – ten schools currently functioning, and ten more being built, due to open September. The number of central office staff is similarly increasing, so bigger office accommodation was desperately needed. The move finally took place on Tuesday 3 July – the day we travelled back from our western trip. We had been warned the previous Friday that it might happen, so we duly packed two boxes with our work and personal goods.
We returned home on Tuesday evening not knowing which office to go to on Wednesday. The promised message did not arrive, but after several phone calls we managed to establish that the move had taken place, and that a lift had been arranged for us next morning. On arrival we found the new office looking more like a building site, there was no indication of where we were supposed to sit, and no sign of our boxes. Sandie looked around and then went back home and worked there. (Ian needed to collaborate with others, so did not have that option.)
The new office
Things have improved since, and we’ve settled in. The new office is very different from the old one, which was situated at Oblogo School. We no longer hear the outdoor morning assembly (complete with drums) and we are not surrounded by crowds of children when we leave work. We are now in Kasoa, on the top floor of a new office building which is on the main coast road, so the only sound is the traffic rushing by outside.
We are in a big open space, which has been subdivided by white partitions, creating a maze rather like the ones they make rats run through. We no longer share a table, but have a proper desk each, though we still sit very close. The new office has improved facilities, but they are not all functional yet. We are still waiting for the promised internet connection. The roof terrace where we can supposedly relax is work in progress, so it’s still lunch at our desks. The kitchen is not ready either, so washing up is done in the ladies’ toilets. The toilets themselves are very smart, complete with soap dispenser (luxury!) and paper towels (sometimes) but sadly the water supply is erratic, so the smart toilets are often out of use.
Travelling to work
For us, the main disadvantage of the new office is that it is much further from home (about 12 miles). In theory, we get a lift from a colleague (John) who lives nearby. In the morning it takes 40 minutes to get to the office, but the journey home takes longer, as we can only turn right from the office, and have to drive through the Kasoa traffic in order to turn and head for home. If our lift is not available, we have a 30-minute walk to catch a tro-tro.
We could walk to our old office in 15 minutes, do an 8-hour day and be home again at 4.15. This gave us time to have a shower (needed after slogging up a steep hill in the heat!) and do other things before having drinks on the balcony and watching the sun set. We now have a much longer day; we start earlier, and John leaves the office later than we used to do, so we do not get home till about 6. We have therefore had to adapt the routine that we used to enjoy. On the other hand, there is a hotel with a bar just opposite the new office, and we pass a decent restaurant on the way home, so we have been able to resume our old Friday habit of drinks and a meal after work. Every cloud……
Talking of clouds, the weather has changed too. As forecast by our friends, the thunderstorms seem to have stopped, but there is still ‘ordinary’ rain, on and off. Heavy cloud means no sunset, but patchy cloud can make it even more beautiful. It is now noticeably cooler than it was a few months ago. We recently saw weather charts showing that the summer months are cooler than the rest of the year, which confirms our experience. Of course, all things are relative – we hasten to add that it is never cold in Ghana, but some months are hotter than others. We are still wearing shorts and T-shirts (or equivalent), but not sweltering as much as we used to do.