Remembered in Song

There are a number of major events in the Omega Schools calendar.  On Sandie’s first day (back in November) the football tournament was in full swing; later there was the Carol Service and last term there was the Literary Festival.  The big event of the summer term is the Choral Festival, which took place last Friday.

Each of the ten schools provided a choir (of about 20 boys and girls) who sang a short set programme and were judged on a range of criteria including appearance as well as musical ability.  As a break from the singing, girls from two schools performed traditional dances, and a boy played the accordion.  It was a very enjoyable morning.

One of the choirs performing

Serious drumming

Cultural dancing

Shakin’ it all about

Another group of singers

How many arms has that dancer got?

Sandie applauds ….

… while Ian films

What made it really special for us was that, from now on, the festival is to be called the Ian and Sandie Schagen Choral Festival.  After the first round of the competition (before the three top choirs took part in a ‘sing off’) the music directors from all of the schools formed a special choir to sing for us.  We were proud to present the trophy to the winning school, and felt very touched that they had decided to remember us in this way.  It will certainly be one of our treasured memories of Ghana.

One of the choirs in the final play-off

Presenting the trophy to Asempa Down school

The Ian and Sandie Schagen trophy

A tale of two evenings

When the Festival was over, we returned to the office.  After work, we had drinks at the hotel opposite with Henry, the recently-appointed Chief Finance Officer at Omega.  It was very pleasant chatting in the late afternoon sun.  Then we took a tro-tro along the main road back in the direction of home, but stopped at the Sizzler restaurant for dinner, before getting a taxi for the final part of the journey.

Friday evening drinks

We spent Saturday at home, as we had quite a lot to do.  We wanted to go out in the evening, but apart from the Sizzler, we could only think of one restaurant anywhere near where we live, a place called Lloyds Plaza.  The plan was to walk (about a mile) to the paved road at Gbawe, have a drink in a bar there and then catch a tro-tro to Lloyds.  It didn’t quite work out though.

Just before we reached the road, Ian slipped on pile of earth and fell over.  Luckily he was not badly hurt, but his trousers were ruined.  The bar where we planned to drink was deserted, and the music was extremely loud, so we ended up walking all the way to Lloyds.  It was lively, with a good atmosphere, and our drinks were brought promptly.   Then we realised that there was no sign of any food, or menus.  On enquiring, we were told that they could do us pizzas, but it would take an hour.  We were not in a hurry, so we agreed.  But an hour and a half went by, and still no pizzas.  They finally arrived just as our taxi driver came to collect us.  They boxed them for us to take home, but they proved so horrible we ate sandwiches instead, and the pizzas went in the bin.

A chapter of disasters

Ian’s trousers were not the only things ruined this weekend.  Sandie’s trainers, which had suffered badly from the trek up and down the hill, finally fell apart completely.    And the airbed which we have been sleeping on since January appears to have sprung a leak – so it’s back to our hard Ghanaian mattress.

Sandie’s trainer – no longer fit for purpose

It seems that lots of things are going wrong right now.  Having had electricians in twice recently, we now have a problem with the plumbing in the bathroom.  We’ve also had reports of problems with the house in High Wycombe and our flat in Slough.  Most seriously, the aircon system in our Florida house broke down completely, so we spent part of Saturday trying to decide (with no knowledge of the subject whatsoever) which of a number of quotes to accept, and arranging with the agent to get the new system installed.


 Problems with buildings can be fixed – they just cost money!  The really sad news from home was that Lucy, Claire’s cat, had collapsed suddenly and had to be put to sleep.  Although she’d had a good long life, and survived the past two years with only three legs, her sudden end came as a shock.  She’d been in the family for 18 years, and will be greatly missed.  RIP, Lucy.

Lucy at Christmas


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  1. #1 by Andrew on July 28, 2012 - 7:34 pm

    Interesting times, I am happy Ian and Sandie are happy in Ghana, personally I have learnt a lot from these selfless British.

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