From Tamale to Wale Wale (wally wally), then from goat kebab to dodgy tummy!
This weekend we had yet another leaving party, this time in Tamale so we had the chance to go and explore somewhere new for a change. We took a four hour tro journey, squished in with the other 30+ passengers on this 15-seater rickety minibus, and were kept company by a lovely lady offering us some of her deep fried cheese snack (wow!), and two gorgeous chubby little babies that were equally curious and scared of us white creatures.
Tamale is positively cool. I don't mean hip, I mean I was sweating I'd say about 50 percent less than usual, which was a massive relief. It was even, strangely, a bit of a culture shock to be in a bigger city after living small town life in Zebilla for so long. I had to try to remember what to do in order to catch a taxi, haggle for a fare, and find my way about this huge town (and we were only going round the corner to a friend's house!). God only knows what I'll be like when I get home!
The party was at a local bar, which had a HUGE screen up for the football, and was like any other bar at home. Now, at this stage I did get culture shock. How nice! We ordered pizza and chips, a real treat, and although it took over three hours to arrive (think they went to milk the cow for the cheese or something) it was pure pleasure and we scoffed it down in about three seconds flat. YUM.
I can say two things about Tamale, first is that it is very grey (the skies were something like those at home, which was a bit strange as I am so used to seeing only bright blue and yellow skies here) and it rains a lot, so things were green green green! There are forests in and around the city, and I could literally smell the leaves in the air. (Did lots of deep breathing and tried to top up on my oxygen levels whilst I was there of course). The other thing I can say is that it is ex-pat city-central. It was also a bit of a shock to see so many other white people. We were in a bar where we were actually the majority, so that was different! It was good to be honest to have a break from VSO talk too, and talk to some other development workers about their experiences of life and work in Ghana.
The best thing though, was the party. In the open air, music blasting from a super duper fancy speaker set, dancing under the mango trees, I will say again that Ghanaians definitely know how to put on a good party!
The next day we took a tro-tro to visit another CASO friend on the way back, in a place called Wale Wale (pronounced Wally Wally which always makes me chuckle). It's great to see different towns, get a different perspective on Ghana and see how each town does things slightly differently. There is the same level of chaos in each town, it just seems to be organised in a different way. And the welcome is the same no matter where you are - whilst I was waiting for my moto-lift a female police officer invited me to join her and share her cereal (local type a bit like mushed up weetabix) and real fresh milk (!), whilst she changed and washed her baby girl, and answered police calls all at the same time, and insisted on showing me around and making me feel at home!
The highlight of our visit, aside from seeing our lovely friend Nique of course, was the fact that he has got one cat and about 5 kittens lodging at his place (I say about 5 as they were dashing about between hiding places so much and looked so similar, each a little ball of grey-black fluff and big green eyes, I couldn't really tell how many there were). He took them on after receiving a call from a fellow volunteer way down on the coast that they needed a home. They had travelled somehow the 12 hour distance to reach this northern town, and were now happily playing about in Niques spare bedroom.
On the way home, we were pretty wiped from all the travelling and (ahem) partying, so we decided to opt for a goat kebab and tomato ketchup supper, washed down with a Milo. Aside from the fact that is not a great combination at the best of times, it seems I chose a particularly dodgy kebab, and have been suffering as a result for the last 24 hours. Boo. (This situation is not helped by the fact I was supposed to get a lift back to Zebilla at 10am, but on typical Ghana time that is only now 6 hours late). I suppose I'd done quite well to get this far without suffering a dodgy tummy, that'll teach me for eating something I never would at home (maybe if it was something as exotic sounding as shark or crocodile I could perhaps be excused, but as for goat, well.)!