Part 3 of (hopefully) 3....
In Accra i had my biggest Ohh My God moment yet! And it wasn't because of poverty it was because of the wealth! I didn't realize there was such pockets of affluence. We stayed with a friend of a friend - an English guy who I think is an engineer. The pound gets you a LONG way in Ghana. The compound they lived in is an expat haven. Tall walls, barbed wired, swimming pool and tennis court. The houses were stupidly big - they fully reminded me of my apartment in Dubai, over sized rooms, sterile and highly air-conditioned. It was such a treatsleeping under a blanket in air-conditioning! The next morning eds and I volunteered to do a food shop so they sent us to the "mall". I thought "this should be interesting...". We got there and I almost died........ It was "normal"!!!! It had walls, isles, real food, checkouts and people queuing up! Eds asked me if I was ok cause I was walking round like a stunned mullet. I wasn't ok and we looked like homeless people compared to everyone else. Also, there was lots of other expats so we didn't stand out or get obroni yelled at us (which I've come to find out doesn't mean foreigner, but whitey!). We did the cultural centre and the markets and i am officially a professional when it comes to bartering! And I mean bringing stuff down by 70%!!!!! my grandfather will be proud!
On the Monday we visited the Australian consulate and voted in the federal election which I felt extremely honored to do. I'm registered with DFAT so they told me to go, however the other Aussies here aren't voting and are prepared to cop the fine. I thought that would be extremely hypercritical of me to do. I'm here in an under developed country analyzing and critiquing everything round me - especially policy (or lack there of and perhaps I should say criticizing instead of critiquing). Hence, To be apathetic and lazy and not vote would be hypercritical. I am so lucky to come from a country with the closest thing to a democracy as possible - I have the right to vote and to do so free of threat and coercion. I have the right to have my say and have an impact whilst in western African! I think that is pretty amazing. I stepped back out of the consulate and looked at the Ghanaians selling their wares for 15c each & living in mud huts and thought I'm not sure you people are even able to read a ballot paper let alone ever feel the impact of policies.... I felt honored, proud and powerful exercising that right - a right which I take for granted.
The tro back to cape was the most terrifying experience in my life. The tro we had was niceish - it wasn't the usual banged up A-Team vehicle, it had aircon, tinted windows, seat belts and acceleration power.... That was the problem! We were Over taking vehicles with ON COMING TRAFFIC and ducking and weaving all at the last minute. I was so scared i actually assumed the brace position!!! I crossed my arms in front of me, tucked my little head in and said my prayers goodbye! This happened a number of times on the way home - I was verging on an anxiety attack. Thankfully we made it home unscathed.
Tuesday it was back to the orphanage and a surprise visit by Eds. The kids lost it! They came running to the road screaming and jumping on us! It was fantastic.Wednesday was Eds and my last meal together so we splashed out on lobster! 15cedis = AU$12 awesome! Yum yum yum! Then Thursday morn was a teary goodbye. I'm the only volunteer left in my house and lots of my friends are leaving in the next few weeks which sucks, but there's meant to be more volunteers in my house soon - not sure what that means by Ghanaian time frames? My sadness didn't last too long on thurs morn though... (sorry Eds) cause I Told a journalism volunteer I was interested in seeing a political press conference here cause of my interest in world politics. the following day I was atone! It was regarding natural disaster relief & prevention being run by the local government in affiliation with the UN Development Program. It wasn't very informative, rather very ceremonial but that's Ghana and interesting in itself. I ended up photographing it & was asked if id like to write a feature article on an area of my interest! My story is due wednesday! Holy sh*t!!! Nothing like throwingyourself in the deep end! Who's gonna edit my work though claire?!
Classic host family moment worth a mention.... I was taking our breakfast loaf of bread out of the cloth bag at breakfast the other morning and my host Aunty, Agie, who is usually quite reserved was watching me intensely with a huge grin on her face and she said to me "it cut!" and as I pulled the loaf out, I realized the loaf had been sliced. "it cut by machine!!!" she announce extremely proudly and excitedly. "WOW" I replied, "that saves me from cutting it - that's great! Thank you!". She was so in ore that it was sliced so neatly! I tried so hard to reflect her excitement and show the gratitude that machine cut bread obviously deserved. It was so cute! and it takes the saying 'the best thing since sliced bread' to a whole new level for me!
Also I was asked last night 3 times in one hour if Dennis had made it home safely...??? Who is Dennis? Do you mean Eddie? Good work guys - he only stayed in your house for 3 weeks! It could be worse though - my 6 yr old host brother calls me Chocolate - shouldn't I be vanilla and you be chocolate?
Sure your sick of reading by now so I'll finish