So this week Mike is working in Tamale, and I’m on my own for for the first time since arriving in Accra! For the first two weeks after I arrived I was always hanging out with other ProFs. I shared a guesthouse room with Alexis when we arrived and we traveled together during training. Then I moved into my new home on my own. However, only a few hours later Mike arrived from the airport, and since we both live and work together, we were pretty much around each other all the time. Here’s what happened the first day on my own, it was definitely an adventure…
The first image is the view of the tro stop at Madina. There’s lots of trotros, taxis, and vendors to be found. The second image is the street I walk down to get to my office. There is a lot of black smoke blowing overhead, which I thought might be a big fire, but it was probably just a “controlled” garbage fire since the fire-station (which is also on the street) didn’t seem concerned.
I slept in a bit, I haven’t been getting enough sleep since I got here, and my stomach has been weird too, no fun. My job is pretty flexible about what time I want to come in/leave which is nice. I waited for the tro in the morning, but I’m not pushy enough, so everyone else who was waiting got on before me (even though I was the first one waiting). Another one that wasn’t full came by about 5 minutes later, so it was fine. Then we got stopped at the police barricade by my house (which is basically just two metal barricades – the type you have to create a line at a club – in front of the police station, that is occasionally manned by police). The mate got out, then the driver, and all the passengers were looking around to see what was happening. After awhile the cop came over and spoke in Twi and pointed at me (I was scared!). I just kinda looked around and then eventually everyone started talking and yelling in Twi and a lady gets out. I asked the guy in front of me about what was going on and apparently the driver had a super expired license, but the lady was yelling at the cop that it wasn’t fair (even though that seemed like a fair reason to me). Eventually they let him go and we were on our way (surprisingly, I didn’t feel any less safe about the driver, they’re pretty crazy drivers in the best-case scenario anyway, so not sure how much help a proper license would be).
Then at Madina (the last stop of the tro, and the main intersection by where my office is located) there wasn’t my usual breakfast ladies, so the food was sub-par (normally I get a donut ball and a hard-boiled egg). Once at the office, I found out that Kombate (my boss) has a second house he’s building and the contractor had the key and stole some supplies. So I guess after some back and forth, the guy was sent to the police. Therefore, he had to be on the phone all morning with the pastor, the police, the church elders, and his wife. It wasn’t very serious (the theft wasn’t for that much money) but there was so much drama, and it led to some super interesting conversations! In the afternoon, it was just Bernard and I, so I looked up a few new farmer associations and we set up two of our first meetings which is cool (we’re trying to recruit some participants for our upcoming training sessions).
Some pictures of the apartment I visited. It’s pretty minimal, and the little patio with chairs facing the garden is a nice touch. 🙂
Mike and I are currently living with a Canadian woman and her adopted 5 year-old Ghanaian son, but we thought we might try to check out another place for the second half of our placement, to get some new experiences. So I left work at 4:30 and I made friends with the lady at the paint store. She remembered my name from that morning and I complimented her sparkly outfit… so were pretty much best friends now! 😛 Bernard gave me directions to another tro station near Madina (this is the fourth one so far… I didn’t know there were so many!) and a guy I asked in the lot brought me to the right tro (though there was a little more touching than I would prefer). The ride was about 45 minutes, and a nice guy told me to get off here (obviously the address on Google is completely wrong, so it’s in a completely different area of the city than I anticipated). However, I called the apartment guy and it was the wrong stop, I got off one stop too early. So I’m an obroni (white person) in flats and a dress walking down the side of the highway, with huge tanker trucks and motorcycles whizzing by, it was pretty terrifying. Eventually I found the landlord, who’s a Jamaican rhasta. We walk for like 20 min on dirt paths to the house. I almost stepped on a huge frog, we crossed a railroad that goes downtown (who knew?), and we arrived at the apartments. The complex was nice, a gated little garden area. and nice to have a little balcony. It had a convenience store there with drinks and snacks, and the owner was really nice. The rooms were simple but I saw a huge cockroach! However, it’s just way too far away for it to really be feasible….
Coming home we took another path where I had to jump caverns in the dark and go across swamps on rickety boards. Thankfully we had his cell-phone light, but I can’t say it made me want to live there any more (I can’t imagine taking that path home after a few drinks downtown!). Once we were back at the junction we had to run across the highway, where the Jamaican guy almost got hit by a motorcycle! I wanted to call out but I was afraid he would stop right in its path and get hit, so thankfully he stopped just in time, and I ran across to the other side. However, it came so close that his phone got hit and smashed into the road, but fortunately he recovered it and it worked once he put it all back together. We waited for a tro but none came and he mentioned it was because of the diesel shortage. So I ended up taking a shared taxi to somewhere random, then a tro to Madina, then another shared taxi back home. It only took about 4 hours for a 20 min visit, but at least I can say I saw a new area of the city!.
Anyway, it was a long day! But I’m proud to say I made it on my own, and didn’t freak out or panic when I was lost and confused. I think that constitutes a success… time for a drink!