Sounds of the Neighbourhood

The sounds of Ghana are very different from Canada.  There are no snow plows, geese flying overhead, or bluesfest jams floating through the window.  My new neighbourhood has its own sounds, both pleasant and annoying.  There are children singing, vendors honking their horns, and women yelling.  I’ve become used to waking up to these sounds wafting through my window, especially since I always sleep with just the screen on to let in a breeze.  I thought I’d share these sounds with you…

P.S. This is my first time uploading and embedding my own YouTube videos so I’m not sure on the quality or if you can actually hear the sounds, but figured it would help give an idea of what things are like outside my window.

Early morning, sun rises… rooster. I wish it was that simple. The roosters don’t just crow in the morning but all day and all night. The chickens (roosters, hens, and baby chicks) walk around on every street, and I’m never quite sure who they belong to!

This is the most distinctive sound… and no it’s not an ice cream truck! In fact, it’s a garbage truck, and Mike hates it (there may have been murmurings of how a hammer might be able to stop the repetitive tune)! It comes by every day and you call tell how close it is by the volume of the music. You can hear it drive all around the community, until it stops right outside my window. It’s definitely something you have to get used to… especially at 7 am on a Saturday morning!

There are lots of kids outside my window (and my window has no sound proofing ability at all). There’s only little guy (probably about waist height) who will beat on the drums for hours. All the other kids love it and crowd around to listen! At least he’s got rhythm…

Not only do the kids listen to the drums… They also dance! They have little dances, chants (which are a bit military-esque), and even a rhyming verse about Ebola (unfortunately). It basically sounds like there’s a little marching band right next door.

When it rains, it pours!  The rain here isn’t usually mild and drizzly, it’s more likely to be a harsh downpour, and the power usually goes off.  Apparently it’s supposed to be the dry season here, but there’s still a storm once or twice a week.

Apparently one guy sells firewood right outside my window… no problem.  The problem is they often go to collect wood in a big truck and don’t arrive back until around midnight.  Then you hear them start to unload the truck, by throwing each branch onto the ground below, which makes a big THUNK!  In the morning, they have to chop the wood into smaller pieces.  He puts a metal wedge into a crack in the wood and then hammers on it until it splits. This usually takes all day…

This video is my favourite, even though you can’t see anything.  This is the sound of the neighbourhood children cheering on a Saturday night after the power finally came back on. It was a really joyous occasion.

So these are the sounds of my life right now. Some are nice, some are annoying, and most of them wake me up in the morning… but they make it feel like home!


About Amanda

Hi, I’m Amanda! Originally from Ottawa, Canada, I am currently living with my partner (Steve) in Sucre, Bolivia for the next year. I work in the unique space between industrial design and international development – but what does that even mean? I’m passionate about working WITH marginalized communities in a way that utilizes design to improve the lives of different types of people around the world. I have worked, studied, traveled, and researched on every continent (except Antarctica), and most recently I lived in Ghana, Bangladesh and Nepal. I love exploring new cultures and learning more about myself along the way.
This entry was posted in Ghana (2014) - Professional Fellow Placement (EWB) and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Sounds of the Neighbourhood

  1. nespenberg says:

    This was awesome! Loved watching (and listening) to all the videos.


  2. jblechta says:

    The videos turned out pretty well! Who runs the garbage trucks? Is that a city thing? or a private business? How much does it cost?


    • mandyrox2 says:

      It’s private, people pay for either each pick up or you register with a company and they pick up a certain amount of bins every week or two depending on the deal. It’s only a couple cedi (under a dollar) but many people prefer to burn their garbage (the smell of burning plastic is very common here).


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