Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ghana #6 - It's been busy round here.....

February 23, 2015

hey there folks......soooooo sorry it has taken me some time to get this update out...but we have been havin' issues here in ghana...from lack of electricity, to lack of water, to my internet company catching on fire (their server room mind you), to professional development on a saturday, to doing the things i do....it's been fun and tiring and depressing and disappointing and exciting and maddening and interesting and full of new things....just a typical two months in west africa i guess.....but again, sorry it's been so long....

i am hopefully getting this out in the next few days, because in less then two weeks i will be on vacation....to zambia, botswana and namibia....for my first ever african safari....i am sooooooo excited....so i wanted to catch you all up before i head out on the road again....so onto ghana and the antics of the past few months....i am actually starting with a few shots from my winter visit to the states....i know many of you have been pummeled with snow, and i have to say i really miss the white stuff...so if you could send some this way, i would be grateful....but of course that is not possible...the temps these days are hot and humid, every day, all day....we have hit the hot season...and i am realizing the hot season will be tough for me....sweaty and tough....yuck.....so onto the pictures....enjoy :)


This first shot is in honor of my philly roots...on new years there is a parade in philly unlike any around the world...it is the annual mummers day parade....i used to go every year when i was a kid, i have even been in the mummers, playing my clarinet....but it's been a loooooooooong time....however, i got the chance to go this year and jumped at it....and even though it was really windy and the parade route has changed....the mummers are still a philly tradition....amazing costumes, amazing faces and amazing string bands....i love the mummers....


while down in philly i also go this great shot of city hall, with the founder of the city, william penn, on the top...when i was growing up around philly, there was this rule that you could not build any taller than penn's hat...it always caused me to believe that philly had a disappointing sky line....this rule no longer is around and the skyline, in my opinion has gotten much better...but of course, it's always cool to see william penn, surrounded by blue sky on new year's day!!!!


also while in town seeing stomp with my aunts, i got a philly soft pretzel....another time honored tradition....and i loved this guy....he was the pretzel seller...i tell you, nothing is better on a cold day than a warm, philly soft pretzel...from a goofy philly vendor....yummy!!!!


this picture i had to include because i was so excited to see snow....knowing that i was not getting any this year here in ghana....i have not really gotten used to the heat and am not sure this is the right place for me....as it is a continual heat here....we are actually going into the hot season now...and i am tired of sweating....so i look at pictures of snow and just think cold thoughts to help chase the hot and humid away....


when we got back to town after the break it was Harmattan season....what is the harmattan you ask????  well, its when the sands blow southwest from the sahara desert and come into ghana....i took a picture of the sun through the layers of dust/sand in the air...it really reminded me of a high pollution day in shanghai....no blue skies for about a month here....it did make for some pretty sunsets and kept the sunlight low, which meant cooler weather...which i loved...


in order for the sand to be kicked out of the atmosphere there tends to be one or two really big rain storms....these storms are like nothing i have seen elsewhere, except in the rainforest....the streets become rivers, the clouds are way angry, the rain pounds on the corrugated roofs and the wind is crazy.....here is the front line of the clouds of the second of such storms here....you could see how angry and crazy this storm was about to get....


can you hear it???? all of the roofs you see are corrugated and ring with the sound of rain....and even though people have corrugated roofs and no generators, they all have satellite tv...priorities people....priorities...this storm came in quickly....lasted for about 20 minutes and left quickly....amazing!!!!


and here's a shot from the front balcony....if you look closely you will see the street has turned into a flooded river....and yes, that means all of the sewers have overflowed...not the most pleasant thing to think about....this did cool things down quite a bit and after the storm, most of the sand was no longer to be found in the air....just amazing!!!!


one of the holidays that has been celebrated here in ghana is robert burns day.....which is not ghanian at all....it's scottish....we have a very cool scottish couple working here and they hosted a robert burns afternoon....he was a scottish poet...so there was poetry, dancing, a few kilts for those who prepared ahead of time and yes, even haggis....from a can, and no, i did not have any....had some when i wintered on the ice....and that was enough for me....it was a fun afternoon and we even had some scotch...yummy....


recently we found a new thai restaurant and i think this is one of my favorite places here in accra....you can sit right on the side of the road and enjoy a real thai iced tea....makes me think of many of my visits to thailand....and you know this place is legit for two reasons...the first is that the wife of the ower is thai (the owner is ghanian)....she was in thailand picking up some of the necessary ingredients when we stopped by there last weekend....you know - lemongrass, kaffir lime, galangal....and of course they have a picture of the king....the true sign of a real thai place....here i am with one of those tasty thai iced teas....


the picture above was taken for someone who reads the update religiously....they wanted to see a style of house that had a corrugated roof and that a ghanian family might live in that would be very different from what many of us are used to....this is one such house, that i pass by everyday on the way to work....a family of four or five live in this one room....but this place has just undergone a makeover literally in the past few days....they whitewashed everything and have turned this into a breakfast place for a few diners...yes, they still live here, but have decided to make some money here as well......if i get a chance i will take an "after" picture....but many people live in places such as this, and with the current power issues here in ghana (we are now experiencing city power for 12 hours at a time, with anywhere from 24 - 36 generator power  - and many here have no generators) it does not make for comfortable evenings/days when it is hot....our place does have a generator....two at the moment, as one of them is not working....and this time around one of them has been working well for about a week....fingers crossed it stays like that.....


here's one of those random ghana grocery store shots....green coke LIFE????  not light.....i have no idea where this came from and how old it is....we tend to have quite a few things that do not seem to be in other places....maybe this is the coke that just didn't sell due to the color of the can....i have no idea if the coke inside is correct coke, as i do not drink coke, but i did like the green cans....since going back to the same grocery store, they no longer have green coke available....


ghana go, go, go....ghana go....this is me and my housemate colleen (who is going on safari as well in less than two weeks) at the soccer match that was the quarterfinals for the africa cup....like our glasses....ghanian flags....the group of folks at the bar loved them....ghana went on to make it to the finals, but then lost out in penalty kicks in overtime to ivory coast....ghanians were not very happy....


here's the crew that was at the bar for the game....you can see the small screen in the distance...i think the place was so crowded, because they had a generator....and many places around the area did not....another example of lack of power....its a crazy situation....and if it happened in the states, people would be protesting and going bananas....but here in ghana, people just try to deal....there actually was a protest last week, which is kind of mind-blowing....but nothing has changed....people are paying for power and water and not receiving any....its a wild time to be here......


the girls from DUNK came by school to play against our high school girls....so of course i went to cheer them on....the lincoln kids did not understand why i was cheering against them....but my heart belongs to the DUNK girls....they were aggressive and played their hearts out....


unfortunately they lost in overtime....they play much more aggressive than our team and the lincoln girls were stressed out and had to change their game style to deal with the aggressiveness of the DUNK girls....i was sad for them, but so happy i got to see them play :)


"SWEET BREAD!!!!!!!" ...i see this lady every day carrying her rolls and groundnut butter - like peanut butter...the wooden box on her head actually takes two people to pick it up because it is so long....i love this lady's smile....i don't ever buy the sweet bread....as i have breakfast at home, but i always get a smile and a good morning when i see her....just one of the many friendly faces on my walk to work....the building behind her on the left, is the middle school....


i have been coming out of my classroom now for 7 months and just realized in the past two weeks that in the railing across from my room are some adinkra symbols....these are visual symbols used here in ghana to represent concepts...you find them in fabrics, metalwork, baskets, weavings, furniture, etc....the first one on the top is called akoko nan = the leg of a hen = nature of parents being protective and corrective; the 2nd one is nyame nnwu na mawu - god never dies, therefore i cannot die....ghana is very christian, and many of these symbols deal with god and the power of god; the 3rd is - handcuffs - which is the symbol for law & justice; the 4th is pempamsie - "sew in readiness" = being steadfast; and the last is the "fern" - a symbol of endurance and resourcefulness....adinkra symbols are pretty cool..maybe one will end up being a tattoo for me, but i haven't found the correct one for that yet....we'll see what happens....


there are a lot of random things that you see everywhere in ghana....and i just decided to share something random that i saw from a new rooftop bar just down the street from my apt....where else would you see these three things together on a roof....a satellite dish, not very surprising....but a workout bench and a toilet seat....hmmmmm....i know there is a joke somewhere in this, but i can't figure it out....


this was the view from the before mentioned rooftop bar....sunsets here are pretty spectacular....and combined with the bats....it is one of my favorite times of the day....this is a shot of the sun peeking through the clouds....pretty....


just last week was a jazz festival here in accra....i found out about it at the last minute and that earl klugh was headlining....so a friend of mine and i just had to go....and man, was it amazing....from the venue, which you can see above, to the clientele, to of course the music....this was a slice of ghana i had not seen yet....and boy, was it worth it....the shot above is in the foyer of the building and the mural there was simply stunning....we got to see two bands out here to get everyone fired up....


and then there were five jazz, funk, reggae, hip-hop oriented bands, including acoustic guitarist earl klugh....three of the groups were ghanian, and they were quite good, the fourth i do not remember where they were from and then there was klugh....who is incredible, as are each of his musicians touring with him....what an amazing night of music....


last weekend also saw me making a few yards of batik fabric....the stamps you see above are what you put into the wax and then stamp the fabric with....they has some pretty cool patterns to choose from...i actually used the x's and o's one from the right side...the cloth was hand dyed and hand stamped and left to dry in the sun....it was a terrific and very artsy project...i loved it....


here i am with my teacher....benjamin...he had a great sense of humor and works in the fashion industry....he did not like some of the ideas i had and helped me streamline them to create to two pieces i am very proud of....so proud i am having them made into shirts to wear....i will post the finished product when i get them back...if they turn out okay.....


this last picture is not the typical drinking shot....i instead decided to show you how the batik turned out....well, at least one of them....looks pretty good if i do say so myself....and again, i will let you all know how the shirts turn out....i am also having a shirt made for a choir i am singing with....yep, i am back to singing....seems my voice and throat are much better now that i have left shanghai....so i decided to join a group of ghanians and expats....its been fun so far....if we record anything, i will send a snippet of it so you can hear what we sound like....we are singing south african music, irish music, spanish music, latin music, church music - gospel, parts of the latin mass and chant...and we are now learning california dreaming by the mamas and the papas.....like i said, its fun :)

so there you have it....an update from the past two months....again, i am sorry it has taken me so long to get the update out...but at least it happened before my big spring break trip...i hope everyone is well and happy and if you remember, send some winter this way....i will be back after my spring break and until then i hope you have a fab day :)

1 comment:

Dan Ebert said...

Hey Dani,

I've seen that green Coke in stores in the Seattle area ... think it's a low-calorie version or something. Never tried it.