Wednesday in Ghana

6.01 I wake up, shower and get dressed.

6.20 The lights go off, but I am ok because I had already prepared for work! I make coffee on the gas stove (only crazy folks rely on electricity for cooking!)

7.00 I leave with my coffee cup and some sandwiches in my car which I will eat in the traffic jam I am foreseeing closer to Accra.

8.04 I get stopped at a police barrier to show my licence. As the policeman is holding it, he tells me that he once wanted to marry a white lady. Any white lady – blonde, brown hair, even red! he says and glances above my eyes. Now he is married to a Ghanaian. He asks when I will be back before he waves me off.

8.15 I fill my car with petrol at the regular gas station and is greeted with a smile, “Hi Mrs Adu!”

8.27 I pick up a nurse who is going in the same direction on the gravel road that is the last leg of my trip. She proceeds to tell me her life story.

8.34 I drop the nurse off  (“God bless you!” she says as she steps out onto the dusty road) and arrive at work (yes, my commute is 1,5 hours)

9.25 I still haven’t gotten Internet to work at work and I open the window as the AC also does not work. Light off?

10.00 I go to my first class of the day. We talk about the election case currently in the Supreme Court (can there be any winners?) and discuss President Mahama’s autobiography and we conclude we can learn much from history.

11.45 I have office hours and console some students who did not do well in their recent exam. I also have a short meeting with my new coworker.

12.45 I go for lunch. I have fried rice, chicken and yam balls. The side order of avocado is today twice as expensive as yesterday.

13.30 My next class. ACs still not working, I wipe my forehead many times as a panel presentation and discussions proceed. A wild debate breaks out on weather or not Achimota school is an “elite” school.

16.00 The secondary school girl I sponsor has still not come. She said she’d come an hour ago. I leave some money with the receptionist and take off.

16.25 I stop on the roadside to buy fruits. I buy a bag of sun warm mangoes and a bag of avocados for 10 GHC (5 USD)

17.40 I come home, but immediately leave again to buy “sachet water”, 500ml drinking water in plastic bags packed in bags of 30. I buy four packs at 1.50 GHC each (75 US cents).

17.45 I return a call to a colleague, she is standing there with  a school girl who is looking for me…?

18.00 Electricity is still not back.

18.20 Electricity comes back! I make dinner and eat.

19.00 I play with my daughter and call my parents in Sweden on Skype. We discuss the upcoming summer holiday.

20.30 After having tried to write this blog post two times, my daughter finally is tired enough to let me.

20.52 I watch the latest episode of Girls with our nanny.

21.20 I go to bed. I might read a few minutes before I fall a sleep.

This is a very ordinary day for me. It has electricity, water and infrastructure challenges, but also human warmth (sometimes a tad too much for my taste), good food and surprises. Always surprises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Replies to “Wednesday in Ghana”

  1. Kajsa, you inspired me. This was my day…

    Wednesday in Ghana 2

    230am My son wakes me up. His nanny has been on sick leave for three weeks and I have been sleeping next to him but unfortunately i get woken up by his dreams.

    400am My son wants water, thankfully it is on the bedside table. He goes back to sleep. I cannot sleep so I check my email.

    411am I write a reminder for tonight’s Rotary meeting. Due to the ungodly hour I am typing, I receive a correction that I have announced the wrong date. Oh well.

    700am My son wakes me up by poking me in the eye, I try to ignore him but he persists. He spills some water on the bed to make sure I am awake.

    711am I receive a call from Rotarian Treasurer who asks me about transfers to be completed today. My hoarse voice sufficiently informs him that I am still sleeping so he says he will call back later.

    730am I get up, change poopy diapers, bath myself and my son and prepare breakfast for my son. There is no electricity so I cannot have my coffee. Argh! My generator is not working. This is a disaster. I call the generator repair man who promises to fix the thing on credit. I promise to pay him later when I get home.

    830am I drop my son at school and proceed to Starbites for a coffee, meat pie and *cupcake* for the extra efforts I have made this morning.

    910am I arrive at the office, and am followed by my colleagues. The internet is working beautifully this morning. I reply to many emails. Ahhhh.

    1100am The internet goes off. Curses. I switch to a backup modem. I think about sending my 5th complaint in one week to Vodafone but decide to give them a chance to redeem themselves. I liaise with my colleagues about tomorrow’s event we are organizing at the Children’s Museum.

    1300 The internet is back, but the AC is not working. I am literally sweating. This will not do. I call the facilities manager to call the AC repair man. This lights off lights off is causing so much damage to all our electrical equipment. I think about filing a class action law suit against ECG.

    1330 I decide to get lunch (teriyaki chicken and noodles) and have it delivered to my desk, where I create an accounting report for the rest of the afternoon.

    1430 The AC repair man comes! He repairs the thing! Hallelujah!

    1500 I complete the transfers that my Rotary Treasurer woke me up with this morning.

    1600 I finish the accounting report. Beautiful. The account is for January, we are in March. Better late than never!!

    1630 I pick my son from school and drop him at home with the new housekeeper, who I instruct with painful accuracy what to do in each eventuality with food, bathing and sleep. I leave the house with him crying at the gate in her arms. Poor guy.

    1700 My second cup of coffee from Starbites today, this time it takes 20 minutes instead of 5. People are gathering to drink beer and keep the waitress busy.

    1730 I pick up my Treasurer from his office and we drive to the Rotary meeting.

    1800 The Rotary meeting starts, I am tired but we have a guest speaker coming to talk to us about public speaking so I try to pep up with a glass of wine. I succeed. The meeting room feels friendly and nice this evening. The guest speaker (a TV presenter) is excellent with the topic and there are many questions.

    1945 My Rotary meeting ends and I leave early, not staying behind to chat with my fellow Rotarians. I am tired.

    2030 The police wave me through the usual checkpoints and smile. I arrive home to find out my son is asleep. The lights are on and the generator has been fixed. The generator man has lent me a battery and will come and collect GHS 3 tomorrow. That brings a small relief but then I remember the carpenter who I gave GHS600 to yesterday and who has still not shown up with the materials. Ugh. The man has chopped the money.

    2130 I eat jollof rice and type this account of my day. Good night o!

  2. ladies, you are great! love your posts!!

    wanna have a taste of my yesterday?

    6:30 unusually early I wake – need to be in the office to pick up a driver in order to go to the VITO office which is estimating my new old car before I can go to DVLA to register. it is behind east legon – Dome? something like that, a very bad road.

    8:45 I am at their gate in a long row and I get the confirmation at 9:30 that they would look at my car

    10:00 while still waiting SNITT has built up a stand in the VITO compound and I listen to their presentation and read the brochure, of course outside half in the sun, it is already 38 degree celsius, but now I have a good overview about Ghana’s retirement plan and it seems indeed thaughtful to me. I calculate my colleagues pension when he would go in early retirement in 5 years with 55 and indeed, it is not much, it would be 420 ghc. I beg him: Victor, work until you are 60!

    10:30 on my way to DVLA. some window shopping in the traffic jam, I love it! since I arrived 5 years ago kleenex on the roadside increased from 1ghc to 3ghc that day. but also the design of the pacs improoved. does it justify the tripling of the price?

    11:00 4 parked lanes of ca 40 cars fight to be first in the technichal check. first time I pitty “Goldy”, my new car, I can simply not turn off the engine, thank good there is AC, 39.5 in the sun. we are hot.

    11:15 comes to my mind that I should have brought my dirty cloth to my colleague this morning to wash as I have no tab running since 9 weeks again – and I can not affort to spend the 180ghc tanker water to wash – but now it is too late, my colleague leaves in the eve. oh Vera, why! this makes me slightly more aggressive and I advance easier in the line …

    12:15 of course I forgot the passport pics! have them in the office. and it is high time for me to return and work anyway. rush to the house, get my packed lunch, fill in more technical details about goldy and send off my colleague without me, back to DVLA

    12:45 quick lunch at the office with Janet, I have steamed cabbage, red lentils and rice. Janet’s lentils taste better. I am tired, the heat and the waiting did its part.

    13:00 I find 67 new e-mails after one morning of absence …. usual load, I smile. Ambassador is not in, so I decide to underline “the load” with some nice music, YANNI, to make it easier. and of course, one nespresso to keep me going.

    14:15 my colleague comes back, but not with new numberplate – I filled a wrong specification about the total allowed maximum weight in on field and he had to buy a new form, I needed to sign again – this time he wanted to fill the rest, fine.

    16:30 all is quiet and i can work well, what a blessing, as my boss ison leave and my phone does not ring each two minutes as usual. work work work. sending a text to my love that I will not have the car tonight and if he can pick me around 19:00 to start our previously agreed evening together – no reply

    18:45 still no reply and he also does not pick his phone, my colleague drops me at home and I have a small piece of Quiche – still with the hope to have dinner with HIM

    19:00 I go to the bedroom and turn n the AC and start reading my magazines and so some long outstanding phonecalls as I wait. I feel ad, I do not play with the dogs today, but I had enough heat already, so it feels

    19:20 power off. aaarg! again? the last time was just the day before. why? angry, in the dark, trying to call my love, he finally oicks says he is at mallam in a meeting and he will need another hour. great! alone at home in the dark sweating. I dont wanna put the genset on as I dont know what my final plan is and i have a replacemant genset which I can only turn on one time, after that it needs 3 hours to cool off. and this one drinks!! a gallon in a few hours …. how?

    19:30 I head of to Alliance Francaise, I need to get out, pitty myself that another eve is not working out as I had planned it before and console my mind that the womans concert eill be great – and indeed, it is! and the burger too, dinner by myself with music from Mali and Burkina. Adamu comes and we dicuss how he best could get a visa to Austria in summer, as he has a business partner and some really nice old art objects he would like to take there. I want a concrete plan befor I advise further. it is not easy these days.

    21:30 I did not fully enjoy as I am still waiting – guess for whom. he arrives finally and tells me that his family gathered at his bar behind police HQ and I do not understand why he did not call me to rather come there instead of him coming late to AF, but I render immedeatly as I will never understand these things ….

    22:00 we go to camp david and I indeed enjoy having plenty of red label with his uncles, mixed with political debate and jokes from the Gonja area. I also explain to the caretaker of the place that on saturday I intend to open up the coffee machine in camp david and invite friends over to have coffee and cake and austrian rum for sundowner and we specify the ice, glasses etc details – and I think about which music would make the introduction of my love’s place to my friend a nice one

    00:45 I am still hot and tired. the uncles stay, love and me go home, power back, and we have a swim, until 2:20

    2:45 before falling asleep I am grateful that I can sleep until 8:00 before the new work day starts. I only wonder about these few really huge black ants circling around our bed … where from? will they come up in the night? I doze off …

    just another day in Accra ….

    keep it up, ladies, one day we will meet and laugh about it!

  3. ladies, you are great! love your posts!!

    wanna have a taste of my yesterday?

    6:30 unusually early I wake – need to be in the office to pick up a driver in order to go to the VITO office which is estimating my new old car before I can go to DVLA to register. it is behind east legon – Dome? something like that, a very bad road.

    8:45 I am at their gate in a long row and I get the confirmation at 9:30 that they would look at my car

    10:00 while still waiting SNITT has built up a stand in the VITO compound and I listen to their presentation and read the brochure, of course outside half in the sun, it is already 38 degree celsius, but now I have a good overview about Ghana’s retirement plan and it seems indeed thaughtful to me. I calculate my colleagues pension when he would go in early retirement in 5 years with 55 and indeed, it is not much, it would be 420 ghc. I beg him: Victor, work until you are 60!

    10:30 on my way to DVLA. some window shopping in the traffic jam, I love it! since I arrived 5 years ago kleenex on the roadside increased from 1ghc to 3ghc that day. but also the design of the pacs improoved. does it justify the tripling of the price?

    11:00 4 parked lanes of ca 40 cars fight to be first in the technichal check. first time I pitty “Goldy”, my new car, I can simply not turn off the engine, thank good there is AC, 39.5 in the sun. we are hot.

    11:15 comes to my mind that I should have brought my dirty cloth to my colleague this morning to wash as I have no tab running since 9 weeks again – and I can not affort to spend the 180ghc tanker water to wash – but now it is too late, my colleague leaves in the eve. oh Vera, why! this makes me slightly more aggressive and I advance easier in the line …

    12:15 of course I forgot the passport pics! have them in the office. and it is high time for me to return and work anyway. rush to the house, get my packed lunch, fill in more technical details about goldy and send off my colleague without me, back to DVLA

    12:45 quick lunch at the office with Janet, I have steamed cabbage, red lentils and rice. Janet’s lentils taste better. I am tired, the heat and the waiting did its part.

    13:00 I find 67 new e-mails after one morning of absence …. usual load, I smile. Ambassador is not in, so I decide to underline “the load” with some nice music, YANNI, to make it easier. and of course, one nespresso to keep me going.

    14:15 my colleague comes back, but not with new numberplate – I filled a wrong specification about the total allowed maximum weight in on field and he had to buy a new form, I needed to sign again – this time he wanted to fill the rest, fine.

    16:30 all is quiet and i can work well, what a blessing, as my boss ison leave and my phone does not ring each two minutes as usual. work work work. sending a text to my love that I will not have the car tonight and if he can pick me around 19:00 to start our previously agreed evening together – no reply

    18:45 still no reply and he also does not pick his phone, my colleague drops me at home and I have a small piece of Quiche – still with the hope to have dinner with HIM

    19:00 I go to the bedroom and turn n the AC and start reading my magazines and so some long outstanding phonecalls as I wait. I feel ad, I do not play with the dogs today, but I had enough heat already, so it feels

    19:20 power off. aaarg! again? the last time was just the day before. why? angry, in the dark, trying to call my love, he finally oicks says he is at mallam in a meeting and he will need another hour. great! alone at home in the dark sweating. I dont wanna put the genset on as I dont know what my final plan is and i have a replacemant genset which I can only turn on one time, after that it needs 3 hours to cool off. and this one drinks!! a gallon in a few hours …. how?

    19:30 I head of to Alliance Francaise, I need to get out, pitty myself that another eve is not working out as I had planned it before and console my mind that the womans concert eill be great – and indeed, it is! and the burger too, dinner by myself with music from Mali and Burkina. Adamu comes and we dicuss how he best could get a visa to Austria in summer, as he has a business partner and some really nice old art objects he would like to take there. I want a concrete plan befor I advise further. it is not easy these days.

    21:30 I did not fully enjoy as I am still waiting – guess for whom. he arrives finally and tells me that his family gathered at his bar behind police HQ and I do not understand why he did not call me to rather come there instead of him coming late to AF, but I render immedeatly as I will never understand these things ….

    22:00 we go to camp david and I indeed enjoy having plenty of red label with his uncles, mixed with political debate and jokes from the Gonja area. I also explain to the caretaker of the place that on saturday I intend to open up the coffee machine in camp david and invite friends over to have coffee and cake and austrian rum for sundowner and we specify the ice, glasses etc details – and I think about which music would make the introduction of my love’s place to my friend a nice one

    00:45 I am still hot and tired. the uncles stay, love and me go home, power back, and we have a swim, until 2:20

    2:45 before falling asleep I am grateful that I can sleep until 8:00 before the new work day starts. I only wonder about these few really huge black ants circling around our bed … where from? will they come up in the night? I doze off …

    just another day in Accra ….

    keep it up, ladies, one day we will meet and laugh about it!

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