Sunday, January 25, 2009
Every year the winds start blowing southward during Harmaton, bringing down the dust from the Sahara and cooling off the usually stifling temperatures at the coast. Today was a chilly 88 degrees. Without the usual 99% humidity, everyone is wearing pants and long sleeved shirts. I guess we’ve all acclimated pretty quickly to the climate, because I woke up freezing cold last night and had to wrap myself in scarves and snuggle up to conserve body heat to stay warm. Seven of us were crammed into a three-bed room at a backpackers hostel in Kokrobite, a fishing village 45 minutes outside of Accra. Along with the Saturday night Reggae Music, playing all night through Sunday morning, itchy but really cool looking mosquito net canopies to save us from malaria and gigantic cockroaches, and a 5:30 am wakeup to watch monkeys (which we didn’t end up getting up for, but conveniently we did manage to wake up all the roosters) we didn’t get the most restful night of sleep. I was really grateful to explore the country outside of Accra on this trip though. We made it half way across the country for less than 50 cents taking the Tro Tros, these like packed vans that work as a rundown communal taxi. They get intently hot when you’re traveling by day, but luckily you can get Fanice, ice cream in a bag, through the windows from the vendors who take advantage of Accra’s perpetual traffic jam, carrying everything on their heads from plantain chips to TV antennas. It must be partly due to the climate that everything is so open, no one wants to bake inside all day, but there is also a beautiful mentality of communal living. People share, people greet you as a sister, if someone grasps your hand its natural and you don’t feel the need to pull away. Secrets aren’t popular and sarcasm usually goes over peoples’ heads, not because they aren’t intelligent, but because people here are blunt and open with their thoughts. There isn’t the same tongue and cheek talk and dancing around the subject that exists in New York, for example. People often want something from you because they have and image of foreigners and think you have something to give them. A few people seem to be aspiring to be con artists, but for the most part people want to get to know you as much as they want something from you. U met a little girl on the beach selling delicious doughnuts. I really didn’t want any at first so I offered her a seat on my towel and we ended up becoming friends. I really didn’t have much more to give her than being someone to play with, she really liked doing my hair Rasta-style, but when we had to leave this morning she got teary and kept asking if I was going to come back to visit. I really loved Kokrobitie and it was an affordable trip, $13 for transportation, a little purple room, a big dinner of groundnut soup, a nigh of dancing and drinks, and swimming with the kids at the beach. There aplenty of places left to explore ( 4 ½ months is sounding shorter and shorter) but if I stop back at Kokrobite I’m going to print out one of the pictures of me and the girl Mary to give her as a gift. The kids love seeing pictures of themselves and I’m guessing Mary doesn’t won any pictures of herself, so hopefully she’ll like it. Next time I also want to join in at the Church service. Everyone was dressed in white, dancing and singing their heads off so that you could hear them from even the edge of the village. Ghana is a beautiful place despite the trash and the hazy weather. These people are beautiful and so grateful. Its hard not to feel at home.