Thursday, 26 November 2015

Christmas is coming Ghana style!! How do I know? It's not the Christmas songs playing in the shops, it's not the soppy supermarket adverts, it's not the christmas trees, it's not the advent calendars (of course, none of these exist our rural village). No! It's the massive explosions happening in our village that wake us up at 5:30 in the morning. Merry Christmas!

So, around this time of year people start making big explosions using 'bamboo guns', I still don't really understand it, but it's very loud and makes it sound like Abenta is under attack. It's like the firecrackers we get in the UK, the difference being that it could happen at any time, any where. The closer we get to Christmas, the more it happens.

We're coming towards the end of our first three months in Ghana. It's flown by! We'll be back in the UK for Christmas and then back in mid-January. We're becoming more and more Ghanaian in the way we say things, if you see us over christmas you may notice the way we say certain words (thank you (thennnnk you), at all (at tall)) sound a bit different.

Ghana is a very peaceful place. There are many examples I could give to back up that statement but the best illustration is when, last weekend, we passed a military police van which consisted of two unarmed soldiers and a goat. The goat could well have been loaded up with explosives but from outside appearances it looked pretty safe to me.

Liz and I are now firmly established in teaching phonics and creating a programme to introduce it into the schools we work in. We now obsess about how words sound. This is a bit different to teaching maths and sociology respectively. Other volunteers hear us making random noises, trying to work out when 'uh' is 'ah' in a word or just saying 'd' 'd' 'd' over and over again. We haven't gone mad.

So now Neil, the CEO of Village By Village, has left us and is on his way back to England. We're now back to the 'core 5' volunteers: Patrick, Joel, Scott, Liz and I. It will remain that way up until Christmas now. We're all off to Lake Volta (north east of us) at the weekend for some kayaking, hiking, mountain biking and monkey sanctuary-ing'. We'll be going with Aitkins, the volunteer co-ordinator. Can't wait!

The last week or so has been busy. Last Thursday we popped around to visit our teacher friend, Solomon, who is a teacher at a Junior High School in Adawso (the equivalent of years 9, 10 and 11 in the UK). He cooked us an awesome meal of fufu with a fish and goat sauce. It was great food and great company. On the weekend we went to Accra to a fundraising event led by the Indian community in Accra. The fundraising event last year paid for the kindergarten building in Abenta and then we headed into a trendy part of Accra around Oxford Street afterwards (I tend to gravitate to trendy parts of town. naturally..)

Random things:

- Red Red is now my favourite food. Fried plantain with beans. Lovely stuff.
- Poor Liz is getting bitten loads by sun flies which come out to feed on human blood in the mornings and evenings. On the flip side, it acts as a kind of insect repellent for me as they are much more interested in her blood than mine when they have a choice. She's a kind of mosquito net for me. I told her that and it didn't go down well.
- The Mmoatia are small dwarves that live in forests. Their feet face backwards and they try to beckon you by mimicking the voice of someone you know. Ask a Ghanaian about them. I've not seen them, but I imagine they look like Peterborough fans.
- We had a use a blanket the other night, it was THAT cold! The harmattan is coming, which means it's hotter in the day and colder in the night. But I'm sure it's going to be a shock to the system coming back to the UK having worn shorts and t-shirt everday for the last two and a half months.

And some photos:

 Liz with Aitkin's sisters - Bernice and Emmanuela
Me trying and failing to carry stuff on my head. 5 year olds can do this.

No-one comes out well in this picture.
Ghana's Indian community hosting a fundraising event in Accra. Great dancing (unlike the photo above) accompanied by chicken biryani.
Us in our Ghanaian clothing, made by Dora, a fashion designer who is the wife of Mr Gyampoh, one of the teachers at Abenta and an employee of Village By Village.
Liz grounding fufu with Solomon and Stephen. She only lasted 2 minutes. It's very tiring. Still that's 2 minutes longer than me.
Us eating our fufu meal with Solomon at his house in Koforidua. Great food and great chats!
This is Steve. He's from Barnsley. If you'd like to donate, please visit the Village By Village website. Steve is legend but has only been with us for two weeks and is off this weekend. He's been busy working with the local team of construction workers building gutters and toilets.

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