New bike and werewolves

April 26, 2010 at 10:11 pm (africa, Uncategorized)

Since my last post I have been doing much of the same thing, but each day something interesting has happened .. even if the something interesting was just buying a new variety of mango or getting slightly rained on. I am really enjoying the everyday things!

Major things that have happened since the last post are: I bought a bike!! and I love it. A friend from RAINS drove me to all the places that sell bikes, on his motorbike.. which was really fun! and we had to wait by the side of the road for the maintenance man to take my new bike all apart and put it back together again, when he had finished it had got dark and I rode the 40 minute bike ride back to my house with my friend escorting me on his motorbike haha. Good job though, I would have got lost for sure.  It was hard to balance as Ive never ridden a girls bike with curvy handlebars before!

Anyway, since I bought the bike I have been on 3 exploring trips.. the first one I noticed that Tamale isn’t completely flat, the second one tested my road bike on dirt/sandy roads and the 3rd one reminded me how much dust and wind a big truck makes as it passes you! It is great to have more freedom and to see a bit more of Tamale… and be able to travel to more food places than before on foot. 🙂

I finally went to see a football match in the big stadium yesterday, I only caught the second half, which was ok by me. Only about a quarter of the stadium was full which makes me wonder why it was built to be so big, but the crowd was still making loads of noise, especially the guy behind me who had a hilarious scream .. and drums were playing somewhere. Near the end of the match some people were getting really angry, and army men with guns were trying to stop them going on the pitch… but when the match had finished, loads of people stormed onto the pitch all angry about something really important to do with the referee apparently. So we left pretty quickly. It was fun! and I took lots of photos.

Had my first gin and tonic in Ghana, which was actually gin and soda water.. which is NOT the same thing I have found out! haha, I had this gin with a friend from work, and his friend who plays tennis, and we ate some barbequed goat, and barbequed gizard.. 🙂 gizard is kinda wierd.. felix was explaining that it is part of the chicken’s stomach which grinds up the food.. it was quite crunchy.

I have been dreaming whole crazy stories every night, which has been really interesting! Its like having a personal cinema but you never know what you will be watching or taking part in. I have been a german jew in world war 2, a werewolf, a regular person searching for an interview dress (not so interesting that one), and ive been eating very very big muffins.

Jessie has now left, but will be back at the end of May when we hope to go travelling to the east of the country if I can take some holiday from work. And next weekend I am going to Bolga! This is part of a deal in exchange for me providing my gift of the queen’s english on some website text. 🙂 Very excited to see more of Ghana.

Oh! and also had a meeting with someone who is setting up an environmental organisation here, and I am hoping to help him with editing also, and in exchange he will show me the work they are doing in the communities to do with tree planting and making organic compost, and will photograph and take notes. [As a footnote they are looking for some small funding if anyone knows of anyone or anywehere who likes to fund small local environmental ngos?]

Ti ni nye taba

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Markets

April 14, 2010 at 8:02 pm (Uncategorized)

I have nearly been in Ghana for a month now! and it is a while since my last post..

Work has been going well, I’ve been able to design a brochure which has been fun! Not sure when I’ll be getting to Walewale..

Last weekend I managed to find the market on Saturday, and bought some bread. The main market is really interesting, I couldn’t find it for ages as I was expecting it to be obvious.. but then I decided to wander into a small dark alleyway, out of which the market kind of grew! The further in I went, and the more turns I made, the more lost I became, it was like a maze… and really closely packed with people selling things. I was in the food part mostly, where as well as tomatoes, mangoes, groundnuts.. you could also buy a cow’s head and some goat’s feet. I didn’t really fancy carrying the cow’s head back home, however persuasive the cow’s head seller was, so I just settled with my bread.

I also went to the arts market with Jessie on Sunday.. which isn’t the best day to go since there weren’t many stalls open, but it was quite nice for being quiet.. got to chat to a few people. Jessie bought a coconut on the way back, and I bought some fufu from a chop bar.. so good.

I have been doing some more cooking with Janet, who has shown me how to cook Fried Yam, and Fried Plantain.. and with the most amazing stew/sauce. I can now make the stew on my own! Next we are going to cook Tubani, which I think I described before.. but before we can cook it we have to send our beans which have been dried, to the grinder to grind them into a flour.. and then there is some special vegetable that goes in the stew that I need to find!

This week at work I have had someone to go to lunch with, and we have been going to the ‘Jollof lady’ and sitting under their tree. The first day we did this, some friend’s of the girl I was with (from Germany) gave me the dagbani name of ‘Nawun’ or something similar… which means god’s creation I think, so now I have been given 3 dagbani names from different people; ‘Nawun’ Wunpaga’ (god’s gift, i think) and ‘Titanyeree’ (or something! meaning prosperity).. I think ‘beef’ suits me better haahaha

This weekend I will be mostly eating fried plantain and working on my tan… maybe I’ll go back to the pool..

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Easter weekend

April 6, 2010 at 1:44 pm (Uncategorized)

I just wanted to write about my weekend, because it was such a massive contrast to last weekend! We had Friday and Monday off for easter, but there was no kind of easter celebrations since the majority of people in Tamale are muslim.

I spent most of the weekend with Abudulai, who spent most of the weekend meeting relatives and giving money and advice to people who came and asked for it. On Friday we went to a village football match, I watched the whole thing, and found the game just as boring as I had imagined. BUT it was exciting being there, and watching the crowd, and talking to people.. and eating mangoes. We were given the away team’s bench to sit on.. I felt a bit overly honoured. Then we went for dinner at Hajia’s house who made us TZ, and her family were very welcoming. Hajia is a board member of RAINS, and has a really nice house with lots of plants in the garden, like a banana plant! Then we went to see a nephew of Abud’s who had had a road accident that day, his house was full of framed photos and walking sticks.

On Saturday I went with one of my housemates (who has now left) to the Bigizia Pool, which is a small hotel pool full of white people. I (as usual) underestimated the amount of suncream I would need, and burnt myself quite a bit.

On Sunday Abudulai and I were to go to Zosali village, but on the way we also visited another village where they were re-thatching a roof, and we met their chief. Then we had to nip back into town to drop someone off, and Abud was asked to do an interview on the radio so I went with them and took photos. Then I drove us out to Zosali, this time it was quiet in the village, and I personally met the chief, the chief’s wife, and the chief’s horse. We chatted to him for a bit, on the wall of his room were the traditional clothes that were handed down to him from the last chief.. as well as some framed photos of himself and previous chiefs. We went to the chief’s wife’s house to interview a few women farmers about seeds, and were given some Bamku to eat.. which was nice.. bit fishy. It was very interesting, but all spoken in Dagbani, I filmed it. On our way out we met various other people, and we had to formally say goodbye to the chief, who then gave us 4 big yams and a live guinea fowl with its feet tied up. We had given him some whiskey and about 15 Ghana cedi.

We were meant to go to another football match in the big stadium, but we were too late, so we went to visit another relative under a mango tree.

On Monday we visted more people in various different parts of Tamale. It has been amazing to be able to go into people’s houses and see how they live, and also how the houses are built.. in the villages they were all made out of mud and were generally round with thatched roofs. In Tamale, there are many different areas with different types of houses. There are hardly any buildings with more than 1 floor though. The tallest building here is the main mosque I think, with its tall towers.

I spent Monday afternoon being shown how to cook Wachey in my kitchen, by one of Abudulai’s many many nieces. So I now have about 2 weeks worth of rice and beans in the fridge! yum. We cooked the guinea fowl from the chief in the Wachey. It was quite strange seeing the foot and the claws that I had been holding the day before, to keep from flying off .. in my the pan on the stove. Tasted good though.

… There was a big storm last night, when I had the house to myself, the wind picked up and brought up all the dust.. then there was lots of thunder and lightning.. and then it rained! It was quite momentus, the gate swung open at one point and a herd of goats wandered in.. i had to shepherd them back out again! haha

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One week on

April 2, 2010 at 10:53 am (Uncategorized)

Daasiba!

Everything is going well here so far, I am getting used to the town and where to find the good food.. but there isn’t really much to report for the past week because I have been working in the office everyday!

However, I should mention the mangoes (and we have a mango tree in our garden), because they are so good and I must be eating about 3 a day.. in fact maybe I will talk about the food! My favourite so far is ‘Wachey’ which is rice and beans with a really spicy sauce and big chunks of beef or guinea fowl (kpang).. but I also like TZ which is a bit like fufu (pounded yam) where its a ball of doughy type ..dough, which you eat with a soup and you use your hands. The soup can be ocra (brra) or groundnut, both are really nice actually.. yumyum. Also I need to mention ‘Tubani’ which is mashed up beans made into a kind of dumpling which you have with an oniony sauce.. really good. All this is sold by ladies on the side of the road for about 50p.

I don’t cook much in my kitchen, well nothing yet other than one packet of noodles, because it is way cheaper to get street food.. but they use so many plastic bags to put your food in and the land is covered in black plastic bag litter..

Abudulai from London who was teaching me Dagbani since January, is here for a week or so, and it has been really great to meet lots of his friends and family (and he is well known here), and he has been showing me more of Tamale.. I even got to drive the big truck that he is using here! I drove through some villages on the east side of the town, it required much skill to avoid the potholes.

This weekend I am going to see a football match in the new stadium in Tamale, of the Tamale football team vs some other town.. this will be my first football match experience, and those that know me will understand how momentus this is! haha, Im looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about. Then in a week or so I am going to stay in a smaller town called Walewale to do some fieldwork! Very excited.

It is 42 degrees today!

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