Monday, 9 September 2013

Rain, Cloth, Spiders, Coconuts, and Markets....

I'm sitting at our large kitchen table while Chris and George work away at whatever it is they're working on.  I'm wasting data by mindlessly cruising deeper and deeper into the murky waters of Reddit and listening to Bastille's new album, Bad Blood. (It's so good.) We're finally getting a reprieve from the rain tonight, after 4 solid days of intense, heavy, LOUD evening rain. It’s so loud. 

I'm pretty tired today - my housemates George and Rasheeda showed me around our immediate neighborhood, including a charming private school where I spoke with the headmaster about potential teaching opportunities.  We parted ways with George, who had his own errands to run, and checked out another high school.  Rasheeda also needed to go to town (Adum, the downtown-area of Kumasi, and location of the central market, the biggest market in West Africa), so I tagged along on what ended up being a super efficient cloth-sandals-bag pickup.  I bought an obscene amount of cloth, and am so excited to take them to Mr. Tony, an exceptional tailor in Bomso, to have some professional attire fashioned exactly to measure. 


Just the tip of the iceberg. 


So far life in Ghana has been pleasant - I'm starting to become more familiar with our neighborhood and the city itself (read: I can get to town and buy food at the market.  And now I know where the textiles stores are.  So I'm all set.), and I'm acclimatizing to the heat (which is, apparently, much cooler than it has been in Saskatoon lately), or rather, the humidity of the city.  My housemates rock, and we are anticipating the arrival of two new Engineers Without Borders African Programs Staff (hereafter EWB APS, because efficiency) in a week: Sean (Mark's little brother) and Caroline! Woot! Soon it will be a full house! 

Walking home just before sunset

My view from the balcony at the back of our house just after supper.  Nice. 


Oh, our house, by the way, is uh....coming along? Turns out, during some heavy rains, there are three significant leaks in our ceiling - particularly by George's room, where the builders thought it would be a great idea to leave a hatch-opening to the roof without like, sealing it so that we don't have an indoor waterfall.  It’s like they forgot it rains or something. *slow clap*  Nevertheless, it's still pretty sweet to live here and watch the outside construction and eventual landscaping come along. The latest development at VOTOlandia: razor wire.  It looks so intimidating. 





In addition to our outer defenses, we have a small unit of animal guards in the house. I know you're definitely wondering how Kwame Nkrumeow is doing - in fact, I'm sure that's the only real reason you're reading this, isn't it?  Well, she's doing great - growing fast and becoming braver and more playful everyday.  She's also becoming more snuggly and random-bitey-scratchy.  There was some debate as to whether or not she might be expecting kittens, but I think it's just her awkward growth phase where some parts of her got bigger faster than others.  Mark believes otherwise, and has made 20 GH bets with various house mates.  I can't wait to collect my 20GH. 

Nkrumeow, you've gotta be kitten me. Still sleeping? (Not pictured: sentry bat and ninja spider. Because no.)

In addition to our battle cat Nkrumeow, we have a sentry bat who lives *somewhere* in the house during the day, and patrols the lower floor and upper balcony at dusk and during power outages.  We also have a silent ninja spider, about the size of a toonie, who surveys the hallway outside of mine and Mark's room with extreme vigilance (it's been there for three days and I'm too afraid to kill it, and no one else is on board with burning the house down).   Both the bat and the spider suck, because (a) they're scary, and (b) neither of them seem to be doing a very good job of eating the mosquitoes in the house, because my legs are covered in red, itchy bumps.  *slow clap*

Overall, things are starting to feel more comfortable and familiar, which rocks. Kumasi and VOTOlandia are definitely starting to feel more like home (though don’t worry, Mom, I AM still coming back to Canada!).  I’m still a fish out of water, and am still trying to make it through each day without looking like a total awkward Canadian noob, but it’s coming along. The next chapter in this adventure entails yours truly finding a job, which may be easier than I had thought.  Wish me luck! For now, here are my random thoughts currently passing through my mind:

I'm definitely loving the Disney and 90's music collection that our Ghanaian house mates play and sing along to daily in the house - I'm feeling a huge nostalgia after (quite terribly) signing along to Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, and Whitney Houston. Next up: C+C Music Factory and Whigfield. Also, many housemates are totally into The Fresh Prince of Belair.  I feel like I've stepped back into time. 


Turns out I really like cabbage.  Like, a lot.  And it’s cheap and everywhere.  Win for Jo.  Also, Nutella is a big thing here, so there’s that.  I’m going to attempt making cabbage rolls in our rice cooker (sans Nutella, of course). 


I told myself I wouldn’t get attached to the cat because I’m just leaving it in a year.  I have failed in this – the cat may as well be stitched permanently to my heart. 


A fresh coconut on a hot afternoon is the greatest thing ever.


The Central Market here in Kumasi is outrageously large and just as outrageously busy – what would once have caused me extreme anxiety and confusion has now given me great, whimsical pleasure. There’s so much to look at and see – getting better at rebuffing the kissy sounds, the hisses, shouts of “Obruni” and “Hello, Sweetie” has definitely helped in this.  Now all I need to do is get better at haggling prices.



I’ve gotten used to the snail’s-pace internet in our house.  I am definitely appreciating the glorious, cheetah-speed internet back in Saskatoon. 

Though I’m mostly excited that I get to marry my best friend and co-captain, I’m starting to get really excited at the prospect of planning a meaningful and fun for all wedding for whenever Mark and I actually set a date.  (Sneak preview: Karaoke dance party and board games?)


I never thought I’d be so happy to find a small jar of cinnamon and a store that sells Jam. Also, Rasheeda thinks I'm totally crazy for having oatmeal with apples and cinnamon.  SHE's crazy. She doesn't even like The Avengers.  Win for Jo.


I’m really appreciating (read: missing) a lot of things – still Jelly Bean, family, friends, and colleagues, and (now) my laptop, but also things like Swedish Berries, not sweating all day, hot water (cold showers=aaaaargh), and having a car of my own (though I would NEVER want to drive in Ghana. Taxi and tro drivers be cray, yo). .


It’s cool that I have time to do things for fun – like read books that I’m not teaching, writing for fun, and drawing and kitchen karaoke. 


I’m developing a serious addiction to cloth.  Cloth, cloth, cloth.  God help me. Cloth.



So there you have it – it’s been a bit of a slow week, so maybe I don’t have the most exciting things to say.  But Sharon Harvey told me to stop sucking and make a blog post, so here it is. For next time: the search for employment, tailoring adventures, and even more stepping out of my comfort zone! Until then, naioumi tidiaow (sweet dreams!).  

Jo

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