Friday, September 5, 2008

In Ghana

Dora and I have arrived in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. We got here two days ago via a hectic day of flying and waiting in airports. Our flight was delayed by over an hour, but fortunately Pastor Nambu and his wife, a local pastor here, waited patiently for us at the airport to pick us up.

Pastor Siu and his wife Caterina will be our hosts for the next three months. They just arrived yesterday. Today, we load up on groceries and supplies for our 10 hour drive up north to a small town called Tamale, which will be our home. As it is a small town, there is not very much variety in terms of groceries, and what variety they do have is expensive. We stop by a Chinese supermarket where the Nissan instant noodles are $1.50 each. Dora buys me one as an early Christmas gift.

Differnces between Ghana and Tanzania:
- everyone speaks English here. No more Swahili lessons for us.
- Back to the right side of the road for us.
- More courteous drivers. Not courteous by Canadian standards, but here, they give more than 30 cm clearance to pedestrians and cyclists.
- More honking. Despite the aggressive driving in Tanzania, the only honking I heard was to alert pedestrians and cyclists of our approach. Here, the tqaxis will honk at pedestrians just to get their attension, producing a cacophony of honking at any major intersection.
- People selling everything at intersections, from plastic bags filled with water to snacks to toilet paper.
- Haven't encountered any street touts. But that's probably because we haven't visited any tourist areas

We've had two people ask us to read Chinese for them already. And there's a fairly common perception that all Chinese know how to fight. I've had one person ask me to teach him martial arts already.

Dora now has a new favorite insect-the preying mantis. We've spotted four different species since coming to Africa: one that looked like a brown dried leaf during the safari; a black one mimicking a large black ant; a green one that we saw briefly before it flew off in Zanzibar, and at the missionary guest house an inch long green one that moves slowly, swaying from side to side if disturbed to mimic a blowing leaf with a head that curiously pivots its large eyes and antennae around. In their natural surroundings, they would've been invisible, but so far we've seen these crawling on walls, chairs, and tables making them easy enough to spot.


Last night, Pastor Joshua drove us up to Tamale. It took us a full 12 hours, and we stopped only for a bit of food and bathroom breaks. I don't know how he has the stamina to stay awake-Dora and I were snoozing in the car, and we were still tired when we spilled out of the pickup truck.

This morning, Dora and I visited the school where we'd be teaching. We were introduced to the local pastor and some of the teachers. A strange thing that I'm sure we'll be getting used to-when it rains here, as it did this morning, nobody ventures outside. In fact, when we arrived at school for our meeting with the teachers, only 2 of the 9 or so came before us, and the rest didn't come until the rain stopped. We were told to expect the same from the students here.

The teachers are all very friendly, and I was anxious to start the school year with them.


zoltan said...

Did you show them your parkour skills tim?

Linda said...

I guess the "look both ways before crossing the road" needs to be applied every step you take! Please stay alert & safe.

When do you start school?