Seriously, don’t. So I beat the stomach bug! Take that, stomach bug! But I managed to get a head cold. I know what you’re thinking: “kid can’t catch a break.” I know it. Maybe I’m allergic to Africa? Or maybe my cold is payback for colonialism and structural adjustment?
So perhaps I exaggerate. Or kid. Or some combination. It’s entirely possible that my body is just getting used to a new environment. So what else takes getting used to in Accra (for me, anyway—other people, tougher people, people that like to camp and wear performance fleece might find the following easy)?
1) Showering: my building has running water most of the time. But it’s not really “running water.” Maybe “walking water” is a more apt description? “Limping water”? It dribbles out of the faucet or showerhead—just enough to get a couple of my hairs wet (luckily my head only has a couple of hairs to get wet, but enough about my insecurities). And really, isn’t being clean overrated?
2) Poor access to the webs/caffeine: I’ve realized quite quickly that without the Interwebs and without coffee, I’m pretty worthless. Seriously. I got nothing to contribute. It’s not just that I struggle to focus without my morning café coolata (that’s for you, Mel V), it’s that I’m mostly skill-less without the helping hand of technology. I can read and write. And I can get my STATA and my Excel on from time to time. But that’s about it. Jokes aside (even though I’m not really joking), the broader point is this—it’s much more difficult to be productive when the power goes out pretty frequently and the webs come and go as they please, not caring that I desperately need to be on g-chat even if invisible or red-dotted.
3) Getting around(s): Where do you work? By the Kingdom books. Where do you live? By Blue Gate. How do you get there? Take Papaye down. So in Accra, you give directions by landmark, not streets. So if I were to take a cab to work, I’d tell them I work by Kingdom books, a gigantic bookstore in Accra that you can see from far away. Similarly, I live by blue gate, a well-known fish restaurant. And if I wanted to get home, I’d say ‘take Papaye down,’ a street next to a big chicken restaurant.
I’m sure this list will ebb and flow as my summer continues. I’ll get used to some of it (though I doubt I’ll ever get used to no nets at home) and discover new things that take some getting used to. It’s no doubt a process, a journey, a sojourn, adventure, or another word that means journey, sojourn or adventure. But I feel like I’m starting to get my footing.
1.) The World Cup starts tomorrow and this country is going to go absolutely nuts.
2.) We had a once-in-a-year kind of rain last night. It blew my mind—I couldn’t see in front of me.
3.) I’m headed to the Eastern Region for a day or two next week to observe a couple of IPA projects, chat with local partners etc. And I’m hyped to see rural Ghana. Maybe I’ll even take a picture or two.