SNIPPETS ENLARGED

It’s been awhile, and I am afraid I will start forgetting all the fine, wonderful, wacky things that are making up my current life.  You get to help me keep the memories and share in a laugh and a nod.

  • Exploding curry powder – it wasn’t the curry powders’ fault, it was the ants. Of course, I blame the ants.  They were converging en masse in my kitchen, and I had to move my recently bought spices, cans of tuna fish, and top ramen aside quickly so I could kill the tiny buggers.  And the bottle of curry powder dropped to the floor – a glass bottle.  It absolutely shattered. A haze of orange filled the kitchen, and I thought for a moment I was in the best Indian restaurant ever.  But I wasn’t, I was in my kitchen on a Saturday morning, not even having a cup of coffee yet.

Do you have any idea how invasive curry powder is? Let me just say I was finding orange particles for 3 days, hiding in cracks and crevices I had cleaned only an hour before.

The great news is that my whole apartment smelled fantastic for about 48 hours.

  • I really was going to buy a dark backpack last weekend. I somehow got sidetracked while shopping the streets of Osu (area with nice shops, bars, restaurants – a bit of an obroni hangout) and found myself buying yards of fabric from Woodin.  My new goal was to hunt down a wonderful tailor named Esther who made me a dress 3 years ago (also from Woodin fabric).  She was around here somewhere…

After wandering the streets of Osu for about 30 minutes (no mean feat, it’s not that big, but dodging cars and open sewers was a bit exciting), I heard a “Hello Madam!” Sure enough, there was Esther welcoming me back to her shop that I had just  walked by +3 years!

After exchanging greetings and catching up a little, we got down to business of fitting me for my new wardrobe: two dresses, a skirt and a simple short-sleeved jacket.

Fabric: $30

Tailor: $55

Reconnecting with a lovely lady: Priceless

Stay tuned for photos!!

  • Same theme – fashion: I wore my dress to work last Monday. The one that Esther had made me 3 years ago.  It created a bit of a stir; everyone was quite excited I had something with Ghana fabric.  Three of the Loan Officers I knew demanded photos with me.

Can’t wait to see what happens when I wear my new collection!

  • The picture of me doing aerobics for Advans’ 10th Anniversary Walk is showing up on various office powerpoints…I am choosing to be flattered, although hand-covering-eyes was the first reaction.

 

  • Toe kicks are an interesting thing. I don’t have any in my kitchen.  The lower cabinets have doors that I now call ‘toe scrapers’

 

  • I can get my 2-room apartment cleaned and sheets and towels washed for $4.50. I wanted to get it done every 4-5 days, but management asked me to keep it to every 2 weeks.  Some concern about water consumption, and the comment “This is Africa after all”.

I have compromised to every 10 days.

  • I have found a place to stay in Tamale, my next 2-month stop on my Kiva Fellowship. I had lunch with a friend a couple of weeks ago (okay, a Facebook Friend whom I had actually never met in person) at a local restaurant.  He lived for a while in the US, and understands the hopes of comfort an obroni has.  Since he spends a lot of time in Tamale, I asked if he could help find me something, preferably a house-sharing situation.

Turns out he has a friend who is going to be out of town for several months – and a housemate willing to share the empty space!  With hot water and A/C!  AND A COFFEE GRINDER!!

  • About the coffee grinder…a sweet friend from Pfizer days was in town (really – she was here visiting another friend from her Global Health Fellowship days and I was a bonus). She had just finished a safari trip to Tanzania, and was travelling home with some coffee beans.  I didn’t know about the beans when I exclaimed over her luck in visiting a country with good coffee.  She promptly made me a gift of a pound of delicious Tanzanian coffee beans.

I have been searching off and on for a coffee grinder ever since.

My finding the house in Tamale is obviously a God-wink.  Must be doing something right!

  • There is a mosque not that far from my apartment. I can hear the muezzin calling the Muslim for prayers.  It is quite beautiful and haunting, and I know I will miss it.

 

  • Hitting the road for all of next week, back for the weekend, then out for the following week. See MAP in Photos for locations, and keep good thoughts!

 

  • What I am hearing: dogs barking, cars honking , a soprano singing opera, the beat and bass of dance music, the muezzin, a radio talk show…but nothing while I am writing.

 

Why to NOT bring your computer to work

Maybe I set myself up for this by even thinking about it.  My computer has everything in my life on it (should I be admitting that online??), but I can be a klutz.  It’s a disease I am managing, this klutziness.  I keep a sharp eye out for possible pitfalls, like uneven sidewalks, things sticking out from car roofs, posts that tempt me to walk into them…Over the years I have even trained myself not to catch a falling knife or put my hand in a running garbage disposal (the last is from personal experience…).

So lugging a computer back and forth from my apartment in Accra, Ghana to an Uber, into the office and back again, seemed fraught with danger.  But worse was the idea of having it stolen.  Lugging won.

NewTown
Streets of Accra

And then I dropped it.  On the second day.  In my apartment.  And I treated it like a knife – no stopping it.  I waited to assess the damage until I got to work, as it was tucked into my backpack-really, how bad could it be??

Great news, screen was intact and my computer started.  Bad news – the opening hinge was broken and it was pulling up the corner of my laptop.  CRAP!

By Thursday I knew the computer and I couldn’t go on like this. I confided in my next-desk seat mate, Kubra, who told me to go to IT (the org I am partnered with, Advans Savings and Loan, has all the mod cons). With trepidation and sweaty palms, I carefully took by wonky computer to them.  “Oh, we can’t fix that.” Crap. “But we can send it to a shop that can.”  YAY!   Wait, NO!!!    That’s got my life in it!!  Send it to some computer shop in Ghana?  Seriously?  I might be a klutz, but I am not stupid.

I handed over the computer, begging for its safe return.  Friday I would be visiting cashew farmers in the Volta Region, so I would pick it up on Saturday.  I started to hyperventilate.  Everyone chuckled in commiseration – at least, that’s how I decided to view it.

Saturday morning finally came – managing my anxiety levels over the past 36 hours had almost been effective –  and I made my way to Advans, hopeful that IT (whom I was assured would be there) had my fixed and unviolated computer.

The super nice security guard lady led me into the bank, informing me with a lovely smile that of course IT was not in today.  Whipping out my phone I called my contact and lifeline at Advans, Samuel, who knew all about this stuff.  I gave the phone to the Advans bank teller, and lots of conversation ensued. She closed her window (much to the dismay of the other clients) and led me to the back office. To a desk that had a hidden key that unlocked a secret cupboard.  And my computer!!

I started it up to make sure it really WAS my computer and functioned – YAY! Hinge fixed, and seemingly unviolated, I silently sent apologies to everyone everywhere for my doubts and anxiety. A well-deserved coffee was in my very near future, and I headed out with the backpack confined to my back with both straps.

I will be looking for a secret cupboard of my own on Monday.

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