4:30 am, Arabic over the megaphone 20 ft. from my window. Prayer time for the muslims, time to go back to sleep for me. I’ll roll outta my mattress in an hour or two. No need for an alarm really as there are plenty of roosters and people making noise at this point. I throw my mosquito net that drives me insane aside. I’m on my 4 in. mattress which is luxurious compared to my roommates prayer mat. It’s basically a yoga mat.
My room is probably tiny in Canadian terms although it’s about the same size as my tiny apartment room back home. There’s some weird stuff with hair hanging on the walls (not nearly as cool as my deer head back home). There’s a small desk that I usually use my laptop on. There’s also a small table with a TV. Yup, electricity. We’re ballas in Zhang.
I head outside to get a bucket and do the morning greetings. To get an idea of the village, think discovery channel village. Yanno, round mud huts with thatched roofs. Now throw a bunch more in there, add slightly bigger square buildings, a few powerlines, some motorcycles, two tractors and a cell phone tower in the backdrop. Ya, motorcycles next to mud huts, Ghana is pretty crazy.
I grab my bucket and strut over to the bore hole. Every time I pass someone:
“Gom be ennay”.
Which is terribly spelled but basically translates to:
[recognition or reciprocation of some sort]
“how did you sleep?”
“I slept well”
To fill up my bucket I usually have to push people out of the way. Not because I’m impatient but because they won’t let me do anything for myself. After the bucket is full, bucket shower outside. Aww ye. At least I’m not in line of sight of anyone.
After the bucket shower, I go back to my room. There’s something that’s supposed to be food called porridge or coco but it’s sort of like what I imagine that meal in the matrix is with less nutrients. I leave that stuff for my roommate. I throw my bag on my back, my motorcycle helmet into my bicycle basket and bike about a half hour into the city.
During the ride I pass by a few people, usually saying good morning to them. I pass by my bike repair dude who stops me to talk 100% of the time (and also does some preventative maintenance). I also pass by a school which is usually pretty fun. Sometimes I have to pass by in the afternoon and the kids go nuts.
I stop at my favorite egg’n’bread place. I don’t even have to order any more I just say goodmorning and he knows what’s up. They fry up the egg, throw it on the bread and finish it off grilled cheese style on the frying pan. It’s accompanied by Milo which is sorta like coffee but super delicious so I’ll spare you the description since you’ll never have some.
After this point, there’s really no typical day. I might spend the day with one input dealer in his shop or I might drive on a moto to far off villages on roads that can’t imaginably allow four wheeled vehicles but these vehicles defy imagination. If you want to know more about my work, check out some other posts. At some point in the day I get a fanta to drink with rice and a hardboiled egg for 2 GHC which is less than 2 bucks. Or is it 3 GHC? I can’t remember but it doesn’t exactly break the bank.
At the end of the day (4-5ish most days but it could be earlier or much later depending on the day) I bike back to the village. This ride is much more enjoyable as it’s almost all downhill. I come back to some:
No idea how to phonetically spell this: “Antele” if really early or “Anula” if after 4
Sorta translates to:
“Good afternoon” or “Good evening”
[again a form of recognition or reciprocation. Kinda like when I say word.]
“How was your journey”
[In this case na indicates that you’re journey was well]
In the evening I kill time with villagers. We watch movies on my laptop, talk about differences between Ghana and Canada, listen to some of my music, listen to some P-Square (it’s backstreet boys meet usher featuring 50 cent. The 90s are over Ghana, get over it) or just stare at me while I read a book. That last one usually applies to the Ghanaians that don’t speak English but must spend time with the foreigner.
Supper is served after prayers around 6 or 7 and is always TZ. TZ is a big ball of starchyness that you dip in soup and then eat. I don’t like it one bit so I do my best to fill up during breakfast and lunch but the Ghanaians swallow fist fulls of it and look around for more when their bowl is empty.
I usually hit the mattress around 9 or 10 after getting my mosquito net ready. That thing is infuriating to me because even if I’m not touching it, I know it’s there. I would never consciously choose malaria over the net but I can see why many Ghanaians forgo the net even when it’s an option. I drift off to sleep and the whole process repeats… at 4 am.