A Week in Accra

In some ways I feel it might be too soon for an Accra post. Aside from my October trip, when I was visiting the city for a week house hunting, I have only been here a total of seven days. However, my head is buzzing with all these new experiences and details and as this is essentially my diary I feel the need to get them written down. Perhaps my caveat is that I reserve the right to change the opinions expressed here at a later stage as I get to know our new African home!

Due to the common difficulty of securing a property in Accra we are currently living in a hotel. Thankfully we have managed to get somewhere with some basic cooking facilities. For me being able to prepare some basic meals, immediately makes me feel more settled. On Saturday we went to three large supermarkets. I have to admit coming away somewhat dismayed at the high price and poor quality of the fresh produce on display. Some things I can get used to, like the fact fresh milk is nearly impossible to obtain (UHT it is then) and the meat, as you might expect, is not fantastic quality. So you can maybe understand that the expensive wilting vegetables were somewhat depressing, but I wasn’t giving up that easily. After a bit of research and a chat with our driver Stephen he took me down to a little local veg stall. Hooray! Fresh vegetables and at a really good price. I’m fairly certain I’m probably paying some elevated expat price but I’m ok with that, at least it’s going to the local economy, rather than into the supermarket’s importing pockets.  I also love the fact that my business earned Stephen a free pineapple. There are many, many unemployed people in Accra so often they buy items from these markets and then walk the streets with them balanced on their heads selling them on through car windows.

As much as I despise the idea of being driven around in our fancy car it’s the way it has to be here. Our 4WD, the type often relegated to the school run in the UK, is actually really useful here in Accra. One turn off the main highway can lead to bumping up and down an surfaced road full of pot holes.

I’m always intrigued by how the English language has developed in countries where they have a native tongue. My favourite phrases noted so far are when I was taken to see a photocopy of a house because the one actually available still had tenants living inside. Then there is the Carvery sign at breakfast which lists the styles of eggs that the chef can prepare for you, clearly the word Carvery has been misinterpreted to mean selection. I’m not criticising these idiosyncrasies, in fact I’m always impressed by the ability to understand exactly what they mean. We really do have too many words in English!

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