In Ghana your nickname is the day you were born – ny nickname in Twi is Nana Adjnoa – Princess Monday! Today we were at the Golden Tulip – a Dutch owned hotel chain. Walking into the hotel I feel like I am in the middle of a James Bond movie circa 1978 – grainy, smoky, muted colors with out-of-date lithographs on the wall, and the crème de la crème of sleazy North African businessmen lounging about in the bar. There are definitely some questionable business deals happening at this spot, not to mention the obvious few very good-looking Ghanaian women who are hanging out with some of the not so handsome Obroni’s. This reminds me of the welcome sign at the Immigration booth at the airport which said; Akwabaa to Ghana, we welcome all visitors except for pedophiles. If you have any such intentions, turn around now or it will be worst for your self. Everyone else welcome”……ahh it is always the little things you find traveling that gives you the most amusementJ So, internet connections in Ghana are a matter of interpretations – Golden Tulip has about the same speed as a regular 56K dial up in the US….the common Ghanaian internet connection is more akin to smoke smoke signals or pigeon mail! Yesterday I chewed 3 bites of a Ghanaian croissant while waiting for one page to load. Never again a bad word from me about WiFi connections in SF!
Being an Obroni in Ghana is quite an experience –everything always has to be set against “Obroni price?” or “Obroni time?’. Obroni price is 3 times higher than Ghanaian prices and Obroni time means being on time – Ghanaian time is about 2 hours later. We are on GMT – this I believe stands for Greenwhich Mean Time around the world but here it stands for Ghana Maybe Time! Also, Ghana being a very Christian country (a common sign in a taxi might say ‘you are on God’s time”) they have apparently decided that they can sell alcohol in most places including wine, but that they will restrict the drinking of it by making wine-openers expensive. A wine opener costs $15 (remember how the average rent of the Kiva client is $6.5 month) – my Swiss army knife would have come in so much handy here, but somehow it disappeared from my luggage on the way here. Now I understand why.
Africa in more ways than one is testing all of my survival skills. The Ghanaian people are the most hospitable – living up to their reputation as the “friendliest people in Africa”. 4 of the 10 women I met with yesterday invited me to visit them in their home next time I visit Ghana! The average rent for a rental home of Kiva’s clients is 65K cedes per month – that is $6.5 US per month! They live with their extended families (like Agnes) in one room and they are inviting the random Obroni to come stay with them! Many Ghanaians that we have talked to, are curious about why were are in Ghana and are so excited that we are spending our volunteer time helping Ghana. They have a very keen understanding of the media perception being put out in the US and Europe – that Africa is all about war, hunger, illness, and death. They are anxious to know that the Kiva fellows and other Obroni volunteers are communicating back to family and friends that there is so much work and beauty happening here. Please help me spread the word – forward my updates to friends and encourage them to get involved in any way they can. The world is changing before our eyes and I feel so blessed to be able to have one little part in it.
Thank you all so much for all the support you have given to me!/>