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Thursday, 13 October 2011

Busy Busy!

Hi All

Sorry for the delay in posting an update, but things have been really busy around here.

I'll start with work. I was invited to attend training last week for solar powered wheelchairs. What a great idea! MTN (mobile phone company) have designed these wheelchairs with the intention that they will provide employment to people with disabilities, by allowing them to sell MTN products and charge mobile phone batteries using solar power. The training gave a selection of people the opportunity to test the wheelchairs and make comments on the design ahead of the formal launch. It was so good to see people enjoying the wheelchairs - they appeared to see the potential in terms of more freedom due to increased mobility. It wasn't long before it turned into a mad game of dodgems - people enjoying the accelator a little too much, crashing into walls, trees, each other - so funny! The formal launch is apparently scheduled for next week where around 140 of these wheelchairs will be presented to GSPD (I think) and the Vice President of Ghana is due to attend. Looking forward to it!

I was also asked to play match maker at this training session - one of the attendees wants me to find him a white wife! So if anyone's interested.... :-D

I attended my first formal meeting of the various disability organisations last week too. This was an eye opener in terms of how meetings are conducted here in Ghana. Things are very relaxed with people coming/going, people talking on phones, others falling asleep, constant stream of water/juice/pies, etc. It was also interesting to note that some people felt they could not speak without authority from their Director. There is a very strong respect for hierarchy, which can make things difficult if meetings are arranged at short notice and Directors cannot attend. It was a very useful meeting however to get to know who everybody is and what each of the organisations are doing.

Moving on to Ghana time (a recurring theme I suspect). The electrician was supposed to arrive at 5pm last Wednesday to install our living room ceiling fan. He appeared at 6.30am the next morning!! Following this visit we discovered that 3 plug sockets no longer worked - 2 in the living room, and 1 in the kitchen - the one for the fridge/freezer!! We didn't realise it was the plug sockets at the time - we thought the fridge had broken down. With it being a Friday evening, there was nothing we could do until the Monday, so we had to move everything to next door's fridge. It wasn't until the next day that we discovered the plug sockets were the problem - at which point my quick thinking flatmate simply moved the fridge to allow us to keep using it! Electrician came back this morning (early!) to tell us that one of our adapators caused the problem... No biggy, all fixed! All we need to do now is see the carpenter about these termites - one of the sofas is actually dropping pieces of wood now...

Last weekend was a good one - very quiet during the day (managed to catch up on Eastenders, yey!) On Saturday evening we ventured out to a local fabric shop, which was packed from floor to ceiling with the most wonderful fabric. Surprisingly, much of it was made in both Holland and the UK. I bought myself 3 yards - next step is to find a tailor. We then headed out to Paloma, a restaurant that does 2 for 1 pizzas at the weekend! (2 for 1 in Ghana means you have to buy 2 of the same thing, so lots of coordination needed!) After a pizza and some Rose wine, we met up with some other volunteers and headed to a couple of local spots for some sprite(!) and dancing. I've managed to record some of the funniest videos of the group dancing (including the random taxi that decided to pull up right beside us so the passenger could have a look, before reversing up the street) but unfortunately they're too big to upload. If I can figure out how to compress the files I will share them...

Sunday saw me cooking dinner for Ronald, Rose and myself. I attempted spag bol - not the best attempt, but edible. I'll keep working on it... (oh how I miss garlic bread though!)

This week has been busy socially. Monday night saw Ronald, Rahul and I watching Paranormal Activity (huddled on Ronald's bed as his room housed one of the working plug sockets). I've now discovered that one way to make scary movies even scarier is to watch them in a small flat in Africa... Good times. Tuesday saw 8 of us come together for yet another pizza night (we found another placed that does 2 for 1 on a Tuesday). We had a small feast followed by a movie and a power cut! Wednesday was the VSO Accra volunteer meeting, held at Alliance Francais which was a good opportunity to come together for good food, good music and good conversation.

I'm now intending to have a quiet night before the madness of the weekend begins from tomorrow (which is apparently going to start by cleaning the drains tomorrow night, joy!)

I encountered a bit of drama today as I was travelling back from a meeting. The bus I was on blew a tyre. I honestly thought the driver had been shot as the noise was so loud, he slumped over the steering wheel, people were screaming and the bus completely lost control. He recovered very quickly though and managed to steer the bus to a halt without hitting anything (incredible considering we were on a packed 3 lane motorway) or driving us into the sewer we were headed towards. Scary, but actually not as scary as when that happened to me on my motorbike back home...

The most random moment of the week has to go to Ronald though. First of all he has become an air guitar fiend after I introduced him to the wonders of Aerosmith. He then, after a short shopping trip, came back with a Scotland rugby shirt! Go Ronald!! :-D

I actually have some pictures to share this time - enjoy!

Have a good week :-)

Rachel x

1) Solar powered wheelchairs
2) PIZZA!!
3) Samina, Josephine, Kathy and I at Paloma
4) Group of us on Saturday night. Bottom left to right, Kathy, Rose, Josephine. Top, left to right: Ronald, me, Raj, Mona Liza
5) Ronald the Scotland supporter!!
6) My work compound - Accra Rehabilitation Centre
7, 8, 9) My office


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