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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Christmas Week

Well this Christmas is certainly turning out to be a different one. It starts last Tuesday when I get a text message at 6.00am asking me to organise a 1 day OD training course the following Tuesday. Panic sets in, although I'm not sure why because 1 week's notice is unheard of in Ghana (I know of one volunteer who was told during the meeting that she had a slot on that day's agenda to deliver training!)

So I start working up an agenda for the 1 day, which turns in to me organising the entire staff retreat! A staff retreat is pretty much away days for staff at the end of the year to review performance and to plan ahead. I worked up a pretty good agenda, sat with people to discuss accommodation, travel etc (and had to leave the office at one point due to serious frustration at the disorganisation, and then remind myself that this is how things work here and it will all come together at the last minute – which it did).

I then received a text message at 5.15am on Monday morning, the day we were due to travel, to tell me the whole thing had been cancelled. Gutted!!! After working until after 11pm every night the previous week (no mean feat when you consider the heat) and preparing things like my santa talking stick, and arranging santa hats/chocolates for everybody, I was seriously disappointed that I wouldn't get to use it.

However, after some thought, it probably works out for the best – I'm hoping we can reschedule in January when everybody is feeling a bit more refreshed, and when the boss is back from London.

In the meantime, I have managed to convince my office (with great difficulty) that we should go out for a team lunch tomorrow. So the hats/chocolates hopefully won't be wasted! Although whether they understand the humour I'm not sure – they're not fully understanding the Christmas decorations that I've put up in the office, or the Christmas earrings I'm wearing this week. I can sympathise with this though – it is far too hot to be thinking about Christmas!!!

On a separate note, thank you to everybody who has sent me presents – it is very generous of you, and there's something so exciting about receiving a parcel from home! Quote of the week has to go to Mari though: “you might not want to take it somewhere its overly hot like out in the sun cos a couple of things are kind of meltable” (Sorry Mari, just had to share!!!) Mum also included a wee present for Ronald which went down very well! We're trying to get into the Christmas spirit here in Accra – we have decorations up as well as an advent calendar! That explanation, along with the Santa one, made for an interesting discussion... :-D

As for the rest of the week, one of my neighbours is dog-sitting at an ex-pat house. As my Mum said, my life is clearly changing when I'm over-excited about using a washing machine/tumble dryer, as well as chips, sausages and scrambled egg for dinner. For one night only, I had fluffy sheets – awesome!

I then experienced tro crash number 2 the other night, when a tro ran into the back of ours. Thankfully not serious but it did give me a little fright and reminded me that I need to pick my seats a bit more carefully. Sorted by Filipino corn (garlic flavour), beer and Bad Santa!

I also attended a leaving do for a couple of volunteers at the weekend, one of whom works in my organisation's compound and who I'm really going to miss – she's been a great support to me in my first few months and has offered a very good ear when the frustration of work threatens to take over. She supports an organisation that works with street kids (, so we all went there for a while before heading out for food/dancing on a rooftop bar (love the breeze!).

As for Christmas, I will be heading to the beach at the end of this week for 9 days. I will be treating it as a summer holiday as it's the only way I'll get through this. It is far too weird to think about being away from home and missing out on, amongst many things, chipolatas and garlic bread!!! I never ever thought I would say this, especially after last year, but I'm missing the cold dark nights, rain and occasional snow flurries! I'm all about the heat, but at this time of year it's just wrong....

So on that note, I'd like to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year – I hope you all have a great time whatever you do, wherever you are.

Rachel x


My Santa talking stick that I didn't get to use...

Surrounded by kids at the Jaynii Organisation

Kathryn will be sorely missed...

Kathryn and Aidan, the Daddy of the group.

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