It's been a while since my last post - partly down to poor internet connection, and partly laziness. A lot has happened since the last time I wrote. From what I can remember, the key highlights include:
The death of the President a few months ago came as a real shock to most people in Ghana, but was handled with a great amount of dignity and respect. It was interesting to see the country's response to something like this - it bordered on the level of public outpouring that we in the UK saw for Princess Diana. Except for a politician - not something I expect we would see back home. There were a few days of mourning where not much happened in the land of work, and then the build up to the funeral which saw various world leaders/delegates attend. It was really great to see Ghana make headlines as being one of the few, if only, countries in Africa that handled something this serious so calmly and peacefully, with a very smooth handover to the Vice President.
This has since been followed by the Presidential election which took place on 7th December. Yet another interesting experience in terms of the build up to the election, the constant calls for peace, the excitement of just about everybody you meet and the political party related memorabilia which is everywhere! The vote took place last Friday and seemed to have been very peaceful (all VSO volunteers were 'grounded' for the weekend so we didn't get to experience any of this first-hand) and when the results came out on Sunday, there were celebrations in the streets of Accra (including randoms stripping off and running down my street!) Since then it hasn't been as peaceful, with the opposition party contesting the result (it was incredibly close) and trying to take it to court. While some of the response to this has been funny - cars blasting music driving around and stopping in the middle of the street to dance with random people - there have been serious incidents which have now resulted in the riot police/soldiers driving around the city in convoy, sirens blaring, to remind people of their presence. While we have not felt any threat as a result of all of this, it is a case of being careful - another reason to look forward to my beach break next week!
I'm not sure what it is with the Adabraka flat but we are starting to think we have been cursed by a witchdoctor! Following my thumb emergency (which is almost back to normal now, with the exception of a small bit of outstanding nerve damage and a fading scar), we have witnessed minor bumps, scrapes and illnesses, culminating in the emergency run to hospital for my neighbour who fell in the shower and broke her wrist. 9 hours, 3 hospitals, 2 days and some horrific procedures (I won't erase those images anytime soon, so can't imagine what my neighbour felt) we returned home with her in a cast wondering how on earth she is going to do anything. After a few days of successfully converting to the land of left-handedness, she has unfortunately had to return to the UK for surgery and it is unclear if she will be coming back (fingers crossed!)
In the meantime, we have gone from 5 this time last year to just me in this huge flat.... "All by myself......" Not to worry, I have people passing through from up north on their way to airports, beaches, etc. I will find out in January if my neighbour is coming back; and there's the potential in February for somebody else to be moving in - so I'm sure it will all work out fine!
I had another trip home in October, this time for my friend's wedding which went very well! General comments - Scotland is cold, grey and I missed the vibrancy, heat and general randomness of Ghana! Whereas the first time I was home I was nervous about coming back, this time I couldn't wait. Of course I miss everybody back home - and I definitely miss my bed!!!! - but Ghana feels like 'home' for now.
I can't say too much about this for obvious reasons but there have been many many dramas of late and it has been more challenging than expected. I have one last workshop to facilitate this weekend and then I will finish up for a couple of weeks - well earned I think.
So it is Christmas once again, and it definitely does not feel like it!! My family were very sweet when I was home and put on a full Christmas day/dinner for me (amazing in October, especially when randoms turn up at the door wondering why on earth there is a Christmas tree in the hallway and a wreath on the door!) I realised at that point that I do in fact miss Christmas, but only when I'm home. Here, I just cannot get into the spirit of it - life is so different. I did make the effort to put Christmas decorations up today but it's not quite the same when the sweat is pouring off you in 35+ degree heat! So while I wish everybody a great holiday back home, I am looking forward to my 'summer holiday' at the beach.... :-D
As for next year, well I have the "joys" of turning 30 to look forward to; but I will also have the opportunity to welcome 2 friends to Ghana which I am very excited about! It will be great to share my life out here with people back home and to see what they think!!!
Have a great Christmas and New Year!
Scottish Dancing once again!
Saying Goodbye to my lovely housemate Rose - she's missed!!
ICT week - the new round of volunteers (I'm an oldie now!)
Saying Goodbye to the lovely Vincent, also missed
- the final four