Just for the record, I am actually doing work for my class I’m taking right now. This is just a slight diversion from the reading that’s required. I’m also required to write a blog post, just not this one.
(insert time warp of approximately twelve days)
(no the work blog didn’t get done that night either, but it did eventually)
So I’m sitting in the Vodaphone shop in the mall, giant fan blowing to keep the plastic chairs lines up for the que nice and cool. Ironically this is the very reason I haven’t been able to post lately. Internet has been sketchy at best at home, and mostly nonexistent. But we’re stuck. If I don’t pay the bill then even the couple hours a day it works we won’t have it. What’s a guy to do?
You see the power situation here in Ghana is in bad shape. Electricity is on rolling blackouts that are rumored to be scheduled but in practice seem to be quite random. Most mornings and every afternoon the power is out in Dzorwulu as we drive thru which means the traffic lights are out too. It’s a kind of fun, kind of scary challenge to navigate a four lane intersection with no traffic lights or policeman directing traffic, but somehow it works. I generally try to use a taxi or Tro Tro as a shield as I edge or speed thru the intersection. Seems like a good plan anyway.
We are actually pretty lucky in the midst of all this as we have a generator at the house that the guards switch on and off with the fluctuations in power. A luxury for sure as most people just deal with it. Which means no lights often no water (pumps) and often renders a refrigerator useless. The school takes care of us here. Its a foreign hire luxury and it puts a lot of things in perspective. A lot of our colleagues and even students are not so lucky. There are lots of conversations around dealing with no power in the evenings to get grading or homework done. Then there’s the whole just living part of it. It doesn’t sound like there’s a solution coming soon either. Word is the water is low in the dam so we’re just waiting on the rain.
So as I sit in the Vodaphone office slightly frustrated with the situation I have to ground myself in the first world problems I’m crying about. It’s a lesson in acceptance and flexibility. I could be frustrated and complain and cause a scene or roll with it and adjust. Life is a lot happier with the second option, especially when you take a good look around.
I live here. Those three words have been in my mind a lot lately. As I drive the streets and watch the world go by. As I stand, still in the dark house when the lights go out and listen to the kids giggling as we wait for them to come back on. I live here and despite, maybe even because of, the challenges, I love it. When I hit the streets for a run, someone always cheers me on with a shout or some claps or even one guy who danced along in front of me for a bit. That has never and probably would never happen in the States. There was even a guy at the tro tro stop across from our house who clapped for me and joked with me for several minutes as I returned home from a run last week.
Everyone has their stories of kindness and smiles. I know I’ve talked before about the friends we’ve made in shops and the people who work in and around our school. They make this place.
(insert another two days and still no internet)
These are just a few of the things that make Ghana beautiful. I could go on and on but I won’t. Maybe i said It before and I’m sure I’ll say it again but, it’s the people. The guys on the street, the taxi drivers, Mary the traffic director, Charles at the quick stop and so many others. That’s what makes it beautiful. I think somebody said once, “It’s not where but who you’re with that really matters“.
And I’m with my favorite people every day.