Burkina Faso…

Dear Diary,

I have been reliably lazy lately to even entertain the thought of posting a new entry on my blog. Not that I didn’t write bits and pieces on my diary (in fact, I started writing daily on my appointment diary, and it being a bit too small in size to be a proper journal, I had to resort to using blank pages from the days gone by!) – its just that those bits and pieces don’t always make suitable content for this supposedly formal and polite blog. So, I just have to let my diary entries about my flirtation with voluptuous Burkina lady or of getting drunk on my third day in Burkina stay as handwritten pieces on my appointment diary. Oops, I just mentioned what I didn’t mean to! Strictly no details here though!

long straight road to Burkina
Long straight section of the road on the way to Burkina

Burkina Faso is undoubtedly a fascinating country. I had the good fortune of arriving in this country overland, passing through some beautiful parklands and of witnessing the change in landscape from Northern Ghana over a distance of 360 KMs or so. The only difficulty has been the language – Burkina being a Francophone country and my French almost non existent (its a bit embarrassing to mention here but I just received an email from the language teaching centre at my university informing me that I passed the level 1 French with “merit” – so I better start showing off my “merit” in French level 1!!). Good thing is that I have been trying to communicate in French as much as I can manage – asking for food, key to my room at the hotel etc. – and TV5 has certainly helped me get used to listening French as it seems to be the only reliable 24hr TV channel here (at my hotel). I have particularly started to enjoy children’s programmes and cartoons in French, as they are the easiest to comprehend. I have promised myself and to the colleagues in Burkina that the next time I come back, I’ll speak to them in French! And now having been able to acquire a multiple entry permit for a year, I certainly plan to come back here when I can. Continue reading Burkina Faso…

Mail from Tamale #2

It has already been a week since my last update. The pace of the work here is very relaxed to say the least. It might be because of the climate here, especially this time of the year when its hot and a bit humid, with rain clouds around but struggling to rain.

There aren’t many (interesting) things to talk write about since my last update. I did manage to call home from my mobile phone finally, and it wasn’t very expensive call either – costing about a dollar for a 5-minutes call. But I didn’t know it was going to be that cheap when I called so I made sure I put the phone down just around the 5-minutes mark!

After making a daily routine to come to the internet cafe for a week or so – to download email and send replies, and check news, this routine has started to break up now. I have become busier lately but also less reliant on internet for my news. Whenever I am at home, I have my radio on the side, tuned on to the BBC World Service (I even managed to listen to a documentary about indoor air pollution in Nepal, and a piece on music and shamanism in Nepal!). As for email, I don’t receive much anyway to have to check them daily.
Continue reading Mail from Tamale #2

Mail from Tamale #1

I forgot to mention in my previous post that despite all the scare(mongering) I have had no problem whatsoever with my health since arriving in Ghana. I must say I have been as careful as I can with food and water but not to the level of paranoia. I have started to boil my own drinking water than to rely on overly expensive mineral water (here, mineral water is more expensive than beer!). And NO, I haven’t started drinking beer instead of water!!

I have also started to cook myself – rice and curry was on menu the night before, naturally :) . I made potato curry with green pepper and tomatoes, but it seems I might not enjoy potato as much here. For I paid 10000 Cedis (approx $1.10 US) for 3 potatoes!!!! and I could instead have bought a huge piece of tarul (yam) for 5000 Cedis (I know yam is no potato but I love yam as much as I do potato, so they can be perfect substitutes for me!). In terms of shopping, Tamale market seems a bit on the expensive side, especially when it comes to non-perishables. I spent more than $30 US on ONE bag of shopping that included, among others, a bottle of olive oil (~ $18!) and I didn’t have a lot of other items in the bag either!! Fruits and vegetables were a bit affordable (except potato of course) but in this heat its hard to find fresh fruits and veggies. Haven’t tried the meat market yet…
Continue reading Mail from Tamale #1

feels like home…

Okay, by compulsion I’ll have to be short (and hopefully sweet) now. Internet connection is not very great in Ghana, but I have been lucky that I found this internet cafe run by SimliAid (read my earlier post here about how I first heard about this cafe!), and luckier that they are allowing me to bring my own laptop and use their network to connect to the internet (its fairly cheap – 6000 cedis/hr – about 65 cents US). I have basically spent all morning today trying to go through all my email from the last week and get most important works done. I have about 10 minutes to complete this post before I head home for lunch!

Few “first impressions” of Ghana.

1. From the moment I entered the international airport, it felt as if I had arrived in Nepal (although I must say the international airport in Accra is far more well managed than we have in KTM!)
Continue reading feels like home…