quick update from the field…

Well, due to some problems in the field that required “modern” facility (electricity to charge laptop battery, first and foremost), I had to come to Wa, the capital of the Upper West region of Ghana from my survey community (just over an hour’s drive south from Wa on local transport). While at Wa, the best place to recharge the battery is obviously the internet cafe, and I’m making full use of this opportunity by posting this “update”. Well, I’m alive and well and enjoying the “village life” for the past week or so. We (my survey enumerator and I) have a room at a fairly decent house in the village, and the land-lady cooks pretty decent meals with the ingredients that we give her every day. Work is hard, especially counting trees on a hot day, but very enjoyable due to the hospitality of the villagers. Fried or boiled yam to eat in most of the farms where the farmers and busy harvesting maize or rice! I just wanted to mention two strange/funny things that happened today.

1. When I was at the internet cafe checking my email and charging my laptop battery, one man came in holding the base unit of a desktop computer. He came in to use internet with it, which I wouldn’t have imagined until he started arguing with the girl at the front desk because he wasn’t getting served while I was surfing the net with my nice white laptop. He asked if he was being punished because he came with that big thing while people with small laptops were being served well.

2. The second thing happened to me for the first time since coming to Ghana! My survey enumerator and I went to book a hotel room for the night as we couldn’t get a bus to go back to the village. Since we were just going to get a room to sleep for the night, we didn’t want to spend a lot on accommodation, instead we could just eat well, drink well tonight. However, as we asked the hotel receptionist to get us a room, he asked if it was for two men or for a man and a woman. We just laughed and said its for two men as we were standing just at the reception. He said we couldn’t have the same room both being men!! We asked the reason why, and he just showed us the list of rules set out by the tourism board about the guests in the hotels (I think it was Rule 6 which stated that a single room shall not be allocated to two grown up men!). We tried to argue that we were not the tourist and there was no problem in the village where we are staying in the same room. The receptionist didn’t agree with us of course. He could make at least double the amount for upholding this silly rule. We forgot to ask if its same for the women, i.e., if they don’t allocate one room for two adult female. We’ll ask when we go back to the hotel later tonight!!! Update on that to follow…may be in a couple of months time!!

2 thoughts on “quick update from the field…

  1. Dear Mr. Witt (& family), and rest of my blog readers…

    Hope things are going well for you all. Saw some lovely pictures on your blogspot (Mr. Witt’s I mean) yesterday (just back from the village). This time I didn’t even take my radio (which is permanently tuned onto BBC World Service) to the village, so it was a pretty technology-free living, except the mobile phone, which I managed to keep alive by not calling anyone or receiving unnecessary calls (see there is no electricity in the village, so it was very important to be frugal with the battery charge in one’s mobile!). Oh, and I had a GPS unit, so I could have let the world know my exact location(Β± 6 metres at the best reception areas) if I had wanted to πŸ™‚ I am back in the luxury of town (taking shower was one thing I missed the most, but had a really rough time going to the bush for toilet as there wasn’t a single facility in the village!). My daily cleaning included taking bath with a bucket of water that was fetched for me by my landlady or her daughter from a borehole some 500m away from the house. One thing I learnt in these two weeks is to use only my hands to pour water over my body and get cleaned with just a bucket of water (about 10 litres!)…as I said toilet was a big issue, and couldn’t deal with it for the first few days….I think it was more psychological than anything…I realised I’m like a cat…like one fixed place when it comes to toilet…but in the bush, one fixed place is not practical at all…so that made it even harder! Anyway, enough of my toilet issues…The work is going pretty well, and I’m back in town to supervise surveys in another community nearer to town, where I can commute from home everyday, so no more of village-living for at least two weeks…well, I have to rush now to meet my survey administrators…more when I get back from work…ciao

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