I’ve been in Tamale, Ghana for 15 days now. This is my first blog post since I’ve arrived, for several reasons. First, I haven’t had good internet access until now. Second, the website I use to blog, Weebly, blocks access from Ghana. Their explanation is that users in Ghana have set up a large number of fraudulent websites. Happily, however, since I was an existing user, Weebly was willing to make an exception for me so that my account could be accessed from Ghana.
Tamale is actually a lot like my hometown of Clarkston, WA. It is the center of a poor, rural agricultural area, and the town is about the same size as the Lewiston-Clarkston metro area. The air quality is bad, because most people burn their garbage. Religion is an important part of life. In Tamale, people speak of shopping in Accra with the same reverence Clarkstonians reserve for shopping in Spokane. Public transportation is much better in Tamale, though.
My life since I have been here has been a mix of surprisingly modern conveniences and a surprising number of challenges in obtaining and maintaining those conveniences. I arrived just as IPA was moving into a new office and a new house for its employees, which means that I am lucky to have really nice places to live and work, but I am also experiencing the glitches that come with moving. We still do not have internet at the office, and we just got our furniture delivered there. At the house, I have electricity, a western-style shower and toilet (I even have hot water!), a propane stove, and fans in three rooms. However, since I have been here, the toilet tank has overflowed twice, we have had the stove fixed four times, and the other day half of the electricity went out. (Literally—some lights worked, others didn’t; my fan would only go half speed, and one of the overhead lights was even on on one end and off on the other. Our place must have some interesting wiring.) The takeaway from all this is that in places like Ghana and Senegal, you can have a life very similar to what you might in the United States—it’s just a lot more trouble to get it.
I am only beginning to scratch the surface of Ghanaian culture, and I while the advent of internet is helping me to move forward with work, I still feel that I am just starting to get my feet wet. As my life here progresses, I hope to have a lot of interesting stories, observations, and insights for you. I miss you all, and I hope that you will keep in touch by email, Facebook, or replies to my blogs over the next two years!
I have worked in economic policy and research in Washington, D.C. and Ghana. My husband and I recently moved to Guyana, where I am working for the Ministry of Finance. I like riding motorcycle, outdoor sports, foreign currencies, capybaras, and having opinions.