Friday, July 10, 2009
Small town living and large city life
We went to several towns this day but this village Abompe was very special. We met with two women pictured here. We are trying to find a way for them to make a lucrative business with the rock from the ground under their village. They are hopeful to find a way to make a business for themselves. We brought the kids suckers and they went wild! It was really cute. Kids came running from everywhere. Kids even went to get other kids and brought back their siblings, etc. Ursula, a friend of Kate's went with us. She teased the kids and made it very fun. I cannot speak their language which is called Twi said "Tree". They also speak English in Ghana but I can tell they are more comfortable speaking Twi.
I got up from our meeting with the women to take a photo. The kids figured out I was taking pictures and ran to get in front of the camera, waving their arms and jumping up and down. I told them to wait and I would photograph them. I took some photos and more kids would come. After I took a bunch I realized they might not know I can see the picture right away. I told them to come and I turned the camera around. They went wild. It was really fun and as I type this their untouched nature brings tears to my eyes. The are very beautiful children.
This is Ursula to the right, Kate sits across from her. They are talking to the artisans.
So you can see, I am very little help in the communication process. My strength is choosing product. We've visited four shops/situations where the product has been well beyond my expectation and the people we have dealt with exceptional and they are working with the poor as artisans. Kate, Ursula and I make fun of each other for getting too into the buying. Actually, it is generally Kate and Ursula laughing at me because I get into this process. Trust me when I say I have served Kate well in the buying portion of this trip. Choosing quantities, saying no to akwardly chested female statue made from wood. They laugh and say, "Americans wouldn't buy that?" Then I tell them, "Not our target customer." Then they laugh harder.
What I've seen
I've encountered a shepherd herding his cows backward down the highway. I feel grateful Kate took me to the country yesterday because I had a constant diesel sore throat. WOW, pollution from cars is no joke here. 10 goats running single file on a path next to the highway. Chickens and their babies running around together.
Accra looks a bit like a constant State Fair. Cars parked tightly on grassy areas wherever they can. Booths everywhere with things for sale. People in the middle of the streets selling products, giant, heavy baskets, boxes, wooden pieces on their head. These people are strong and determined. I don't think Kate and I lack for finding ambition and talent from Ghana. I suspect Kate knew this.
Respect is regarded highly in this culture. Especially with elders. At Abompe when dealing with the kids they "Listened to me." At the market today the people mobbed me and pushed and poked at me to come and look at their booth. It was hard for me.
Ghana is a cash based society. This means they pre-pay for everything.
-Cell phone minutes
-Electricity, you run out it shuts off
-You cannot afford to buy a house outright so you start having one built and stop when you have no more money. It might take a family 20 years to build a house. So consequently there are raw house structures all over the place. If I didn't have someone to ask I might deduce this is a place that is growing rapidly because of the development all around. The only thing which is strange to me is these homes are very large, equal to an American suburban home-maybe 2,000 sq ft and why don't they go for a smaller floor plan so they can finish sooner. I am speculating that the cinder blocks are inexpensive but it is the finishing that is costly because this is where most homes are stuck in the process.
I will leave you with this...I was riding through a smaller city and there is a product called "Blue Band". It looks like the equivalent to peanut butter. Blue Band's add boasts "70% fat spread."
Me Dasse (Thank you) for reading!