Hiplife blog: you look like Jesus

Egert writes a blog from Ghana. See what he’s doing there.

We made it to our new home in the town of Prestea around midnight and feeling quite tired, so the real first impressions and emotions came the next day.

Our new place really reminds me of staying with my grandma during summer vacation: you get your water from the well, the roosters wake you up in the morning… Well, actually no, the roosters don’t start crowing until about 05:30, what wakes you up is the non-stop advertisement and religious announcements that come from the speakers attached to the buildings from 5 a.m. until the end of the day. The locals set the volume on their radios on max to not hear any of that stuff, so the entire town is filled with music all day long.

An interesting observation – the locals generally go to sleep at 9 p.m. after which the town looks deserted. Everyone wakes up around five, I think that we, too, have already become accustomed to this routine. Why, you may ask? It’s already light outside early in the morning and the temperatures are cooler, it gets dark around 6 p.m. and electricity in the town is…what it is.

In our house, there’s me, then Joana, who is my tandem partner from Germany, and Nana, who is a local shoe merchant. Everyone has their own room and we share the kitchen and the washing room. Actually, we also share the house with some mice and lizards – outside, we have chickens and goats waiting for our leftover food.

Joana and I share a canister of water for washing ourselves and cooking. Usually, the families here have two canisters – one for men and one for women. Only the water from the men’s canister can be used for cooking. The one for women is only meant for washing, because women are supposedly dirtier.

Since our rooms looked a bit empty, we got to decorating our new home immediately. We built some new shelves for the kitchen, for washing the dishes and storing our pots and pans, we made ourselves places to put our clothes, cleaned up the roof and put up curtains in the washing room.

Here’s a quick tour of our new home (in Estonian). I’m occasinally out of the frame and the sound might be too quiet. Seeing as wifi isn’t really accessible here, there won’t be a lot of videos.

Prestea

I just read from an article that the roads in Prestea are one of the worst in Ghana, and really sometimes driving around here feels like a roller coaster. Then again, when the music is on and you jump in the rhythm, it can be quite awesome, not bad at all.

Smaller goldmines are situated in the middle of the city, so everything is quite dusty around here (if you go out with a white T-shirt, it will turn brown by the evening). Otherwise it is a small city like others here in Africa. Everywhere you go, someone offers you something, everyone is a small businessman. In a tight situation, everybody finally copes.

First time at the market

Being one of the few lighter-skinned people in a small town with 30 000 people, a lot of attention is guaranteed at first (it happens everywhere when you’re different, also in Estonia).

When we walk out of the door, the locals seem to be careful with us – they just gaze us from afar. I believe it will change in the weeks to come. On our way to the market, we sense looks and hear “bruni”, “white man” around us. One has to decide themselves whether or not to be disturbed by this. I’m not, because I know there’s no bad underlying meaning or negative historic background behind it.

Children’s reactions are the most sincere. The first comment I received from them, was “You look like Jesus”. It’s a pity of course, that Jesus automatically has to be a white man. Also, there’s an everyday choir singing “Sister Joana”, “Mr Egert”, because we are of such interest to them. English is the officialy language in Ghana, but among themselves, people speak the local dialect Mfantse and children start learning English only in school – so it is difficult for us to communicate with them.

At the market, you can find everyhting: meat, fish, fruit, vegetables. During the first week I didn’t want to experiment with food, which means that I have eaten rice with beans or peas the whole week. But I like going to the market, because then I can be sure that I will not give my money to someone anonymous, but instead the very people who have put effort into growing their goods – and they DO put a lot of effort into it.

Walking around the city, you can see a lot of American flag motif everywhere (clothing, interiors, houses). Seems that the Obama-vibe is still strong.

This weeks Hiplife song is Savyee – Love Forever (Banana)

#ghana-en