Monday, June 01, 2009

Traffic in Accra

Reflecting on trip to Accra:

We awoke early the next morning at our cheap, run down hotel. Every little noise from the outside could be heard and as that meant lots of honking, it was difficult to sleep. The previous evening, after Raymond, his brother, Wisdom, and the driver, Alex had finished packing the car with the electric supplies that they purchased, we drove to get some dinner. By this time, we were all starving. We were met at the restaurant by David, one of Raymond’s friends whom I met last summer when Raymond and I had traveled to Accra for a graduation. He was one of the men who told me that he was going to marry me and as we stayed in Accra for a few days during that trip, he would constantly bug me about it. I was happy to hear that his wife had recently given birth to a healthy baby boy. David was not impressed with the fact that I had taken his email address and phone number last summer but had not been in contact with him. He gave me his information again and I promised him that I would stay in contact with him this time. While eating dinner, he told me about the NGO that he founded and runs in Accra. It is a medical NGO and as I was interested in it, he told me that I should plan a time to come visit him in Accra so he could take me to the office and possibly out into the field, where they do their work.

We checked out of the hotel and started our day earlier than planned. Our first mission was to return to one of the Barclay’s so that the girls could cash their traveler’s checks. They had planned on departing for Cape Coast the previous day but as we were unsuccessful in changing their checks and due to the fact that they had very little money on them, they stayed the night in Accra with us. We headed off to another shop to purchase the supplies for the windows which we were unable to purchase the previous night. It took quite a long time to figure everything out and get the tro tro over to the shop so that it could be loaded with window supplies, toilets, locks, and shower heads. After spending the whole morning and early afternoon at this shop, we stopped at a market. It wasn’t exactly what we were thinking of when we asked if we could stop at a supermarket but I was finally able to get some body wash and shampoo. I had been living out of a few little bottles that I had brought from home. I was unsuccessful in getting conditioner so I am still working on that one. We ate lunch and then got into the tro tro to take Hannah and Kayla to the tro tro station where they could catch a tro tro to Cape Coast. We first had to battle the traffic and all of the vendors who stand in the middle of the road and sell their products. You can literally and physically window shop while sitting in traffic. People were selling everything from pure water (water in little bags) to phone credits to books to grapes, apples, oranges, and other fruits to dvd cleaner to cds and dvds to mentos to pk gum to super glue to hand towels and handkerchiefs to ice cream to newspapers and cold sodas. The people selling these items carry boxes or baskets full of the item on their heads waiting for drivers and passengers stopped in traffic to purchase their goods. Often, they will come up to your window and try to get you to buy their item. They stand in between the street lanes, dodging cars at times and running to cars with people who look interested/ people who call out that they want a certain item.

No comments: