BootsnAll Travel Network


Akwaaba means welcome, and that’s how we feel in Accra, Ghana.  We don’t have home internet access yet, so we haven’t been able to update the blog till now.  I’ll catch you up by reporting on the past week in this post. 

We arrived on the evening of Sept. 28.  It was warm and humid, very similar to an August evening in DC.  A man with a sign met us and drove us to our new house.  There, our social sponsor met us.  She was assigned to help us get settled.  She made us some soup and delicious coconut-pecan-chocolate chip bar cookies, bought some basic groceries for us and showed us around the house.

Shortly after she left, Dan’s officemate and office sponsor came by with her 2 well-behaved kids.  They offered help if we needed any.  Nice!  They also warned us of airplane noise because of our proximity to the airport.  We thought, no biggie, we’re used to all that noise from Glover Park’s proximity to National Airport.  But no, we didn’t realize how good we had it in DC!  Apparently there are no time restrictions on planes here, and the flights continue in the dead of night.  The volume of the plane engines seems considerably louder here as well.

On the 29th Dan started work.  Friday is African shirt day at the office, but Dan doesn’t have one yet.  Maybe by next week.  Meanwhile the officemate’s husband showed me the neighborhood and introduced me to a few other spouses.  We had excellent cappuccino and croissants at Patisserie Vasili.

Later one of Dan’s coworkers (a Louisiana native) had a jambalaya party, to which we were invited.  Met some more welcoming and friendly people.

Over the weekend, our social sponsor brought us to 2 fancy supermarkets and a vegetable stand.  The supermarkets contain just about anything we might expect in a US supermarket, but the imported items are ridiculously expensive.  For example, a box of Kix cereal costs $10!  Fortunately, locally made staples such as bread and pasta are reasonably priced.

Went to another party, this time an Oktoberfest celebration.  Two parties in two days; not bad.  Met even more nice people.

Dan’s supervisor and his family invited us out to breakfast the next day.  His wife’s into beads (a kindred spirit!), so I look forward to spending more time with her and learning about Accra’s best bead markets.  The cutie kids eventually warmed up to us and told us about a recent trip they took.

They loaned us their second car, affectionately known as “Kwame the Love Bug” for the day.  We explored a totally different part of Accra with our next-door neighbor, J., another coworker of Dan’s.  We saw one of Accra’s landmarks, Independence Square, a Soviet-style concrete gathering area with large arch, totally devoid of human activity of any kind.  Odd because all the other parts of town seem to be full of people. Some street scenes:


out for a stroll

Ever wonder what happens to the clothes you donate to Goodwill?

your Goodwill donation

Drove into the Jamestown neighborhood, which has some colonial buildings and a lighthouse.  It’s a bit rundown, but we kept going anyway. 

hanging laundry

Soon we were driving alongside a beach that is used as a garbage dump.  The stench was nearly unbearable.  Past there was a bustling shanty town.  While we didn’t see any stray dogs, there were plenty of goats around, mainly baby goats for some reason.  A bystander asked us, “Where are you going?  Are you lost?”  I wonder why he thought we looked out of place.

One of the highlights of the past few days was an African dance class, organized by M.  We met M. back in DC; she was the friend of one of my coworkers who just found out I was going to Accra.  She happened to be in DC for a couple of days and invited us over.  The dance class was quite a workout!  Plenty of jumping and vigorous torso and arm movements.  A group of drummers played as we danced.  It was invigorating and nothing at all like any dance class I’ve ever been to before.  The instructor, a Ghanaian man, seemed surprised when we didn’t pick up each new step instantly.  Nevertheless, he urged us to come back next week.  I think I’ll be there.

Last night we went to a dinner party at the home of Dan’s boss.  It was a welcome to the newcomers, not just us, but also a few others.  It was lovely.

Today Dan went on a trip for work.  He’ll be back tomorrow.

I took my first Ghanaian taxi today to the nicest internet cafe in town.  That’s where I am now.  I’m really looking forward to getting internet at home, but I’m not sure when that will take place.

Lots of shop signs feature pictures instead of words, in case the passerby can’t read. Mama Sledge’s Hair Studio sign has images of a hairstyles, a brush and styling gel of some sort:

Mama Sledge

Our house is nice.  It’s brand new, 2 stories, with tile floors.  The kitchen is big, as is the living/dining area.  They are lending us a TV and VCR till ours gets here.  We have the Armed Forces Network (AFN), which includes lots of US tv shows of all sorts, such as Jeopardy, David Letterman, the Simpsons, Law & Order, Dancing with the Stars, CNN, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, etc.  It also includes some radio, so I’m able to listen to NPR.  Yay!  That makes a difference.

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One Response to “Akwaaba!”

  1. dorothy Says:

    wow, that sounds like a fabulous beginning! the dance class sounds fantastic.

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  3. Gatt Maffney Says:

    So did you buy the $10 box of Kix or not? You can’t just leave your audience hanging like that!

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  5. Sophie Says:

    Wow, you’ve hit the ground running — or dancing (more accurately)! Glad to hear Accra is treating you well. Looking forward to photos, too.

  6. Amy Says:

    Giselle, It’s great to hear you’re doing well! I was wondering how you & Dan were settling in. Can’t wait to read more.

  7. Posted from United States United States