23.07.2012 - 26.07.2012 25 °C
In the past few days I’ve had a chance to experience a few of the city’s craziest, most chaotic places.
On Tuesday, Emmanuel, Lina, and I decided to visit the Arts Centre, a big craft market by the water, to buy all our souvenirs and presents. My friend Richard gave us directions for getting there by trotro, and it all started out smoothly, but of course didn’t stay that way. At one point during our trotro ride everyone started yelling at the driver in Twi, many people got off, and a few people got on with bags and bags of rice. No one told us what was happening, but soon the driver told us to get off, as we were at the last stop. Richard had said to take the trotro to the last stop and we’d be there, but when we got it out, it was very obvious we were nowhere near the Arts Centre. We asked a few people, got some vague directions and started walking through what I later realized was Makola Market, Accra’s busiest, craziest market. The streets were jammed with cars, taxis, trotros, and motorbikes; the sidewalks filled with stalls and stalls of everything you could ever want to buy. People were pushing past us, walking in all directions, others grabbing us and trying to sell us things. It was exhausting, fighting through this madness, and walking a block took us almost 20 minutes. After a few wrong turns, asking several more people for directions, we finally arrived at the Arts Centre. But it wasn’t a relief - hassle in the Arts Centre is probably the worst in all of Accra, and at every turn we were accosted by stall owners begging us to come inside and take a look, sometimes shoving products into our hands in an effort to force us to buy them.
We managed to fight our way through, and found some good deals, but we unanimously agreed to pay a bit more to take a taxi back home.
Wednesday Lina and I had to brave the Ghanaian hospital system. She’s been feeling sick for awhile and it’s not going away, so we decided that she should see a doctor. We left work at 12 and made our way to a clinic at a hospital not far from where we’re staying. Then the waiting began - we had to wait at reception, then wait while they made her a hospital ID card, then wait to pay a registration fee, then wait for them to make her a hospital file, then wait to see a doctor, then wait at the lab. It took almost six hours (which honestly isn’t much worse than a walk-in clinic at home!) and thankfully today she‘s feeling better so we don‘t have to go back.
Work at the centre has been going very well this week. Monday Lina and I demonstrated some positive teaching techniques, and on Tuesday a few of the staff pulled us aside to ask more questions about it. Wednesday we demonstrated a different way to teach a concept that the children were struggling with, and the response from the staff was so enthusiastic! It’s great to see them motivated to make changes, and Lina and I feel that we’ve given them a few things that they’ll be able to use once we’re gone. We’ve decided to stick with training the staff in one classroom the whole time we’re here, so that we can make sure the staff in that classroom feel really confident about what we’ve taught them, and we can empower them to teach it to the staff in the other classrooms. It’s so encouraging, we’ll leave feeling like we’ve at least made a small difference for the centre!
This weekend we’re headed up the coast to Cape Coast and Kakum National Park for one last weekend here before I go back!