Friday, June 4, 2010

Arrived in Kumasi

Yesterday was a slow day to relax a bit. We did a bit of peer editing on each other’s assignments, had lunch at Chez Afrique, and had a lecture on the biology of Malaria. We had a lot of free time on our hands, so we took a taxi down to a tailor’s shop on the local main road so the girls could get measured for custom made dresses. They made me a pretty great offer to get a long-sleeve shirt made, so for roughly $20 American, I got myself measured, picked out a fabric, and come Tuesday, I’ll have a rockin’ new party shirt that’ll probably be the best-fitting piece of clothing I own. We took another taxi to Accra Mall to bum around a bit. On the way back, we were swarmed by cabbies which made it tough to bargain for a good rate, but we made it back to the hotel by dinner.

After eating, we called two more cabs to take us to Osu, a neighborhood in Accra with a good nightlife scene. We haggled for a good rate, then Mo and I went in opposite cars to make sure each taxi had at least one dude to two girls for safety’s sake. During the drive, Carrie got proposed to by a street vendor while we were stuck at a red light. Our cabbie told me where I could find the city’s best prostitutes, so I kindly gestured towards Carrie and Alyson and told him that I was pretty much OK, but thanks.

When we got to Osu, it was pretty clear we had no actual destination in mind. We almost got let out at a closed appliance store, but Mo came to the rescue and had his cabbie take us to a bar and pool hall that was actually pretty excellent. Shots were had and friends were made.

The shots that were had pretty much kicked our asses when we had to wake up at 545 for breakfast and our bus to the inland city of Kumasi, where I’m typing this now. Luckily, we had a nice big bus and we slept for most of the five-hour drive. Once here, we ate, had a lecture on Population Geography, and toured a museum for Ashanti Kings.

The lecturer was interested in waste disposal problems, so I got some more insight into the Ghanaian perspective on the issue. There’s a real lack of infrastructure here for refuse. Ghana needs organized collection procedures, treatment, and collection centers. I’ve seen probably about 5 trashbins since I’ve been here. Many Ghanaians don’t want to litter, but they really don’t have a choice. Given the health implications, this needs to be a development priority for the Ghanaian government.

 IMG_0658 These storm drains are meant for rain, but wind up being used for trash and human waste

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