My Ghana Days, by Suzanne

View from my house to Ashesi campus, on the second hill just
to the right of the middle of the picture – photo taken 5pm-ish

Sane view,photo taken around 6:45am
People (well, o.k., my Mom and my husband) have been asking about my days here this visit.  I’m here about 6 weeks, staying at the faculty house about a 10 minute drive from Ashesi, outside the village of Berekuso 60+ minutes north of Accra (it’s actually not very far at all, but the road is bad so you can’t go very fast).  So here’s one of my typical days: wake at 6am with the sun (and sometimes my phone alarm), make my tea (in an electric kettle if there’s power, more often the old fashioned way on the stove), take my shower (if no power, then it’s kind of like standing under a trickle, but it’s surprisingly effective), get dressed, get picked by Nina the Ashesi Chief Librarian around 7am, into work by about 7:10.  Most mornings Ashesi’s campus, which is on the top of a hill, is within a cloud, so it’s pretty cool (literally and figuratively) to drive into the cloud each morning.  My class is at 8:30 so I have just enough time to finalize what I will do that day without stressing too much, drop readings off at the library for scanning, etc. I either eat at home with my tea or if I’m running late bring a cliff bar and eat at my desk while prepping. Class runs 8:30 to 11:40 (1/2 lecture, then a break, then lab), then I head back to my office for a few minutes, sort myself out, post the powerpoint I just used and links, etc., then maybe check email briefly before I head to lunch.  Trying to keep up with my first-world email here is tough, the quantity is tremendous – another thing I hadn’t noticed so much in the always-connected fast internet world of the States.  Since I really only have about 5 hours a day of internet and I spend 1 hour of it eating lunch, and at least 3 hours prepping for the next day, getting through email often doesn’t happen in any given day.  So, very sorry if I haven’t responded to an email you sent – I haven’t been on Facebook either L.   Hopefully I’ll catch up.
Lunch is a wonderful spot in my day.  Ashesi is such a close-knit community that mostly people don’t “go to lunch” with each other – you just wander over to the canteen when you’re hungry and free, order and pick up your food, and then sit with whoever is there and visit with them.  Or if no one else is there or if their table is already full, you just start a new table and someone will be along to join you soon enough.  I really like it because I get to chat with just about everybody without having to make “appointments”.  The food at the canteen is great, also – good Ghanaian cooking, usually three choices and two sizes each.  The Ghanaian diet it heavy on the starch (rice or yam or fufu or banku or kenke or plantain), the full portion is too much for me of the starch especially, so I have started doing what many of the American or Europeans do at the Ashesi canteen – order the smaller portion and then pay for an extra order of meat – meat is more of a condiment here, so even with the extra portion of meat you get, for example, about one small chicken drumstick.  But it works well for me, so I am somewhat hungry but not very for dinner. 
My office is the leftmost you can see on the top –
maybe you can tell my door is open
Ashesi courtyard view from my office, looking towards other
offices to the right and classrooms & labs straight across
The afternoon is mostly spent doing whatever absolutely needs to be done for the next day, then if I am catching a ride with Nina again I need to leave at 4:45, which means that at about 4:30 I start logging out of the courseware (Moodle) system, closing my files, shutting down my laptop, packing my backpack, running to the Ashesi convenience store to buy the water I need for the night, etc., to be in the parking lot around 4:45.   I can usually see Nina walk by so I know when I need to dash out.  This week I have stayed late a few nights and caught a ride with someone else, to have another 30-60 min or so of light and internet.  But if I ride with Nina then I get home in time to accompany Nana on her nightly walk.  Nana stays at the faculty house most days during the week, but returns to her house outside of Accra for the weekends.  At home, Nana and I (and maybe others if they’re around) mostly cut up some fruit (mango, pineapple, banana) for dinner and supplement with a little something else – she made a pudding dessert one night, we got some leftovers from a friend from work one night, we have had cheese and crackers a few nights, or even just avocado and crackers.  We have a nice leisurely dinner, we chat for awhile, then we do the dishes and wander off to work some, then go to bed.  That’s about it! 
Most weekends I’ll travel at least some – the first weekend to the beach one night then with the Jackson’s in Accra one night.  The next weekend I’ll go into Accra Saturday night – it’s Ken’s graduation from Lincoln (where my kids went to school and where Fox graduated from).  And of course, church on Sunday!  It was FANTASTIC being back at Asbury-Dunwell last week, I can’t wait to go again!
Suzanne at Anomabo, one of our favorite beaches
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