I woke up the next day to the aftermath of the storm. The water was out. I wasn’t prepared for life without running water, but I overcame this minor obstacle. I headed off to a nice hair salon to get my hair done. After 2 and 1/2 short hours, my hair was done in Kinky Twists. I realized that I didn’t quite describe how I wanted my hair done and so I didn’t get exactly what I wanted (thus, I took them out the next week). Thankfully, the timing and the cost was minor so as I didn’t feel I wasted my money.
After the salon, I headed to an African restaurant a short distance from the salon. We probably could have walked, but we hailed a cab. It is amazing how often we got into cabs with drivers who said they knew where a place was, but didn’t. It then became a game of u-turns and reversals. I didn’t stray too far from what I knew at the restaurant: kebabs, fried yams (french fries), and jollof rice. Beside each table was a wash bin since a lot of the food is eaten with the hands. I managed to order something that could be eaten with a knife and fork. I refuse to use chop sticks so the probability that I would eat food with my hand is slim to none. Fortunately, my friend gave me flatware at every meal.
Thereafter, we headed to find the Ghanian version of Oxford Street. Oxford Street is an extremely busy street in London. I avoid it as much as I can. It’s just a sea of people and way too many retailers crammed on the street. We found the Ghanian version, without realizing we found it, and shortly left (again the negotiating was too much for me to handle).
We hopped in the 4th taxi cab of the day to the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Museum. I knew a lot about Nkrumah since he was a graduate of Lincoln University where I did my undergraduate studies. The indoctrination freshman year was extremely programmatic; from singing the school and black national anthem at every function to regurgitating all of the famous almuni. I would highly recommend a trip to the museum for anyone visiting Accra. The outdoor part of the museum was actually the draw. The land had fountains, benches, nice foliage, outdoor posts with facts, pictures, and my most favorite – a circular installation of all the books he wrote. I was unaware of the great body of work he produced. After he led Ghana to independence from the British, he was overturn by a military coup some years later. The week I visited Ghana marked the 45th anniversary of the coup. So, a lot of the news media was focused on his legacy.
From the museum, we took a short walk to Independence Square which sits at the gate of the Atlantic Ocean. The area is host to festivals and celebrations in Ghana. I read online that the place is guarded by soldiers who prevent people from taking pictures. While there, I did notice several soldiers who were harrassing a young boy for walking around the beach in a bikini bottom and chasing girls. However, as I was taking pictures, a soldier called out to us. He said it was ok to take pictures and wished me well on my trip. However, I can’t deny that I was slightly scared. The view of the ocean was magnificent. There were a few men playing soccer on the beach, there were no hotels or boardwalks obstructing the view.
My feet began hurting (flip flips are not walking shoes) and the heat unbearable. So, we took the long taxi ride home (the 5th of the day). Upon arriving home, we were greeted with no electricity. I thought it was because of the storm, but I was told that there are often rolling blackouts across Ghana. According to Wikipedia:
“Rolling blackouts are a common or even a normal daily event in many developing countries where electricity generation capacity is underfunded or infrastructure is poorly managed. Rolling blackouts in developed countries are rare because demand is accurately forecast, adequate infrastructure investment is scheduled and networks well managed; such events are considered an unacceptable failure to plan and can cause significant political damage to responsible governments. In well managed under-capacity systems blackouts are scheduled in advance and advertised to allow people to work around them but in most cases they happen without warning, typically whenever the transmission frequency falls below the ‘safe’ limit.”
Can you say California?