Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A fallen vegetarian

January 19, 2007

Got up today at 10 o clock. Was sure everyone would have been up and out by then, but found Kate, Sam and Renee in the lobby of the hotel, along with Ato.

Sam went to the market, Ato took Kate to the hotel to swim and Renee and I went for breakfast at a strip mall across the street from the University of Ghana, which is just off a busy highway.

I ordered an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, which turned out contained sausage...I broke my vegetarian fast. I was so hungry and couldn't throw it away and order a new one. Lesser of two evils I suppose, huh, because the animal would have been killed in vain. Or is that just a rationalization!? :) Also had two cups of Nescafe!

We took a taxi back to the hotel and I packed to go to my new apartment. While I waited for Joseph (works for JHR) to pick me up, I sent an e-mail from the hostel Internet room. Heard news from Debra about my cat Isabel (Izzy's still being a territorial grump with Debra's cat Merlin).

Joseph arrived and we took a cab to the apartment, which is in a quiet area of the city near the US embassy and the United Nations Refugees office for West and Central Africa.

Our apartment is in a two-storey white building with an enclosed courtyard in the center of the building. There are palm trees and a little porch area in front of our apartment, which is on the first floor facing the courtyard. I foresee see early morning coffees and late-night chats on the little patio that has a table and three chairs. We have a one-room apartment (queen-size bed and bathroom) with an attached kitchen. We also have a TV that I can't figure out how to work yet! Damn...wanted to watch late-night Friday movies. Janet's not going to want me to watch them after she arrives. :)

After I arrived at my new place, fellow JHR participants Darryl and Eva showed up with Joseph. We then headed out on a walk to the waterfront. It didn't take long for us to leave the leafy, protected embassy area where our apartment is located, and down streets that led into a poor neighbourhood - open sewers along the sides of the road and rickety roadside stalls selling food, consumer goods...I have to learn to keep an eye on oncoming traffic and at the same time avoid stepping into the sewer gullies, which are three feet deep and filthy.

We went to Eva and Darryl's place, the home of the Volunteer Abroad program. I chatted with people there while Darryl and Eva got ready for Ato's birthday party (he was being honoured for turning 30). I met a couple from Alberta working just west of Accra (one in agriculture, one in forestry) and a woman from Vancouver who was traveling around the country doing educational seminars on preventing sexual assaults.

Before we went to Ato's party we went to a beach nearby their place. We drank a beer each and walked along the shore. After my experience yesterday it was so nice to breath clean ocean air. On our walk we met a woman who hosted an entertainment show on Metro TV, a popular local television station. She was a singer from New York but had African roots and thought it would be interesting to come here to get experience in TV. She was playing with a balloon when we met her. She was with a guy from Liberia, who sat on the sand and watched her dance.

After we left the beach we caught a cab to Ato's party at the Ghanaian Journalists Association. I drank many beers and even danced a bit, which would come as a surprise to anyone who knows me! The party was hosted by his radio station - Joy FM - and was sponsored by a wine company from South Africa that was trying to crack the market in Ghana.

- Mark

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