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So, it’s Christmas time but you couldn’t tell here, it’s my first Christmas I can remember in a hot country and the first in a Muslim dominated city.
No decorations, no lights, no Christmas carols and no materialistic messages being forced down my throat. The temperature sits at around 30 degrees and the winds for the Sahara blow the heat and dust towards us.
Until recently I hadn’t even heard Christmas carols, but a few have come out on the radio in the tro-tro or colleague’s office in the past week. I get a few merry Christmas now and have been invited to a few parties buy my Christian friends. One of my colleagues is having a cow slaughtered and was disappointed that I couldn’t come and enjoy the meat.
When I explain that back home we have traditional foods that we eat, like turkey and stuffing, and ask them what they eat I generally get a bemused look and the answer “we eat whatever we want”.
We had our work “Christmas party” but it was more an end of year meeting with people giving feedback on the year and any suggestions to improve the way things are run. I wish I could video one of our meetings; they are like nothing back home and very hard to describe. Humour is an active part and many comments are met with their desired result, which is laughter. Analogies are usually funny ones and stories and sayings are usually sparkling word play, they are something you just must experience. I ate very well on rice and beef (they made sure to tell us it was beef because that is a real treat here) and drank a few bottles of pop. I said no to beer but realised I shouldn’t have as I watched Madame Director down two large Star beers. I got best wishes and safe travels and was told that they were all looking forward to a new year.
My colleagues are great, and I think I have been lucky in this respect. Madame Director is an amazing woman. She is smart and funny, and I would guess that she is in her 50s but even, so she will still run to help me when I am carrying a monitor (I must refuse her help in the strongest most polite way I know. She is very supportive and understanding and I couldn’t ask for a more inviting director here. The second person who I would like to mention is Peter, he used to be a Circuit Supervisor but unfortunately due to health reasons he could not continue so he has been moved to another post. He is friendly, knowledgeable and a great laugh. I have had pito at his house many times and know if I every have a question about language or way things are in Ghana he will gladly help me.
This will probably be my last post this year. I will head down to Kumasi on Sunday to spend a few nights at Lake Bosumtwi, the largest natural lake in Ghana. Then I will go to Aidan’s house in Koforidua. We had planned a Christmas party here but were not sure how many will attend. The guest list is at 17 now, in a house that has beds for 8 people, should be interesting. It will be great through getting to spend the holiday time with my friends.
After Christmas a group of us are going to Benin for New Years and then making our way back through Togo before coming home. So, I will hopefully have lots of stories to tell you.
So, to all my friends and family around the globe I miss you all. I hope the holiday season finds you happy and leaves you with an even bigger smile.