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#9 Ups and downs

Dust Road
Oh for tarmac


Phil water

Phil football 2

Phil football 1

Phil football
Never Clean
Many days it feels like camping. The house is tiled throughout but the floor is never clean. One day I spent hours mopping and changing the water regularly and it was ok for a few days until the dust seeped back in through the doors and windows. The road that leads to the house is a dust road and lorries carrying water and building materials regularly whip the sand up and the wind does the rest.

Our clothes absorb dust like a sponge and are dunked in a bucket almost every day to produce dark, nutritious dirt-water for the garden plants. A wet flannel rubbed over my neck and shins after the end of a schoolday and PE lessons reveals a layer of grime. So I have to shower but water is sometimes sparse – we still have no way of knowing when the polytank that sits on a concrete tower is getting empty. I have learnt to shave from a plastic cup and wash from a bucket. No water goes down the sink but is poured on the garden. Washing crocks is only done in hot water when pasta has been cooked using what’s left in the pan.

But we still live in luxury compared to some of our neighbours and even more so since last week when we had 3 air conditioning units installed. But of course, nothing can be taken for granted here, and sure enough our intermittent electricity supply means they consistently underperform. Also much footwear is totally ruined, all our socks need chucking, my netbook is broken and the tv is particularly rubbish

Yet these hindrances are now mere minors on the grand irritation scale of life when compared with washing clothes. On our day off, every Friday morning, Heather bosses me around and I am simply not awake for it. Far too often it has meant collecting buckets of collected rainwater from the yard and filling up a twin-tub toploader that reminds me of a female or two from church in Lowestoft. Some clothes need scrubbing and then more water is needed for rinsing. It all takes far too long and there are towels and sheets and even the bathroom mats sometimes.

The boxes still haven’t arrived. From what I can gather the whole container was seized on suspicion of carrying drugs. The container is sitting in Tema Port and the authorities will not release our boxes until the matter is cleared up. The business responsible for the container have apparently been cleared of any charges but now lack the finance to get the container out of the port. Every day it sits there, more interest is charged and the whole thing is rather a mess. The boxes are full of all the sports gear and books and stationery we collected in Lowestoft from people. There is also our personal stuff such as a nice TV and Monopoly, crockery, tools, fans and things I’ve just plain forgot

Offsetting the irritations are handfuls of delights. Marina Shopping Mall has been discovered and, although it’s quite a distance away with lots of traffic, it has imported wine at UK prices, some lagers, real coffee, McVities Digestives and Bounty and Mars bars for 40 pence each. Yesterday Heather and I took an hour and a half to get there using a couple of tro-tros at a cost of about £1 each. Upstairs was a KFC (just arrived in Ghana – there are no McDonalds).

This morning I played football – church guys versus the school team. Overall the “red beetroot” performed reasonably well, offloading the ball quickly and nonchalantly nutmegging a student. He also lasted the entire game once again and played in central midfield on the minefield of stones, potholes and dust. The pitch is the same size as Chelsea FC. Sadly the footwear of some of the students was appalling: they played with gaping holes in the soles and rips along the lining. I’d like to do something about that if possible – maybe get some Lowestoft footballers to donate some of their old trainers sitting in their garage?

Finally, although the temperatures remain constantly in the early 30s, there are many fresh breezes passing through our windows. Also we are able to do so much more now in the heat than when we first arrived and it seems we can eat whatever we like and not put on weight – which can’t be bad.

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