Madamfo ( my friend in twi)
This post is solely dedicated to some of the typical and cool things I get to experience in Ghana.
First off, I know I often reference "taking a trotro", which I realize most of you may not know what that is. Even I didn't know exactly what a trotro was until I got to Ghana. A troro in a nutshell is the cheapest form of transportation to get across town and the country during the day time. It is the shape of a van and has one sliding door that most of the times is held up by a rope. The inside of the trotro has bench seats with the one on the right side being a foldable chair so that people can manage there way out of the trotro. The trotro has a driver and the mate, the mate is responsible for opening the door, calling out the destination (ex. Accra, Accra Accra, or Ci-Ci-Circle) and to collect the money inside the trotro when the vehicle is in motion. A trotro to my favorite vegetable market cost about 40 peswas, which is about 25 cents. The only issue that comes up with a trotro is that you definitely have to fight for a spot sometimes which people do push each other and practically climb on top of each other to get on. Also as a young white female it is particularly unsafe to travel at night due to theft and the possibility of the trotro breaking down. Overall I would say it's one of the greatest daily encounters I have and I would take one any day over a taxi. The people are so friendly and you always have great access to the street vendors who come up to the window to sell their yummy treats and odd products.
TroTro in Motion!
The second thing I would love to share with you is what I drink my water from. Now you may be wondering why does this matter, or what's so special about the water but from my opinion I think it is very cool! Water purity is very important here in Ghana and even with the purified water I have to be careful of what parasites may be lingering around waiting to have a party in my intestines.
When I first arrived to Ghana, we were told drink the bottle water for at least a month, slowly ween yourself to bagged water, never drink tap water and only buy these five brands. The constant reminders we got during orientation showed me just how important it is here (even for the locals) to be drinking purified water by known name brands. Well I obviously have been here for over a month and I am now officially hooked on the fun that comes with drinking bagged water. Basically it is a water sachet that has just as much water as a normal bottle and cost about 10 peswas. How it works is that either you a) buy it on the street on top of a women's head :) or b) buy a huge bag with 30 sachets in it, costing me a whopping 1.50 cedi. Once receiving this fun bag of water, you rip of a corner with your teeth, spit it out, and drink away. The nice inconvenience about it, is that by not being able to close it off and save it for later, I generally end up drinking it all very fast, which helps me stay very hydrated. To make sure that I am drinking genuine purified water, I will only drink the brand IcePak as I once made the mistake of drinking a brand that was known to be purified but tasted like it had a dash of dirt in it, so I spit it out and watered the plants with it.
Another very exciting perk is that this morning Julia and I woke up to running water in Volta which is a first in three weeks. We have had the water turned on occasionally to fill the poly tanks (water storage unit) but then it would be turned off later in the day. However today it's been on all day long and the polytanks aren't even being filled up which is good sign.
Kebabs, eye! Meat is a huge part of the Ghanaian diet and it is a constant shocker to my next door neighbors when they see us making a salad every night. It can be really difficult to eat healthy here because the diet is primarily meat, rice, plantains and yams, which believe me are quite good. However I have been mainly eating all the great tasting vegetables from the market and have practically adopted a vegetarian diet. Yet almost every where I go there are these great smelling kebab stands, that have a variety of meat kebabs for one cedi each. I have generally avoided them all together as I have been afraid of the sanitary issues at most of them, where international students frequently get sick from. Yet last week I was walking by one stand on campus that was a part of one of the living halls and I decided why not I shall try one and see how it goes. I ordered one beef/onion kebab and had it covered in the spicy local seasoning. Let me tell you it was delicious, spicy and after a week I am still not sick, so I think I found my spot if I ever need a little protein fix, as peanut butter can only do so much.
For all you spice heads out there who can always go for an extra burn on your food, I have found the sauce for you! One of the food staples here are yams, either boiled or fried, they are typically eaten with meat, sauces, rice, basically whatever you desire. My all time favorite combination is fried yams and peppe! Peppe could be described as the spicy salsa in Mexican restaurants that is in a purified consistency. It requires a Ghanian cookware that is similar to a mortar and pestle, you place these green and red vibrant peppers in the bowl mash them up, then add chopped onion and mash it up, then add seedless fresh tomato and mash it up, a dash of salt and you are in for one spicy addicting treat.
I made it for the first time last night with my Ghanaian friend, John, and my neighbor, Nana and Fredrika, they laughed at me for saying my mouth was on fire where to them it was pretty mild. What I love most about this sauce is that when eaten with fried yams or sweet potatoes, it creates the perfect spicy/sweet combination. It is very universal as I am now using it as my homemade hot sauce for pretty much everything I have made. I love it so much and for anyone interested in trying it I will be more then happy to make you some when I come back to the States.
Also I found a coffee shop that is absolutely adorable! And as many of you know I am a coffee addict so I was quite happy when I heard about the shop and the surprisingly good drinks they have!
A sip of heaven!
Seeing this sign for the first time made me double check that I wasn't dreaming!
Well these are just a few things that I wanted to share and I would love to answer any questions or explanations of the things I mention or have not mentioned in my blog. Please don't hesitate to use the comment section below to ask any questions. I believe you can comment without an account, if not you can log in using several different email, social networking accounts you may have. Plus it would be fun to see who all is out there and to thank you for following me in this great experience.
*****Commenting on Post: It has been brought to my attention that my blog has not been allowing comments, I changed my settings so that anyone can comment anonymously. In order to see the comment box you have to click on the blog title link at the top of the post. For example, at the top of this post click on the title, "Madamfo ( my friend in Twi)" then it should take you to a direct link of the post where at the bottom, you will find a comment box and select your preferred title.