So, I have a serious problem. And it is food. I either eat the exact same meal a day or am too afraid to try cooking. I am ridiculously frugal here and I hate spending money on food. I would rather save it for fabric or Accra. Whatever it is, I am not eating well.
So, Friday I went to Techiman to check out the market. I had an incredibly productive day in Techiman. I got my paycheck, got some answers from the bank, I mailed a package without waiting in a line or without hassle. I went to the market and had fun buying batik. I found some really unique patterns, I am extremely excited about them! They are already with my tailor. Well except for one. I decided I am going to make a bedspread. One side will be batik with a plain border, the other will be scraps – either from my clothes or from Accra. Either way, it is going to be gorgeous. Anyway, so after I had too much fun with batik – I went into the market for some veggies. I stocked up on salad, giant cucumbers, JALAPENOS!!!, lemons (first time I have seen them in Ghana and they look funny), yellow onions, kontomire (which is better spinach), and green peppers. I then headed to my friends at the cold store and bought 20 sausages. I hauled it all home and shoved it in the fridge.
Saturday was awesome, I spent the whole day playing the Sims and just relaxing. I was a total bum and it was perfect. Then the power went out at 7:30pm. Normally if it goes out around 8, it will be back in an hour. Well, after an hour it didn’t come back. So I went to sleep and when I woke up – still out. Shit. So, I was a good girl and did my laundry. By 9am it was still out and I was hungry. The only problem was – all my food was in the fridge. I didn’t have anything out to cook with. That is anything with protein. So I had the boy in my compound go buy me some eggs. But, I didn’t get those for a while – so for breakfast, I had a heaping bowl of popcorn. By 1pm I was getting pretty frustrated and hungry, so I made some eggs and ate peanut butter with a spoon. I was really upset because Sunday is my productive day – that’s when the compound is quiet and I can get lots of work done. Unfortunately all the work I needed to do was on my laptop. So, the only thing I could do all Sunday was read and sleep – which I did. I started to get really paranoid about my food in the fridge though. I bought the food only Friday and now it was going to be all spoiled?! That was a week’s pay! I was extremely upset. I started sobbing and panicking. Surely this was a sign that Ghana didn’t want me to cook.
I sat around for probably an hour trying to calm down and figure out what to do. I decided that I better start eating. So I did the horrid task of eating my fridge before it could spoil. I pulled out almost everything and started cooking. I ended up making a really good meal, but it was so painful to throw away my money. We make so little here, it felt so wasteful. I ended up giving most of it to my family in the compound. I felt the sausages though and they were still pretty cold, so I decided to keep them. I just put frozen water satchets on top of them and prayed to every god out there. Throwing away perfectly good, newly purchased food felt like I was ripping my soul in two. It was simply miserable.
So, I ended up steaming the kontomire (spinach) and mixing it with laughing cow cheese to make cheesy spinach filling. I then made ravioli pasta from scratch, filled them, and boiled those suckers up. I had leftover pasta sauce that I used for the sauce. I had some salad and two sausages. It was a giant meal. I made the ravioli a little big – there where about the size of my hand. I used every pot and pan in my kitchen. Water was also out – perfect storm, so I couldn’t easily clean the mess. And my kitchen really was a mess. So, I did what any good Peace Corps Volunteer would do – I bribed the boy in my house with candy and 3cd (about $1.50) to scrub my kitchen for me. Child labor! Yay! Totally worth it, that place was a mess and heaven knows how much I HATE dishes.
The kicker? While I was cooking, the power came back on. I knew instantly because I heard my fridge kick back on – which somehow sounds like a helicopter. Oh yes, and while I was cooking the neighbors behind me were playing music on a cell phone – the same song on full blast for no kidding 40 minutes. I am surprised I have any hair left. The kids were screaming bloody murder too. I am never having children…Anyway, I had steaming hot kontomire in my hands and I went outside and danced the “LIGHTS ON!” dance. The sense of relief that washes over you when the lights come back on is unbelievable. I equate it to winning the lottery. Suddenly, everything in your life is better. You instantly forget the hours you spent sobbing and praying to the electricity gods to ease your pain.
I wish my life didn’t revolve around food as much. I don’t want to even tell you the amount of time I spend thinking about bacon and cheese. Most people are probably thinking sex sex sex work sex money money sex internet money sex. My brain is more like this bacon bacon bacon cheese cheese money money work work work work bacon cheese sex? money bacon bacon cheese pizza burger chocolate chocolate. It is incredible what happens to you when you are deprived of something.
Yesterday, I felt so hopeless, alone, and sad. I was hungry, bored, and pissed off. It was the first day since I arrived in Ghana that I actually thought “I just want to go home.” Thank god the power came back on. I’m crossing my fingers that it stays on. I need to work today! Water is back on too, for the time being – better quickly take a freezing cold, stop your heart, make you scream bloody murder cold shower while I can.