It Goes to Eleven

It’s hard to believe it has been 8 days since my birthday already. It feels like just yesterday I was standing at the station in Techiman, waiting to board my final bus to Accra. I didn’t expect my service to end this way. I never expected anything that happened to me during my service. But I did expect these final moments to be a mix of emotions. In just eleven days I’ll board a plane bound for Germany. My service will be over. It already feels over though. I no longer have a site. I no longer have attachment. I’m just ready to go home.

For the past week, I’ve been a robot. I’ve had to forget my emotions and set aside my beliefs. I became numb to everything. The days passed by and I didn’t even realize it. I’m tired. My bones ache. I long for a sofa. I long for a bed that my feet don’t dangle off the edge. I long for home. Home is no longer here. Home is America. Home is my family. Home is so close, but still so far away. I’m ready.

I said my goodbyes to my community. Today I said goodbye to my favorite batik lady in all of Ghana – Auntie Esther. She surprised me with a gift too. I felt humbled and loved. In the coming week, I’ll say goodbye to my Peace Corps friends. And I’ll be heartbroken. They have been there for me through the many many difficult times I’ve endured. I’ve listened to them cry. I’ve listened to them rant. They’ve heard me scream. They’ve heard me laugh. We’ve been to hell and back together and that’s something no one will understand. Now it is time to return to my friends who’ve waited patiently for my return, for my friends that supported me even though I could never fully explain what has happened here. I hope they will still recognize me underneath the plethora of freckles and African fabrics.

Life will never be the same.

Last night I attended a cultural event that was fantastic. One of the most powerful moments of the night came from a famous Ghanaian singer. She didn’t sing, she told her story. She told the story of a famous woman being denied the privilege of singing the National Anthem at a World Cup match because some Ministers, big men, said a woman was a bad omen. At this point, she couldn’t even continue telling her story. It was too raw and too emotional for her. To have the honor of being the first woman to sing the National Anthem at such a big event and then watching it slip away from you because some men think they know what’s best. Her story seemed simple on the surface. It seemed typical to me. But it stirred something in me. It reminded me of the injustice I’ve dealt with being a woman in Ghana. It reminded me of the times I had to work twice as hard to get even a shred of respect, because I was a woman. It reminded me of the times I wasn’t taken seriously because I was a woman. It reminded me of all the times someone treated me like I wasn’t good enough. It reminded me of the fear I’ve experienced living here. The fear I still carry with me.

Her story made me reflect on my service and the challenges I’ve faced. And I came to one conclusion:
I’m strong.

Despite everything, I’m still here. I’m going to finish my service. I’m going to get the hole punched in my ID that proves I’m now an RPCV. No one can tell me I’m not worthy. That I’m not capable. I’m not good enough.

Africa has shown me that hidden beneath this freckly white skin, I’m really a sassy black woman.
And I’m damn proud of it.

The Good Old Days

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” As I sit here vacillating between excitement over going home and sadness about saying goodbye, I remember all the stories of my service. When will I have an opportunity like this again? When will I be able to experience such highs and such lows? As I heard that quote from my favorite show, the Office, tonight I shed a tear. I’m in the good old days. I’m in those memories of adventure. I want to go home, but I don’t want this to end. I don’t want to give up my dream job working on my dream project doing things that matter. I don’t want to say goodbye to my best friend. And I surely don’t want to give up this amazing healthcare. Yes, there are things I will not miss like strange tropical diseases and being covered in filth after a 100km ride in a totally unsafe vehicle. But there are things I will always look back fondly on, that I will carry with me like a badge of honor.

Here are some of my favorite memories:

Just this past week, I attended the African Cashew Alliance World Cashew Conference. Also in attendance at this event was the Chairman of the Wenchi Cashew Association. I didn’t know he was going to be there and when I found his name on the list I instantly broke into cold sweats and I felt myself close up. Suddenly, all the bad memories from my old site came flooding back and I thought I would have a panic attack. Then I saw a white truck and I thought I would just crumble into pieces. Instead of succumbing to my fears, I decided to become a secret agent and do everything possible to avoid him at all costs. I actually had fun suddenly finding hidden alcoves and learning to spin quickly on my heel and duck behind a plant when I saw him. Despite me seeing him, he never saw me. I became a master of hiding and camouflage. I went the entire week without him even recognizing me. I’m very proud of my sneakiness and ability to overcome my fears.

And over a year ago, I remember so vividly hearing the news that the President of Ghana had died. I was in Richie’s tiny village. We stood on a rock with the phone in the air trying to get service so we could verify the villager’s claims on the internet. The next day was full of such craziness that I still can’t even believe what happened. We walked through 5ft tall grass looking for the sacred hole, sacrificed for the ancestors, drank spirits in their honor, and found wild orchids. I will never forget singing Lion King songs on the way back and showing up in town to find the entire place dancing. We literally emerged from the bush and danced our way through town. Apparently, the villagers still remember me for that very reason.

I remember the Fourth of July in 2012. We didn’t have a grill for our steaks, so we improvised and purchased burglar wire. We broke a set of pliers shaping the wire into a grill that would fit over two coal pots.

I remember my initial site visit when Sam came to meet me. He talked to me about the SAP project and set me up for an amazing next two years.

I remember the first Peace Corps party I went to. While many parts are fuzzy, I still remember dancing into the wee hours of the night and returning around 4am. I remember the fence was locked and someone scaling it to unlock it, despite the fact that we didn’t have a key.

I remember the look my Tess’s face when she saw me crawling to the bathroom for the umpteenth time during the last part of my typhoid. It still cracks me up.

I remember opening the door at Richie’s house to find an entire gaggle of students who should be in class, instead they were delivering us a chameleon.

I remember sitting on the hard concrete ground looking for shooting stars with my Ghanaian family.

I remember rolling through town with my Ghanaian brother and Richie screaming Kwabena at every guy we saw.

I remember standing on my rickety table thinking “oh god this is bad news” and hearing the table crack in two. I still remember the slow and gradual fall as I grabbed for the rope hoping that 1mm of flimsy rope would save me.

I remember sitting at the table with my expats eating something delicious with their new neighbor. I turned to him and asked where he was from. I will never forget the shock on my face when he said Oklahoma.

I remember my first trip to Accra, I thought my stomach wasn’t going to make it as I bumped along the Kumasi Accra road. I didn’t care how terrible I felt, I made a beeline for the closest supermarket where I proceeded to purchase 20cd of cheese and ate it all immediately.

How could I forget the countless dance parties that started on a whim? Or the moments with Richie? Or friends who have come and gone. Or the lessons learned, mainly the hard way?

I’ve had quite the adventure and I wish it wouldn’t end. I’m in the good ole days. I’m here. And I’m going to leave soon, but until then I’m going to soak up as much good as I can.

Well At Least the Concrete Broke My Fall

To say my life is ridiculous would be an understatement. The past few months have been crazy, what with being evacuated from site, landlord/housing debacles, and now this. I’m pretty sure the last PCV to live in this house cursed it prior to leaving. That is the only rational explanation for my spectacular first full day at my new site. No welcome home is complete without a trip to the ER, right?

Saturday started like any normal day. I woke up to the sweet sound of silence and the harmattan tinged red rays of the sun. Wait, that’s not true, I woke up because my new little kitten decided to go spastic, jumping and pouncing over every surface of my body. After a couple of time out tosses from the bed, I finally succumb to his wishes and get up. At which point, he decides he wants to go nap in the corner. Typical.

I decided to mentally map out my day: paint, shop, watch a movie, unpack, play with cat. In that order. So while it was still relatively cool outside I gathered my paint can and prepared to paint. I have only four walls and I was only planning on painting three. So I set to work painting, dancing, and trying to avoid stepping on my cat (who naturally was sitting right between my legs the entire time). In order to get the top part of the wall, I had to step on my small table. Eventually once I had made my way to the final wall, the guy that lives behind me decided to come over, grab the paint brush, and finish for me. Whatever. He stood on the table the entire time though. Just painting the hell out of my wall.

After all three walls are expertly painted and my eyes have started to burn from the fumes, I hop into the shower area. I take a well deserved bucket bath, making sure to scrub the hell out of my body. I needed to attack the paint, sweat, and cat scratches off my body. I get dressed, throw on a dress, grab my shopping list and make my way to town. My first adventure into my new town as my town. First things first, I head to a good chop bar for some delicious banku. After I stuff myself with two balls of banku, three things of chicken, and a heap of groundnut soup, I head to the batik section of the Techiman market.

It’s curtain shopping time! I find three different batik patterns that look fabulous together and happily buy them. I then head over to a tailor and have the batik made into fabulous curtains of fabulousness. I go on to buy other things, including nails, a broom, plastic buckets, copious amounts of toilet paper, all the stuff you need to move in. Afterwards, I head home laden down with goods.

I spent the afternoon looking at my stuff, thinking about watching some movies, and obsessing over my curtains. I hang up the rope for my curtains and hammer the nails in with my lock (I didn’t have a hammer…). The curtains aren’t perfect, but I let them be. I come back about 30 minutes later and I can’t stand the thought of my curtains not being perfect. So I get back on my table and I start adjusting the curtains. Suddenly I feel myself losing my balance and I hear a very audible crack underneath me. I grab for the rope, but feel it snap in my hands. The table is slowly falling backwards with my body being ejected from the table top. I land square on my tailbone with my legs on top of the side of the table. I’m still wearing a dress and my legs are spread open for the entire neighborhood to see what Obruni panties look like. Because only I would fall that ridiculously. The first thing I do is realize I can’t move. Then I realize that’s a problem. I start screaming “HELP! HELP!” until I realize no one near me speaks English. So I just start making weird noises to get someone’s attention. Finally after what seems like forever, someone comes over to pull me up. They don’t speak English, but I kept telling them “no, I can’t move.” After another bout of forever, someone comes who does speak English and he picks me up and puts me on my bed. The landlady rushes over and starts pounding on my back, attempting in a very weird fashion to violently massage the pain away. I’m crying and in serious agony. I say the one thing I know she will understand “cell phone.” She finds it and gives it to me.

I dial for the PCMO, even though I know it is a Saturday. No answer. I try again. No answer. I try again. Still nothing. So I called the next person I could think of who would be able to help – the PCV in charge of the Kumasi office. She calls in the troops and about 5 minutes later the PCMO calls me. He tells me to get to the Holy Family Hospital in Techiman.

Oh god no. I have to go to the village hospital in Ghana? Oh god, oh god. This isn’t happening. The landlady and her son? call for a taxi and about 10 minutes later they hobble me over to the car. It takes me 3 minutes just to sit down. The taxi driver decides to drive like a maniac and take the only damn road in Techiman that has speedbumps. We are in a Daewoo. The bottom of the car is approximately 2 inches off the ground. Every time we went over a speedbump I thought my life was over. I felt like someone was smashing my rear with a frying pan. It took everything not to burst into tears every few seconds.

Finally we get to the hospital and they help me out of the car. The second I get out of the car with assistance I hear an eruption of cheers. I still don’t know where they were coming from, but hiding somewhere within the courtyard of the Holy Family Hospital a crowd of Ghanaians was cheering for the lame ass white girl. They were probably laughing at me, but in my disabled state I took it as encouragement. Semantics really. They heave me over to the ER which tells me, no go get registered in the other building. So we hobble over the other way. They set me down at the window for registration. The seat was a slated wood bench which was quite possibly the least inviting seat I’ve ever seen in my life. Sitting down was like sitting on a bed of hot coals – excruciating and unpleasant. I burst into tears upon sitting down and the man at the window starts asking me questions. The PCMO was calling me every few minutes, so I was answering question after question. Finally the window man asks me for my telephone number (right after he asked me which Christian denomination I was, that was awkward!). I told it to him, but he didn’t understand me. I suddenly started to feel queasy and like I might pass out. He asked me for my phone number again and I couldn’t for the life of me remember it. I kept saying numbers out loud and hoping they were correct. A group of interested onlookers stared at me like I was an even weirder white girl who couldn’t string 10 numbers together.

After I yelled incoherent numbers at the man for an adequate amount of time, they hauled me over to the triage unit. I honestly don’t know if that’s what it was, but that’s what I’m calling it because it sounds cool. I really should know these things, I did hospital advertising. Anyway, a man has me stand on a scale to weigh me. That didn’t go so well. The man told me to stand on the scale, then walked away to chat with his buddy about soccer or something. Here I am wobbling on a scale, barely able to stand up, and this guy is chatting it up? After a good 30 seconds of standing on the scale, my landlady and her son catch me as I fall backwards, very close to passing out. They sit me down in the chair to get my blood pressure checked.

I am not even exaggerating when I say the man took my BP no less than 10 times. He checked it first 5 times and then asked me if I was feeling dizzy. No shit Sherlock, did you watch me fall off the scale? Then he kept checking it like he was a med student on drugs who thought it would be fun to listen to my arm make cool noises. Finally he sends me on my way and I’m dragged over to the ER again. They sit me down, this time in evil metal chairs, and have me wait for what I don’t know. The PCMO is freaking out because I haven’t been seen yet and damnit, white girl needs attention! I’m not going to lie, sometimes I like getting special treatment because I’m a different color. Sometimes I get a better seat in the taxi, skip the bank line, or get my food faster. But this time, when I really wanted special treatment, they were not giving it. I sat and waited in line like everyone else. And honestly, despite the pain I was in, I appreciated the art of the queue. Lines are there for a reason, to keep things orderly and organized. I truly treasure queues, especially when they are followed. So, despite the PCMO calling in favors, hustling up the nursing staff, and calling friends who work at the hospital, I waited in line just like the rest of the incredibly ill folks.

So let me paint a picture of what a Ghanaian ER looks like for you. For starters, there was the smell. It didn’t smell like anything, which is actually rare in Ghana. Upon entering the ER, to the left there was three hospital beds sitting right next to the waiting chairs. Each bed was occupied with an ill woman. The women were hooked up to IVs and looked downright despondent. The lady closest to me just stared at me the entire time I was there. I never saw her move, which was really creepy. Heaven knows if she was really there. The chairs faced the hospital rooms which were very small and had two beds in them each. Each bed had at least 5 people on it, only one person was the patient. Everyone had family there feeding them, bathing them, or otherwise taking care of them. The nurses station was to the right and there were 3 women manning the station. I watched as they started to give an IV hookup to a woman, but she forgot something. So the nurse just left the needle in the woman’s hand, facing the traffic flow, and got up to raid the cabinent for something she needed. She took a good 2 minutes to find what she needed before heading back to attend to the woman. The lady sitting next to me was clearly very sick and was being assisted by 4 family members. One person to keep her head up. One person to give her water (despite the IV drip) and one person to bark orders at the nurses. Everyone needs an order barker, I had one (my landlady). The woman was about my age and she wasn’t responding to anything. She sat there like a vegetable unable to keep her own head from falling to the side. I wasn’t sure what was wrong with her, but I knew I didn’t want it.

Finally they call me up to the nurses station for more BP taking. I notice a nice pool of blood on the floor and on the table from the last lady. (By the way, there were no men in the ER – the only one was the doctor – no patients.) Despite my addled pain brain, I point to the blood, give the most disdainful “I don’t think so” look I can give and wait for the nurse to clean the place up before I sit down. While they look my BP another 3 times I sat there repeating the mantra “please no IV” over and over in my head. All they needed was my BP. Now, I didn’t notice this until after the nurse attended to me, but up until this point not a single person had asked me what happened or why I was there. I found that very curious.

So after another 10 minutes, the doctor finally calls me into his office. He asks me what I did and what hurts. I tell him about falling on my ass and he barely listens. He writes down in my little book in the worst scribble imaginable something about something. He tells me I need an XRay, prescribes some pain pills, and sends me on my way. I was in the office for a total of about 1 minute. Most of which was spent watching him write in my book. The XRay technician wasn’t there though, because it was a Saturday so they spent a good 20 minutes calling every number possible trying to find the guy.

The landlady and her son leave me to collect my pills. I sat in silence as I waited for the Xray technician to show up. Do you have any idea how painful it is to sit on a hard, metal chair for over an hour alone with really sick people when your ass feels like the bones have been ripped to shreds? It felt amazing…I sat there and just watched people stricken with tropical diseases be attended to by the nurses. They didn’t have enough room for this one lady so they just dragged over a curtain and put her behind it in the waiting area. I watched as old women who would barely move pissed in buckets next to their beds. A family member would promptly grab it and go wash it out. The women would then slowly roll back over covering themselves with their two yards. I felt like the entire world was moving around me, like I was stuck in a time warp watching life pass in front of me. Then the XRay technician showed up and they hobbled me down the corridor. Once I was almost there someone came over to offer me a wheelchair. Seriously? Where were you like oh, say 2 hours ago?

We get to the XRay room and I was surprised at how medical it looked. I mean it looked like a real XRay machine, a real medical room, and professional. The XRay technician had at least one drink earlier in the day, that much was obvious. He began asking me a series of questions while the landlady (who speaks NO ENGLISH) looked on.
Tech: “Do you have buttons?”
Me: “No.”
Tech: “You have zipper?”
Me: “No.”
Tech: “How did you get dress on then?”
Me: “What?”
Tech: “Underwear – it have buttons?”
Me: “Ummm, no.”
Tech: “Do you have waaast beaaads?”
Me: “Huh?”
Tech: starts patting down my sides and stomach area. “waist beads?”
Me: “Oh, no.”
The tech then looks at the landlady and then back to me in pure disbelief. He points at the machine and tells me to lay down. Great, more painful metal tables. It took me at least 2 minutes to just lay down from a sitting position. He pokes around for my belly button and then adjusts the table. He doesn’t put any lead apron on me, just casually slinks over to his bunker and pushes a button. I feel my insides cooking and growing cancer cells. After a quick XRay development he puts the image up to the light and then starts pointing at random places around my hip. Oh god, I shattered my hip! The landlady walks over lifts up my dress looks underneath and says something to the doctor.

I ask the doctor if he wants me to change into the dressing gown. He agrees so I hop off the table (hop meaning take 5 minutes to labor myself off the table) and head over the salon style doors to change into something a little more comfortable. The landlady follows me and helps me undress. Oh hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but can you help me get naked? So not only have I just met this woman today, but now she has seen exactly what my pasty white ass looks like. Surprise! It’s white. Time for round two. Another trip onto the table, more inside cooking, and image developing.

I redress and head back outside XRay in hand. Honestly it was pretty quick. Much faster than all my XRays in America have gone. And by that I mean the one I had when I was like 14. We go back to the waiting area for I don’t know what. I notice that the landlady has a vial in her hand with my name on it. Oh no. Oh god. WHAT IS THAT? She hands it to the nurse and the nurse takes a saber to the top of the vial. Slices it right off. She pulls out a needle, turns to me and gives me a fantastic show of exactly how you put meds into a needle. She squeezes it for fun and I watch as out spurts liquid horror. I put out my arm and turn my head to the side. Oh no, she says, come with me. I follow her a few feet to a door.

She opens the door and I notice it is basically a cupboard. Inside are two broken chairs, a few deserted sandals, a dirty towel, and various other odds and ends. She tells me, I’m going to put the medicine directly into your butt to make the pain go away. I protest saying that needle your holding is pain itself. What makes you think this won’t hurt more. She says – oh it will. Then she says the one thing I will always remember, “now don’t scream like a small girl.” She lifts up my skirt, pulls down my panties, and I brace for impact. Of course I let out a small gasp/scream. She just jabbed a needle in my butt cheek. How do you not react to that?

And that was it, all finished. I was free to go. I was confused though, doesn’t the doctor have to look at the XRay – shouldn’t someone evaluate it? Nope, not necessary, he will look at it Monday. WHAT? They lead me outside to get a taxi and I call the PCMO. Apparently the XRay technician has already spoken to the PCMO and told him that I don’t have any broken bones. Oh, well then. When was someone going to tell me that? I demand fufu from my neighbors and they pick up the necessary goods to make it along the way home.

I get home and look at the time, I was only there for about 2 and a half hours. Not bad for a trip to the ER. I chug down the pain meds, eat my fufu in peace, and get another call from the PCMO. They want me down in Accra for further evaluation. So someone will come and pick me up, since I can’t ride in a tro, and I will be flown down to Accra.

Word of my demise spread fast, especially since Becky (Kumasi office PCVL) and the PCMO called every single Volunteer nearby to come to my aid. My best friend wasn’t able to come help me, but honestly I was okay. I had two Ghanaians babying me and I just really needed food and to lay down. Food would be easy enough to mooch, plus I had crackers and Chocodelight. If I were a doctor I would prescribe that for all patients, except those with diabetes, because that would be negligent. I kinda forgot about breakfast though and didn’t realize pain meds would make me ravenous. So when PC came to pick me up Sunday I was close to eating my arm. Luckily, since I had just moved in I still had a packed bag with freshly washed clothes. Ridiculously convenient. I gave instructions to the neighbors for feeding my cat and was whisked away to my awaiting plane, two hours away. First stop, rice and chicken. Jollof and fried chicken never tasted better.

I rambled in my half delusional for the entirety of the trip to the airport. Becky and Tess waited with me at the airport until I could check into my flight. Then I waited for another 45 minutes to board. Finally I went through security which was a joke, although they did have me take out my laptop. Finally, it was time to board my flight. To say I was excited would be a bit of an understatement. Despite being in incredible pain, I had always wondered how magical it would be to fly within Ghana. To avoid all those potholes. To just skip over the two hours of hellish road that leads to Accra. To spend less than an hour travelling when normally it takes 5-8 hours. But then I had to walk to the plane. The plane was parked a fair distance away on the tarmac. I hobbled over to the plane like a geriatric hip replacement patient. I was carrying my backpack (couldn’t even get it on my back), my XRay, and my handbag. I finally made it to the plane and then had to ascend the steep stairs into the plane. The flight attendant looked at me like I was insane, why on earth would a fresh, young person be walking like that? I make it to my seat, sit down and assess my surroundings. I’M ON A PLANE! HOLY SHIT. There was even first class. First class for a flight that I soon found out would take 35 minutes. I still shake my head in disbelief at the people who pay for first class on an inner country flight for a country the size of Oregon.

We take off and down come the TVs – in flight entertainment. Then come the drinks. Is this the real life? I’m flabbergasted. We arrive in Accra a few minutes later and I suddenly realize I’m not in Kansas anymore. And by Kansas I mean Kumasi. And by Kumasi I mean under the effects of the Harmattan. Accra was about 90 degrees with 90% humidity. It felt like walking into a swamp with a parka on. I walk over to the exit and right there is a beautiful white mega SUV with the Peace Corps logo on it, waiting to take me to the office. I felt like I was on a different planet. I felt like one of those expats who come to Africa with 30 suitcases full of fine clothes and powerbars. Once I realized how high up the seat was and how difficult it was going to be actually getting in the car, the dream like state washed away and I remembered exactly why I was there.

The driver tore through the streets of Accra with poise and very little bumps, thank god. The PCMO was there waiting for me at the office (on a Sunday evening! I love the PCMO!). The first thing I said to the PCMO was “so we meet again…” So, we have two newish PCMOs, one female from Turkmenistan and one male from Ghana. I’ve spent more time with the male one and I was glad he was on duty. I like his sense of humor, he probably thinks all PCVs are all walking time bombs. I just so happen to blow up fairly frequently. And he gives me some medicine and I’m reassembled. See I have this thing for disdain, I love disdain. I’ve been told I have three modes – disdainful, extremely disdainful, and bitchy. The male PCMO has a very subtle current of disdain as well and because I’m attuned to disdain wavelengths, I can pick up on it very easily. That’s why we get along. I know that when he sees me, hears from me, or reads my text messages he is probably rolling his eyes wondering “what now…” And that’s not a bad thing, because honestly I think that myself too. WHAT NOW BODY? what now. So rolling up in the Peace Corps vehicle, hobbling out, and saying “so we meet again” was probably the most James Bond villain I’ll ever get in my life. Another thing I can check off my bucket list.

He took my vitals, let me ramble on about how evil tables are, and told me I needed an MRI. WHATTTT? I thought MRIs were just for brain scans and cancer. Turns out they are just super magical tools for looking inside your body without having to grab a scalpel. That evening I went over to a PC staff’s house and had dinner with a few other volunteers. Do you have any idea how wonderful real burritos with mango salsa, homemade guacamole, beef, and cheese taste when your body is trying to tell you your ass isn’t welcome here anymore? They taste wonderful. Oh and Cherry Coke. Sometimes I forget how fantastic it is to be an American, with access to food, glorious food. I’m just kidding I think about food all the time, who am I kidding. Ground beef really does a lot for your spirit though, let me tell you. So after a hardy meal, I was happy to pass out and await my MLK day MRI.

The PCMO went with me to arrange the MRI, they told us to come back in 45 minutes so I begged them to let me find something to eat. We drove around looking for food on the street, but unlike all the other towns in Ghana, Accra is hoity toity and it is harder to find street food. Finally we get to a place with egg sandwiches and I happily eat the most delicious breakfast ever. Back to the MRI place and they have me change into a dressing gown. I go inside and I’m very happy that it is an open MRI. I have to use stairs to get on the table, which again takes me a ludicrous amount of time to get on. They position me so that my arms are above my head, a pillow is under my knees, and a plastic contraption is encasing my hips. They were very kind and put a thick blanket over my legs – so thoughtful, it was cold in there! I can’t move for thirty minutes so I drift into a state of day dreaming. I couldn’t actually fall asleep because the sound of the MRI was far too interesting and loud to allow for sleep. I had a brain MRI once and that was loud as hell, this one was much more soothing. In fact it reminded me of Close Encounters of the Third Kind which is one of my favorite movies. I spent the thirty minutes thinking of things I wanted to do but now couldn’t because I was a gimp. Damnit. It only took 10 minutes though for the pain in my hips and ass to become insanely painful. All the pressure in my legs was being forced into the parts that hurt. Somehow I mentally pushed through the pain (didn’t take a painkiller that morning) and accepted my fate. The mind really is rather powerful. After thirty minutes the MRI was finished and we went on our merry way. The results didn’t come back until Tuesday late afternoon and they were in doctor lingo. The PCMO needed time to translate them, so I came back Wednesday. Luckily, it was nothing serious or sinister as the PCMO pointed out. It did say though that I had bulging discs in my tailbone. Two of them.

About 15 minutes prior to getting the results of my MRI I got an amazing care package from my dear colleagues at my old job. Inside were all the things a girl needs to feel better – trivia, ugly doctor photos, peanut M&Ms, hand sanitizer that smells good, a stress ball in the shape of a skull, cards, cheese whiz, and the greatest gift of all time. A coozie that says “That’s what she said.” So when I got the results of my MRI I giggled and thought about my lovely coozie and how much I would like a nice cold beer out of that coozie while I repeated the words – bulging discs.

My prescribed course of action? Take pain pills, take it easy, and no more standing on tables. Well there goes my career as a table dancer, damnit. So they kicked me out of the med unit and put me in a Peace Corps car going back north. It was me, another PCV, and two staff members squished into a stuffed car laden down with mail. We took the crappy road. It took 5.5 hours to get to Kumasi. My knuckles were white from clutching on to the hand thingy near the window. What are those things called anyway? Handle? No. I don’t know, anyway. Each speedbump, acceleration, brake, and swerve to avoid potholes was like a hot poker on my ass. My knee also got a bit of damage from my fall so sitting for that long was doing wonders for my knee too. I was so ready to just scream “LET ME OUT!” when I saw that we were only 15 minutes away from salvation. Then it started to rain. Seriously? Ghana, stop it.

I had taken a pain pill halfway through the ride and it kicked in at about that 15 minute mark. So by the time we got to the office I was white knuckled, white faced, starving (hadn’t eaten anything that day), and feeling the effects of the painkillers. There were a lot of people at the office for a meeting the next day and when I walked in it was like they all saw a ghost. I probably did look like shit, let’s be honest. I wasn’t really coherent either, luckily someone got me some food and I cuddled with my bestie. The pain was so great I couldn’t leave the next day. When I thought of sitting on a tro for another 2-3 hours over a speedbump infested road, I imagined sitting on top of a rodeo bull with spikes on his back.

And that’s basically what I got when I left Friday. The tro I got into filled pretty fast and I picked the back row next to the window, just in case I needed to puke. Who knows? So two ladies sit next to me and for once they were tiny. For the first time in history I didn’t touch the person sitting next to me on the tro. There was literally inches of space between us. It was spectacular. Well, until we started moving. Turns out the back seat hadn’t been bolted back in when they last took it out. So we were sitting on a seat that wasn’t exactly stable to say the least. Every time the driver accelerated, slowed down, went over a speedbump, or passed another car my entire row went sailing forward into the seats in front of us. The entire seat would lift off the ground and go forward. It wasn’t that bad on my rear though considering it wasn’t touching the seat half the time, since half the ride I was airborne. I was queasy with a pounding headache though the entire ride and my ass was still in serious pain. Normally I suffer through tros pretty easily. I’ve developed a hefty amount of patience in this country and I can occupy my time quite well. Well, my head hurt so I couldn’t listen to music. I didn’t even want to think because that would hurt my head more. The pain was radiating throughout my entire body, which clouded my mind even further. So I sat there and suffered in agony for two hours. And for probably only the second time in country, kept repeating in my mind “are we there yet?!” I’ve never been so happy to see the Techiman station. I promptly got a drop taxi and hustled my broke ass home.

My new goal was to stay in my new house for at least 48 hours without injury, a need to call the PCMO, or being run out of town by an evil arch-nemesis. Well it is now Thursday and I’m happy to say I made it so far through the week with only minor injury to myself. I tripped and almost fell into the most terrifying gutter in Ghana and that screwed up my back again, but luckily I rested and it felt better. My back/butt/hips still hurt like no one’s business but I’m able to carry on. I try to walk a decent distance everyday so as to keep my body from withering away, but I can’t otherwise exercise. So much for my resolution to do daily squats. My ass is doomed for all eternity to be big, broken, and legendary.

Hard to believe it has only been about 16 months in country. I’ve already experience enough for a lifetime. With every tumble I take, I continue to believe that Peace Corps has been the best decision I ever made. I can handle a lot more than I thought I was ever capable of withstanding. Except tables, apparently they can’t handle me.

But my curtains look great!

Bastards.

Two Dinners, a Washing Machine, and a Pool: or How I Spent My Thanksgiving in Ghana

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, hands down. It used to be Halloween when I was a kid, but Thanksgiving represents everything I love – food, spending time with family or friends, and the mindless slaughter of poultry. (Chicken tastes so much better here, mainly because every time I eat a bite I imagine the chickens behind my house keeling over.) I used to HATE Thanksgiving, because I hated turkey. My mom used to cook me a separate cornish hen IN ADDITION to the turkey on Thanksgiving. I was a tad bit ridiculous, but eventually I realized turkey tastes amazing and I shouldn’t be such a selfish, spoiled brat.

Let me go ahead and send a big “sorry” to my friends and family, who I did not talk to on Thanksgiving. Which is basically everyone. I was busy the entire day and just didn’t get a chance to phone. I’m truly sorry, I’ll make it up to you in two years (because I’ll still be here for Thanksgiving next year).

So here’s how my Thanksgiving went down. On Wednesday, I woke up incredibly early because I couldn’t sleep. Surprise, surprise. Around 6:30, I headed over to Techiman to give a session to the new Peace Corps Trainees on Business Literacy. I taught them all about Business Literacy in the exact way I teach my farmers, translator and all. I hope it was a good lesson for them, otherwise it would have been really painful to sit through. After my training I left for Accra. I hopped on a tro towards Kumasi and boiled in the sun for a good 20 minutes before we left. There was no breeze and it was probably 100 outside. I was slowly melting until we finally left. I was pretty lucky though, I got the front seat and I had really good leg room. Our driver was fast too and we made it to Kumasi around noon. I headed over to Asafo station to catch a VIP bus and my luck doubled. I stepped out of the taxi, walked over to the bus, was instantly seated (in the jump seat, again), and the bus left maybe 30 seconds later from the station. Fastest turnaround ever.

It rained along the way to Accra though, so obviously that slowed us down. Dear World, how do your people still not know what to do about rain? I mean rain has only been around for what a couple hundred million years? How is it possible that when humans see rain, they still freak out and have no idea how to function? Whatever, so the rain slowed us down a bit, but we finally made it to Accra. I was really excited at this point, because I wasn’t staying at the office this time. I got a homestay family from the Embassy!

Every year around Thanksgiving, American Embassy workers open their lovely mini-America homes to poor, starving, dirty Peace Corps Ghana Volunteers. They allow us to take 20 minute hot showers, sit in front of their Air Conditioning units, raid their fridges, and happily use their washer and dryer. And that’s exactly what I did. I got in around 7pm to my expat’s compound. I was afraid the security guards were going to question me, pat me down, and throw me out but after checking with my family they let me in. I walked just a few steps and then I was back in America. It was rather magical, like I was beamed back home. My expat family was fairly young, still in their 30s. They had a 5 month old Shih-Tzu named Pepe, and he was probably the cutest thing I’ve seen in this country. My expat family were both foodies, which means I was paired with the perfect couple. They also had an incredibly affinity for amazing red wine, which made me appreciate them so much more. For dinner we had salad (with dressing!), fried chicken, and french fries. For dessert? REAL Ice Cream. Butter pecan with homemade candied walnuts.

The next day instead of going and doing anything in the city, I just sat around the house and enjoyed being American. After all it was Thanksgiving. In the morning, me and the other PCV staying at my expat’s house went to the pool and I got to actually swim. I wasn’t just standing in the water, I actually swam around. Oh so enjoyable. That morning I also did a load of laundry in a machine with real detergent. I had completely forgotten what super clean fresh out of the dryer clothes felt like. I have to admit, I was incredibly shocked. It had been so long since I had felt something so soft. How could it be that soft? I’m still a little amazed, plus the clothes came out and they weren’t standing up by themselves. I’ll always enjoy machine washing clothes from now on in my life.

It isn’t Thanksgiving if I don’t get to help cook, so my family let me make the hummus. And I was actually impressed with myself, I made it from memory and didn’t use a recipe. I did get to use a blender though and what a difference it makes! Normally when I make hummus I soak the chickpeas overnight, boil them for an hour, and then manually mash them with a mortar and pestle for 2 hours. The blender was much faster. The hummus turned out excellent, if I do say so myself. I’m just glad I was able to help out. Being able to stay in a beautiful, giant, clean house with access to all these comforts from home was amazing, but I felt so guilty. They basically let us have/use anything in the house – including the liquor cabinet. It was incredibly generous of them and they definitely didn’t have to host Peace Corps Volunteers over a holiday. I tried my best to be helpful, at least to ease my conscience.

Oh I forgot something important, for breakfast on Thanksgiving I had cereal and turkey bacon. TURKEY BACON. Okay, so around 11 I started getting ready for party number 1. Thanksgiving at the Ambassador’s house. I washed my hair in hot water and then dried it with a blow dryer. The last time I personally used a hair dryer was in 2008. Over FOUR years ago. I slipped on my super amazing incredibly stunning Thanksgiving dress and did my makeup like no one’s business. Pop on the earrings and bracelets and we were in business, ready to roll. We cabbed it over to the Peace Corps office to meet up with some people before we headed over to Thanksgiving dinner/lunch. I had never been to the Ambassador’s before so I was pretty excited. We had a new Ambassador too, he had just arrived maybe 2 months ago. Turns out he too is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer – he did his service in Afghanistan!

Socialize, socialize, socialize, size everyone’s outfits up, take pictures, and free drinks. Good times. Food comes out and suddenly you remember what crowd you are in. A crowd of Peace Corps Volunteers who cry at the prospect of cheese, drool over pie, and will beat you up senselessly for the opportunity to eat something besides chicken or fish. So getting in line was a bit of a mad dash combined with a glaring eye brawl. If anyone even attempted to cut in line, I’m pretty sure a large group of people would have just shoved the person to the back of the line. We are so civilized.

When I saw ranch dressing I lost it. Turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, salad, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes – all of it I drenched in ranch, including the gravy. That’s what I like to call an Oklahoma Thanksgiving. I don’t know why I ate so much honestly, but my eyes tend to be bigger than my stomach. It doesn’t help that there is something still living in my stomach, not sure what, but I can’t eat near as much as I normally can. If I have an arch nemesis, his name would be whatever is living in my stomach – salmonella, a parasite, an ulcer – whatever the hell it is, because honestly we don’t know. Anyway, I got super full and had to loosen my waist belt just a bit. Then I ate pie. Pie, pie, pie pie pie.

It was fun seeing everyone all dressed up and getting to see everyone period. But honestly, it was a little overwhelming. So many PCVs in a somewhat small space. It didn’t really feel like Thanksgiving, probably because we were standing under fans and it was hot outside.  Also, there was something about it that just didn’t feel right. I think I was missing that family touch. The idea of sitting down to eat after having cooked all day. I’m still not sure what it was, but even sitting with my friends and having a good time – it still felt very contrived. Which lucky for me was remedied soon. My expat family was more than gracious and invited me to eat Thanksgiving dinner with them as well. They were hosting dinner at their house for about 10 people, which quickly morphed into 19, then settled to 14. So I had the option, go out partying and drinking with all the other Peace Corps Volunteers – or have a second Thanksgiving with Embassy workers. I chose the later. There was supposed to be at least 2 other PCVs joining me, but it ended up being just me.

At the Ambassador’s, we were joined by some Marines and unaccompanied Embassy workers. One of them just so happened to be going to my expat’s party, so they drove me back. We got back to my expat’s house and I’m so happy my family sort of put me to work. Now it was starting to feel like Thanksgiving. I lit the candles, put food on the table, cut up last minute veggies, and greeted people. Finally, a family Thanksgiving!

We sat down and the spread was impressive. Two turkeys, a ham, three stuffings, fresh cranberry relish, pumpkin lasagna with homemade noodles, homemade bread, two types of gravy, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, carrots, and more. The table was full to the brim. It was lovely. I was surrounded by expats, almost all of whom had been Peace Corps Volunteers. It was truly incredible. I loved talking to everyone and hearing about their jobs. I wasn’t able to eat much, but I tried. I definitely made room for some hot apple crisp though. After dinner and desserts, it was time for drinks. I tried some Crystal Skull/Head Vodka and was most impressed, especially after a year of drinking alcohol from plastic bags.

The next day was very low key and chill. In the evening I went to a cashew party hosted by ACi. Honestly, it was a bit boring – older Germans and lots of Ghanaians, plus high life music. It didn’t help that I was recovering from a non-hangover associated migraine. As I started to feel better, the high life music ramped up and the Ghanaians started dancing. I pulled out my best village moves and showed everyone how a white girl turned African dances. Turns out next door was having salsa dancing classes, so I bowed out early and headed over to learn some salsa! It was really fun, but man am I bad at formal dancing. It was the first time I had ever actually danced with someone formally. I’m going to need a lot of practice before I’m not a total buffoon.

So, my Thanksgiving was interesting, exciting, and a lovely taste of home away from home. Oh yeah and I looked utterly fabulous.

My Foodie Guide to Ghana

Are you looking for a good meal in Ghana? Well guess what? I love food. I’ll share with you some of my favorite places to eat just in case you find yourself hungry in West Africa. Consider this the Peace Corps Guide to Satisfying Most of Your Food Whims in Ghana.

Accra

The capital of Ghana. Accra is located on the coast, therefore fish tastes normal. The food is pricey (on a volunteer salary), but definitely worth it! You can get very authentic Indian food, cheesy pizza, salads, and of course – frog legs.

Price guide (does not include drinks, which in general in Accra is expensive – smuggle in a water satchet):
$ – between 0.50cd and 5cd; $$ – between 5cd and 15cd; $$$ – between 15cd and 30cd; $$$$ – more than 30cd

Pizza:
Mamma Mia!
$$$ Located in Osu, near Epos. Follow the street behind Citizen Kofi until you see the signs for Mamma Mia, turn obviously at the signs. The restaurant is located behind a tall wooden fence. The hours are pretty weird, so expect to only go for dinner during the week. I think it is closed on Mondays.

Mamma Mia is the place to go if you want an expensive, cheesy, brick oven pizza. The pizzas are pretty delicious and good sized. My personal favorite is the four cheese, but substituting mushrooms for whatever the other random thing is on it. The place gets really crowded at night, especially on the weekends.

Melting Moments
$$ Located in Labone, near Metro TV. Hours are from around 7:30am – 8pm? I’m just guessing, but it seems like that’s when they are open. They do deliver, but honestly it is more of a hassle than just going to get it.

The pizza at Melting Moments is currently 14cd and oh so worth it. The pizza selections are different and smothered in cheese. The crust is sweet, like most bread in this country, but still tasty. The sauce isn’t my favorite, but let’s be honest it is cheap, cheesy pizza that you can afford on a volunteer salary, therefore it is heavenly. If you want pizza, try Melting Moments.

Pizza Inn
$$$ Located in on the main road in Osu, 37, and the Accra Mall. Hours are lunchtime until about 8pm. Tuesdays are 2 for 1 pizza days.

Pizza Inn tastes like glorified cardboard. I’ve been told 37 is better than Osu location, but for the price, size, and overall quality, you are better served going to Mamma Mia or Melting Moments. Basically it tastes like bad airport pizza.

 

Cheeseburgers

Honeysuckle
$$$ Located in Osu, closer to Danquah circle across from the Police Headquarters. It is on the left side of the road as if you were walking toward Circle. I’m not sure about hours, but it is a bar – so expect dinner here.

I’ve never actually tried the burgers here, but I’ve been told they are good. So there you go, a pricey place in Osu to get a cheeseburger.

 

Ryan’s
$$-$$$ Located in a dark street back deep in Osu, it is best to grab a taxi here since it is kinda hard to find. Most taxi drivers know Ryan’s. Or at least they claim to.

Also never had a cheeseburger here, but it is an awesome Irish pub with a happy hour. Enough said.

 

Rhapsody’s
$$$-$$$$ Located at the Accra Mall. Hours are lunch and dinner, because seriously who is eating a cheeseburger for breakfast in Ghana?

Also never been here, but I’ve been told if you want a cheeeeeseburger (say it with a funny french accent), you need to go to Rhapsody’s. Rhapsody’s is a South African chain, which translates to – it is awesome. Burgers are around 20cd, but very filling. Good place to take a date, unless you are cheap.

Chinese

Tip-Top
$$$ Located in Osu on the right hand side of the main drag. Next to the Piccadilly Casino. Open around 11 – 9pm

Expensive Chinese food and smaller portions. The food is pretty good though and the selection is gigantic. Try some of the appetizers, they are pretty tasty. Also you can get lots of fried food here, which basically reminds me of home.

This one authentic place with a crazy name
$$$ Located near Container, on the left hand side of the street going towards Duplex. Really close to Container. Open for dinner (not sure about lunch)

There is a back room with a giant spinning table, which is a fantastic place to go when you are tipsy. The food is apparently really authentic according to a RPCV who used to live in China. Don’t expect to really know what you are ordering but the dumplings are killer!

 

Fried Noodle Place
$$ Located near Epos in the big screen hut. Open for dinner.

I can’t eat anything at this place, stupid allergies, but I’ve only heard good things. Fried noodles near a popular drinking spot. Seriously, what else do you need? Well there is the shwarma place there too, so if you need a shwarma, you can get that to eat with your noodles and beer tower.

 

Salads

Little India Sunshine Salad
$$$ Located in Osu, off the street right past the Total station. Across from Acrilex and near Auntie Esther’s. Open for lunch and dinner.

Prices here just skyrocketed, but the food is great. Huge selection of salads, sandwiches, wraps, and great appetizers. They have daily specials too, which are based on seasonal deliciousness. Portions are good sized. I love to get the wraps, which are around 19cd. The wraps are about a foot long, stuffed with yumminess, and come with a side salad and fries. Easy meal to share. My personal favorite is the chicken and hummus wrap. Because hummmmmus!

Barcelos
$$ Located in Osu at the end of the street behind Citizen Kofi, near Piccadilly Casino. Also in the Accra Mall. Lunch and dinner hours.

You can get chicken burgers, chicken pieces, and my favorite their chicken salad (but not chicken salad, just salad with chicken on it). The dressing is really good, the veggies are pilled high, good amount of grilled, pulled chicken, and olives! The salad is about 6cd, which is a real steal in Accra. It is a good way to appease the doctor’s orders to eat more things that have nutritional value. I highly recommend their salad if you are looking for a good, cheap meal prior to catching a movie at the Mall.

 

Indian

Tandoori
$$$ Located in Labone. Turn at the street right before Melting Moments and follow the street until you come to a little side street on your left. Look for the signs on the main street. Very easy to get to in Labone. Open after 5pm for dinner.

If you love Indian food, you will love Tandoori. They just updated their menu, which means higher prices, but this is another great place to share food. Try the lamb kormaa with garlic tandoor. If the menu says very spicy, they mean it, even by Ghana standards. The meals come with three different sauces, the mint one is great for adding flavor and toning down the spice. Rice doesn’t come with the sauces, you have to order it separately. Bring a friend or three and order two or three sauces, some rice, and two tandoors or naan. You will all leave happy and you get to split the bill! One of my favorite places to eat in Accra!

 

Ghanaian

Banku and tilapia
$$-$$$ Located right next to Duncans, which is past Frankies on a side street. They come out around 6pm until late.

If you want an authentic Ghanaian dish, which is loved by locals, you need to eat here. The banku is 1cd per ball, which is expensive and it isn’t the best actual banku (trust me I’m an expert). It is too smoky, but you aren’t coming here for the banku. You are coming for the whole package. You order your ginger crusted and stuffed grilled tilapia by the size. A smaller fish is still going to put you back about 12-15cd. Then you can decide if you want grilled veggies, which you do. When it finally comes out, it takes a while, you will be hungry and happy. Dip the banku in the peppe, get some grilled veggies, and pull out a piece of that succulent fish. You’ll be in heaven. Hands down my favorite place to go in Accra. If you are looking to save money split the fish, but be warned sharing is at your own risk.

 

Chop
$ Located near the Prison Headquarters before you get to Danquah Circle, look for the tents behind the wall on the left hand side. The ladies come out once the sun goes down.

You can get rice, banku, fufu, fried yams, and fruit here. Overall good food, if you are used to eating chop. Try the rice from the lady at the end. Average meal will cost about 3cd.

Samosas & Spring Rolls
$ Located across from Metro TV at the end of the chop area. The lady appears after 12pm, but your best best is to come after 12:30.

Delicious spring rolls and samosas are to be found here, and for cheap! You can get 3 spring rolls, some fried yams, and 3 samosas for under 5cd. If you miss fried food, take a trip here.

Maquis Tante Marie
$$$ Located at the Accra Mall and near the Peace Corps Office. Open for lunch and dinner.

I’ve never been here, again, but I have passed it many a time. I’ve been told that they have a big selection of typical Ghanaian meals at an expensive price. I’ve heard their palmnut soup is good though. Probably a good place to take family or friends visiting who want a restaurant version of Ghana.

 

Buffets

Okay, so I’m just going to put a short blurb here about this. I haven’t forked over the cash for this yet, but two of the nice hotels The Movenpick and Golden Tulip offer buffets. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also have buffets during special holidays. If you want a crapton of amazingly delicious food for a ridiculously expensive price, then go to the buffet. On a Volunteer budget the 30-60cd+ buffet is difficult to rationalize, but if you can get someone else to pay for it – DO IT.

 


Elsewhere in Ghana

 

Koforidua

Located in the Eastern region of Ghana, you can get to Kof in about 2-4 hours from Accra. Kof is worth a visit for its Thursday bead market, which is a great way to spend a little money on a lot of jewelry. Bracelets are about 1cd and you can easily get a necklace for 2-10cd. Earrings average around 1.50-3cd. Sorry got distracted by jewelry, back to the food.

On the main street in Kof near Melcoms and down an alleyway, you will find a two story chop bar that is fabulous. The building is white and the stairs are on the front side of the building. If you are looking for the place, you really need to just check all the side streets/alleys between Melcoms and the traffic light near the big painted building/market. There is a street meat guy next to the chop bar. Go upstairs and prepare yourself.
The food is cheap even for chop standards, you can get a ball of banku for under .50cd. I highly recommend getting banku and peppe. The peppe is green and tastes remarkably like salsa verde. Get a couple hard boiled eggs and you can eat very well for under 2cd.

 

Kumasi

You go to Kumasi to get everywhere else. Kumasi is the best place on Earth to test your will, patience, and ability to dodge fast moving people with large objects on their heads. Walking through town is like playing a giant game of frogger.

Vegetarian place
$ Located near the main post office, Vodafone café, and across from Opoku market. Look for the small chop looking place with a door, should be yellowish outside.

Here you can get brown rice with veggies, salad, and tofu. The brown rice is a welcome departure from the mounds of white rice you eat as a volunteer. The portions are generous. Even if you aren’t a vegetarian, the change of pace is welcome. I highly recommend trying this place.

Maplewood
$-$$ Located in Odum, it is a brown hotel near the main circle.

Some days you can order burgers and spring rolls, but you should probably call ahead first (obviously I don’t have the number, but someone does) to check if they have what you want that day. You can get a burger for 5cd and spring rolls are 1cd each. The burger comes with a fried egg and basically coleslaw on top. The bun is thick and wheat-like. The spring rolls are curry based and huge. This place is a real treat if you are in need of some food R&R.

Wenchi

Located in the Brong-Ahafo region, Wenchi is a larger town with not a lot to see. You come to Wenchi to see a PCV, change cars, or see the former dead President Busia. What Wenchi lacks in attractions, it makes up for in food. Chop paradise!

Kaaf
$ Located on the street right before Allied Oil and right after the National Fire Service. Open from 10am – sunset

If you want to try the best fufu and banku in Ghana, you need to make a trip to Kaaf. The banku is the perfect blend of sour and flavor. The groundnut soup, while watered down, is spicy, rich, and oh so tasty. The light soup has a nice taste to it, and they just started making palmnut soup. The palmnut soup is good, but doesn’t hold a candle to mine – clearly. You can get a lot of food for less than 3cd here. The chicken is extremely tasty and the portions are favorable. You can even get the food to go! Anytime someone comes to Wenchi, I take them to Kaaf.

Managye
$ Located right next to the main station, it is a two story yellow and black spot. Food is available after noon.

In the mood for jollof, fried rice, or plain rice? Well Managye doesn’t disappoint. If you are changing cars in Wenchi, stop at Managye for lunch. You can hang out upstairs and feel like you have been transported to a seedy, but not scary part of Miami. The chicken is fried to deliciousness and the rice is plentiful. Try the jollof with the stew. The salad is also nice. Regular portion is 3cd.

Queen’s Star Waakye
$ Located across from Ghana Commercial near the main station. Look for the blue stand behind the taxis.

Excellent waakye and loved by all people in Wenchi. This place is eternally popular and their waakye sells out before 11 everyday. The stew that accompanies the waakye is flavorful and really adds to the waakye. During avocado season, there is often a lady selling cut avocado outside the stand. Mix the avocado in with your rice and beans for a protein and omega three paradise.

Viglosam
$$ Located far from the center of town, look for the signs directing you towards the hotel. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

In need of some french fries? How about a sorta burger? What about some stroganoff? Viglosam has delicious pricey meals for the person who is looking for a foodescape. You can order just a plate of fries and salad for 5cd. Their banku and groundnut soup is very rich and thick and is highly recommended. The pepper steak is like salisbury steak and is a great choice.


Look for part two of my Foodie Guide to Ghana coming soon! Which will basically just be me updating this page and providing a new link.

Enjoy!

 

Where to eat in Accra, where to eat in Ghana, best restaurants in Accra, places to eat in Accra, guide to food in Accra, food in Ghana, Ghanaian food, Pizza in Accra, Burger in Accra, best places to eat in Ghana