Nov 9, 2008
This week’s news was dominated in Ghana, and for the world as a whole I suppose, by the US presidential election. There has been a buzz around this topic since we got here but it grew steadily as Tuesday approached. At the same time the confidence in an Obama victory reduced at the same rate that the excitement was growing. In Monday’s Daily Graphic, (Ghana’s equivalent to The Sun but with worse news and grammar. Yes it is possible!) there was a full page advert calling people to the Presidential Park at 5am for a huge prayer session wishing Obama a victory. Needless to say it worked (even with Alexis and me tucked up in bed at that time). On Tuesday morning I woke to cheers and singing in the street. This must mean only one thing I thought – an Obama victory. The BBC World Service was dominated by reaction from many African countries. Kenya had a public holiday on Wednesday to celebrate and apparently the names Barack and Michelle have become very popular in many Nairobi hospitals. Since Tuesday I have been mistaken for an American many more times than usual. At first I try to tell them that I am British and am led by Gordon Brown, not the war mongerer that they keep mentioning. In the end though it is easier just to say (dare I say it) “Yes, I am an American and Yes I did vote for Obama”. The jubilation has not died down since although no-one has said that Obama is an American first and of African origin second. He was voted for by the American people and his duty is to them first not Africans or Europeans. Life after January 20th should be very interesting...
BLOCKADES AT THE PUMPS
On Tuesday Alexis went to a 5 day workshop for the Ghana National Association for the Deaf in Dodowa, about one hours drive north of Accra. She left at 2pm so I was surprised when at 6pm she rang me saying that she had still not arrived. She was waiting at a workmate’s house because they couldn’t buy any petrol. It had transpired that since about midday all petrol stations in Accra had refused to sell any petrol. I walked down to the local petrol station and they were indeed turning cars away, stating that there was no petrol in the pumps. What had actually happened was that the government had reduced the price of petrol (the prices are state controlled here and are about 60 pence a litre) in accordance with the drop in price of a barrel of oil. It had turned out that many petrol station had bought there oil wholesale several weeks ago and they were now selling at a loss and so just refused to sell at all. It was a coordinated effort as every petrol station Alexis and her colleagues had visited was turning them away. After siphoning petrol from one car to another Alexis and her workmates eventually got to their hotel at 9pm. By Wednesday morning everything was back to normal although I am not sure what the resolution was. The prices still appear to be the same as previous days. I think maybe that the petrol stations were just firing a warning shot to the government.
FROM 4 TO 3
Our flatmate Stuart left this week to return to England after his 3 months in Ghana working at the Accra Rehabilitation Centre. We had his leaving dinner at a French Restaurant – ‘Au Grand Ecuyer’ - situated on the Accra ring road. So far, this is the only place we have found potatoes and they are delicious! Farewell Stuart!
I AM DIFFERENT…EVEN TO DOGS
After school one day this week I walked to the nearest internet café to check up on news other than the presidential election. As I was walking down the street a dog started barking. I ignored it and did my usual high fives with the local children. After about 100 metres I realised that the dog was following me down the street barking at me. I am use to standing out to other people but this is the first time I have been picked out for special treatment by an animal. It appears even dogs can tell black from white. Or maybe I just smelt of sausages!
We’re off travelling to Northern Ghana for the next couple of weeks so we’ll update you on our return!