Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Halfway through already?

It's really hard to believe that my plane departs from Accra in 15 days....where has the time gone?!  I think it's really cool, but I wish there was more time to see the really cool things you come to Africa to see, such as the wildlife. 

We went to Kakum National Park where we should've seen elephants, monkeys, birds, butterflies, and maybe a warthog, but because of how many kids were on their field trip and all the yelling they did on the Canopy Walk, I think the animals were scared away.  Amanda and I really wanted to see the elephants.

There is another, much larger national park here in Ghana called Mole National Park (pronounced Mo-lay), but it's about a 12 hour bus ride....and rumor has it the roads are absolutely atrocious and a lot of times the buses and tro-tros break down for several hours, which adds to the time it takes to get to the park.  There are also several different transfers we have to make and with how unscheduled the public transportation is here, it is unlikely we will be able to try and get to Mole without a longer 3 or 4 day weekend.  It looks like during our time here we won't have another holiday weekend.

So, we have been trying to find other places where we might be able to see the Elephants.  Other animals of course would be desirable such as a lion, leopard, zebra, giraffe, warthog and all the animals from The Lion King, but we want to see the elephants the most.

At Cape Coast Castle
We had a meeting with a staff member here at the library, Mrs. Adanu (she LOVES hearing our tales of woe and success) to talk about our upcoming presentations, and she asked about our long weekend.  We told her we didn't see any animals (she, like everyone else was shocked to hear this), and she said the absolute best place to see animals in Africa was in Kenya.  If only our stay was longer, and we had our visa for Kenya.  Oh, the tales we would have to tell. 

I found this extremely helpful and informative site for Ghana's Wildlife Division which lists some of the national parks and wildlife reserves.  I checked out all of our viable options, and the best bet might be to go to Digya National Park as it is much closer to Accra than Mole is, and it's right near the man-made Volta Lake, which would be pretty cool to see as well. 

I pay Amanda for my half of the dorm cost later today, and then I can see how many cedis I have left, and budget the rest of my stay and see what type of excursion we can afford to do/have time left for.  Hopefully we can squeeze in an elephant siting here in the next 15 days!

Anyway, during our meeting with Mrs. Adanu (she is great, by the way), we found out about our remaining presentations we had to give.  I was originally slated to give a presentation on how to use Endnote and another presentation on how to use Mendeley.  Last week we were told that the Mendeley presentation was pushed back until after I leave Africa, so Amanda would be handling that one, but I was still on for EndNote. 

Yesterday, however, I was told that the presentation for EndNote was pushed back until the 15th, which is two days after I leave.  I was a little bummed about this because I have already put some work into preparing for the presentation.  Mrs. Adanu said that I would probably present to just her, and then she would use that information to teach the students and staff here once classes resume. 

I have been working on the digitization workflow for a few days now, and I think I am making some progress.  We have a meeting with a woman tomorrow (I can't think of her name right now) to go over what we have so far, and then I think we hopefully get to help her draft a document for the library's workflow.  We also get to check out a book scanner here tomorrow!! 

A few random thoughts I had earlier today that I wanted to share before I forgot:
Beef Burger at Castle Restaurant in Cape Coast
  • While we were on our way to Kakum National Forest, I saw a few men on the side of the road clearing away some brush with a machete--this reminded me of the machete we got for our dad for Christmas this year and it made me smile to see a machete actually being used...in real life (I've seen it in movies, but this was cool)
  • Since the much desired burger was eaten on Saturday, my stomach has been on the rocks, and was made worse yesterday when we had some beef with our lunch (small stray away from Chicken and rice like usual. Henry showed us how to get to a place called Time Out which serves Ghanaian food, as well as Chinese!). I think I will stay away from the beef here, and wait until I land in Atlanta to get a burger from McDonald's! 
  • They eat a lot of spicy food here, and during the week (M-F), Amanda and I can grow a bit tired of it from eating it for lunch.  However, the weekend arrives and we struggle to find food to eat as dining halls are closed and places to eat are a really far walk (at least a half hour), and we don't have a fridge.  So food is slim pickin's on the weekends and usually consists of bread rolls and Danish butter cookies.  But come Monday or Tuesday, we are quite excited to eat the spicy food.  I'm actually getting quite used to it, and thought to myself today that I could probably move up to a hotter sauce at Buffalo Wild Wings when I get back! 
  • Trevor asked me how hot it was here today, and it's about 81F with a humidity of 84%, so it feels like 87F.  I think I am getting used to heat because it definitely feels more like 79-80F. Yesterday I hear Ann Arbor was 95F--it was definitely hotter in AA than in here in Accra! 
  • Speaking of global, I remember when I was in Amsterdam how I really wanted to buy some ceramic blue and white dutch shoes made in the Netherlands, but chose not to because I wanted to make sure I had enough money for here in Ghana.  That was a silly idea.  ALWAYS buy Dutch shoes while in the Netherlands....even if you're in an airport.


  1. So sorry to hear that your long-awaited burger has betrayed you!
    I remember my first trip to China (1983 & still close to the Cultural Revolution). Most of the food that we had was so bad--we played a game of trying to decide what the protein was in each dish, because they were all brown & tasted the same. We could usually tell which was the fish dish b/c of the texture, but that was it. I thought that I wanted a big juicy hamburger, but then decided that what I really missed was something simple & good--fettuccine Alfredo. Luckily we did have some great meals ocassionally.

    1. Haha the chicken here at least is good. We actually haven't had any pasta since we've been here and I kind of want some now that you mentioned it!!