Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Rain, chocolate, and books

Since Monday, the weather has been cooler and much more manageable, mostly because it's been cloudy and threatening to rain.  The storms here are much cooler than in the U.S. and I have no explanation as to why this is.  Each day I keep hoping it will storm, or even rain, but it held out until this morning.  It rained...but did not storm. 

When it does rain here, our walk to the library becomes much more interesting.  A great time is spent walking on the clay ground, and when it gets wet, it becomes a sticky, slippery, enjoyable little trek through campus.  One day, Amanda almost slipped and fell in the mud, but I was able to grab on to her arm and the two of us made sure she stayed upright. 

Sammy the snail
Today on our walk to the library, not far from our dorm actually, we were watching the ground as we walked, and we were rewarded with a little treat.  I saw a cool sea-shell (or so I thought) and it looked as if it was sitting on a stick.  I looked closer and it was definitely a snail!  Amanda and I have yet to see exotic African elephants, but we have been fortunate enough to see plenty of animals that we can see in the U.S.  Just as any tourist might do, we stopped an took a picture of the African, Sammy the snail. 

Last night, Amanda and I were budgeting our money to see how we were doing and if we might be able to afford an excursion to Mole National Park to see a few more exciting animals than the lizards, goats, chickens, and snails we have come across on our journies thus far. As it turns out, when I planned for this trip, I thought the costs we were given for the trip were in USD, when in fact they were in Cedis.  So I planned for about 900 USD, (about 1600 Cedis), when really I only need 900 I have some extra funds for the trip to Mole National Park (and money to bring back home, which is ALWAYS good when you haven't been paid in a month)!

We looked at the travel guide I brought along, and were trying to figure out the best way to get to Mole National Park.  The best way (hopefully!) would be to take a few buses.  The trip is about 12 hours (not accounting for the time it takes to get the bus running again if it breaks down on the unpaved road) one way, and that's assuming we make it to all the stations on time to get the buses we need to get to Mole.  It might be a hot mess getting there, but every review I have read on Mole, and even after talking with some people here in Accra, it is all worth the hassle. 

We talked to Henry today, and he said we could take next Friday off to attempt our journey to Mole.  It will be nice because that is my last weekend here, and it would be great to finally get to see some African Savannah before I leave on the 13th!  The trip right now is in the beginning stages of planning, but I hope it works out better than our trip to Cape Coast.  We are a bit more street-smart and know where to go in Kaneshie to get our bus and our tro-tro back to campus (and where we need to get off the tro-tro to get to our dorm).  So hopefully, it will be much easier this time for us.

Before I left for Ghana, I was at home for Mother's Day and my brother's birthday and my dad and stepmom (Jennifer) and I were talking about Ghana and how it was a large producer of cocoa.  I said then that I wanted to try and find some, but since I landed here, my brain has been preoccupied with other things.  Jennifer emailed me this morning and asked if I had found the chocolate, and at that point we had only found imported chocolate from South America, Netherlands, and the U.S. (maybe a few other places as well).  This morning, I asked Henry where we could get some Ghanaian chocolate made from Ghanaian cocoa, and there's a place right across from the library.  So for 3 Cedis, I bought some! 

It is quite different from a Hershey's bar, it has more of a cocoa taste to it than Herhsey chocolate...and it definitely won't melt as quickly.  It's not bad at all (it gets a bit addicting after a while), but, like many things we have tried so far, it wasn't what we imagined it would be. 

When I packed for this trip, I only packed 4 books, 1 book for each plane I would ride on my trip to and from Ghana.  All four books where in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, and sadly, I am on my last book.  It gets dark here so early (and we are exhausted from work), that Amanda and I tend to stay in and read on weeknights.  As a result of that (and the addicting nature of the books), I am running on empty.  Luckily, there is a bookshop right next door to the Library we work at.  It is probably comparable in size to the Lansing Mall Barnes and Noble (smaller than Ann Arbor location) and it has a lot of different books from fiction (a lot of Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Patricia Cornwell) to non-fiction, textbooks, and a (not surprisingly) large collection of African heritage materials.  We were planning on stopping there today at lunch, but it was raining.  So we are stopping there tomorrow! (My brother proceeds to point out that I work at a library, but because we are not students and our time here is short, we are unable to check out books.)


  1. Sounds like Ghanaian chocolate is dark and bitter...yum!

    1. Well...It claims to be milk chocolate. I went back to the store today to get some more, and this new bar was less dry and a little softer like the milk chocolate I am used to in the U.S. They are quite addictive though. I ate 2/3 of today's bar in less than 4 minutes.