This week, Toni is an expat on location in Ghana and has kindly sent a dispatch to let us know what is happening out there.
So the Queenager and I flew from Newcastle to Ghana, via Amsterdam on Monday July 11th. We are visiting the Tuskegee International school in Medina, (outside of the capital Accra), which we have been supporting for about 5 years. (See the web site – www.caringkidconnections.com for more info and photos).
It’s very hard to put into words the experience, but some things I’ve learnt or noticed so far are:
- Everyone is extremely clean and well dressed. Not that I expected scruffy people, but it’s making me look a tad shabby in my capris and t-shirts. Given the dusty roads and the heat, you’d forgive a crease here and a smudged white shirt there, but these people have very high standards.
- I am going to have to staple my left hand into my pocket. Like many countries in this region, it’s extremely rude to use your left hand for anything other than wiping your bum. So far I have only violated the custom by waving at very small children with the offending hand, but it’s only a matter of time.
- When people call you “Madam” (pronounced the French way, with the emphasis on the second syllable), they aren’t being funny or obsequious. This is how women are addressed, much like some Americans say Ma’am or others say Miss and Mrs. I am Madam Hargis to people who know me and to strangers alike even though I introduce myself as Toni
- While you may not recognize the food or the merchandise in foreign shops, there’s usually something that meets your needs. I am currently washing my hair with L’Oreal’s “Dark and Lovely”; sadly it seems to be false advertising! Ghana beer “Star” lager, is highly recommended after a hard day in the heat and rivals any European lager I’ve had.
- If you bring teenage daughters with you, little girls around the world will be attracted to them. In turn, said teenager may well try to stow one or two away with them on the return journey!!