Yesterday, I went to the bank. The mother of a colleague had died, and the office was collecting for the funeral. Funerals are expensive, often three-day affairs here, I was told. More costly than weddings, so the hat goes around for contributions, and transport was organised for colleagues to attend,
I was low on cash, hence the bank, as there no ATM nearby. Rather than keeping the large pile of grubby cedi notes received on arrival at home, I have opened a local bank account, especially as stories of home invasions and robberies abounded when we arrived in Accra last year. Anyway, the bank is absolutely fine, very modern, though the phone banking never works we can pay for groceries at at large supermarkets by card, which works really well. I got my cash, and on the way back, there was a stop for someone to buy lunch. Street vendors are a key part of street life here: you can buy plastic bags of sweet porridge, bread rolls with chocolate, fruit, meat pies, kenkey (fermented maize dumplings, some times cassava) wrapped in banana leaves, fresh coconut, Fanyo icecream; grilled meat, and much much more.
We bought corn on the cob, with fresh coconut. Steaming hot corn on the cob, from a large fabric-wrapped metal bowl, de-husked as we waited. “Soft? You want soft?” Yes please. Into the plastic bag it went, one cedi each (25 US cents). The fresh coconut was 50 pesewas extra (12 US cents) – interesting combination! Corn and coconut is common here, and in Nigeria, I am told. Cooking a full meal can be seen as ‘heavy chopping’, and smaller meals (snacks) are small chops. There are chop bars all over Accra. I took it home, grilled the corn slightly in a frying pan and it was delicious with the fresh coconut!
Kenkey, the fermented dumplings from the local corner shop (shack) where we now buy eggs. There are several versions of kenkey, I think this is Fante kenkey (based on wrapping) but it might be Ga. I am not so keen on the fermented flavour, but it is popular here and colleagues will buy it for even birthday lunches to share. More on the local goats and chickens another day.