Hopefully not dumsor….

For the third evening, our part of Accra and parts of the country have had power cuts. Not too bad tonight, but the last two evenings lights were blinking and power went on and off, not great for anything electrical. My voltage regulator had already been dusted off, after having laptop chargers fried: it keeps the voltage stable when the network fluctuates, only way to charge a laptop safely. The power company changed from ECG to PDS, and while officials say it is not officially dumsor here, the problems are expected to continue for five more days.

Dumsor. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. In Ghana, a dumsor (Akan pronunciation: [dum sɔ] ‘off and on’) is a persistent, irregular, and unpredictable electric power outage. The frequent Ghanaian blackouts are caused by power supply shortage.

Walking home tonight, the roar of generators across our neighborhood reminded me of our first year in Accra when power outages were the norm.  It’s gotten much better since that, so hopefully it’s better by next week. Not that we can complain, at least we have generators and money to run those.

Meanwhile back in Rome, there has been outcry after an overzealous contractor from the capital’s urban decor department painted over the classic “Vota Garibaldi” grafitti from 1948 in our neighborhood yesterday.  The sign is now being restored.

Before:Vota Garibaldi

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Another Saturday craft market trip, Accra

img_20190302_121635289092853.jpgAfter my scouting for groundnuts last Saturday, we went to the monthly craft market at the W.E.B. Dubois centre in Cantonments, Accra. First Saturday of each month. It is so much nicer than the old location at the Goethe Insitute, there is more room and more vendors. Very expat focused, there are crafts and fabric, clothes and soap, black soap, Ghana coffee, jewelery, carvings and paintings and overall a good selection if presents are needed.  Some of the same vendors are at other markets other weekends, but it is easy when they are all on one place this one day a month.  You bump into friends, talk to seamstresses, it is good fun.

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Glass beads. I have not been to a bead making place yet, but that is on my list. You can also find craft popsicles (5 cedi, about 0.9 USD),  yoghurt, bread and muffins, vegetables, drinks….. and yes, bagels! They are actually quite nice, though pricey at 6 cedi each. We always buy more and get a discount, which is very nice.  Today we were late, so they only had two kinds left.

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Mmmmm, toasted bagels….. I know how to make them, but when it’s a humid 33C it is such sweaty work…… My last bagels from New Year’s in London are safe in the freezer, but will be liberated soon to continue my pantry challenge.

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Oh, the colours and fabrics here! Wonderful! As my clothes from three years ago get increasingly ragged, they are replaced with some clothes in local fabrics. We do wonder when we would wear some of these later, but that will be an issue later.

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Batik: what would look good as what? 20 cedis a yard  (3.6 USD), three yards for  fabric for a full-skirted dress, two yards for a straight dress no sleeves.  I will have to think about this.  Same time, next month.

On a groundnut hunt in North Ridge

new buildings in North RidgeI am traveling next week, and had a request for Ghana groundnuts. They are delicious: roasted, not salted, a very nutty flavour. Groundnut soup here is amazing. I went for a walk in my old neighborhood this morning, to see if our chop shop lady where we always bought eggs and groundnuts had any.

img_20190302_094153But the shop was closed! So I walked on, being honked at by passing taxis. This is a typical ex-container shop. No goats or chickens seen on the street, there used to be a little flock out there. Quite a bit of construction, so maybe they have been moved on. There were new buildings there, and more coming.North Ridge

The wheelbarrow is a fresh coconut seller. Very refreshing on a hot humid morning, they lop off enough to poke a straw through and voila, coconut water. My goal: the next chop shop, in a green ex-container towards Alisa hotel. You can see the deep open gutters along the road. A friend fell in one and broke her leg a while ago, I have also seen cars get a wheel in them. Still, with with heavy rains like yesterday, good drainage is needed. At least these did not have sewage in them.

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Yes! Groundnuts for 3.5 cedi a bottle: about 64 US cents, the cedi just fell more so 1 USD=5.5 cedi. It was 1 USD=3.8 cedi  when I arrived, exported goods are going up in price. A small bottle of groundnuts used to be 3 cedi here, 2 cedi at our egg lady. Anyway, I was very happy, and quite sweaty by now.

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Fante kenkey at the second chop shop: fermented maize dumplings, wrapped in plantain leaves. Or is it maize leaves? Being fermented, these are quite temperature stable, but I resisted getting a couple kenkey for the trip. With short connections, luggage does go missing now and then. Ghana chocolate is a safer bet.

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Heading home: this little roadside shop had groundnuts mixed with popcorn,  for one cedi (which seems unusually cheap), so now I am all set. North Ridge is a nice green part of Accra, embassies and gated compounds, not very lively and no restaurants or supermarkets, but quiet. The neighborhoods of Osu and Labone are nearby for going out, and it’s close to work for us. There is a good jazz club nearby (+233). I also found a couple new fruit stands.

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Success! Time to go home and shower!