Marka in Ghana

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I hear the rains down in Africa

That title is for you Carl! Rains in Ghana have been one of my favourite experiences. They come down so hard that the noise they make when they hit the zinc corrugated roofs makes you jump out of bed in the middle of the night! When it rains during the day, the entire town shuts down as everyone runs for cover. All the street vendors take off and you are hard pressed to find someone on a motorcycle or bicycle. The open sewers are absolutely gushing with water, and sometimes you see children playing in them which can't be healthy! If you live in a straw roofed house, you run to your friend's house who has a zinc roof to collect the rain water, as this will save you a trip down to the well or borehole. And the best thing about the rains is how they cool everything down! I don't know if I have just acclimatized, but the day after the rains, I can wear pants and a long sleeved shirt and be fine!

The first 2 days of my trip were spent traveling up to Bawku and seeing the communities which have had boreholes drilled recently and are about to be implemented with pumps. The landscape up here is amazing! It's very hilly and there is a lot of rock which resembles the Canadian Shield. One of the most surprising things I found about the villages up near the north was that many of them were equipped with solar panels. Almost every compound (house) had one solar panel, which would give them enough energy to run a couple of lights after sunset to get around, from what I could get out the community members. They had been a government project that had been installed 10 years ago! And all the panels were still functioning! Now, a lot of these villages are getting electricity and from what I heard, a lot of people in the community don't want it! They say that many will use the electricity, without realizing how much they are spending, and then when the bill comes at the end of the month, they will not be able to pay it or if they can, it will be by cutting corners elsewhere. They think it will unnecessarily increase the poverty level of many in the community, and say that while it might be nice to watch tv or listen to a radio that they are fine without it and that it is more the young people who care.

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