Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Day in Accra!

Hello Followers, Ette Sin (how are you in Ghanaian)??

It has almost been a week since I have arrived to Ghana. I still can’t believe it was only last week when I was in Toronto going through the pre-departure training, trying to predict what Accra would be like, but I must say the guessing game is officially over.

Days in Accra begin very early in the morning; people are up and working on their chores almost from 5 am. It is perhaps because the weather becomes very hot here around 8 am and so people find it easier to get some of their tasks done earlier in the day. I wake up everyday to the sound of alarm clock.... and roosters.

Night time begins quite early as well; it gets dark here at around 6:30 which I’m definitely not used to, as I recall during summer time it does not get dark until 9 pm in Canada. By 6:30 I am usually back to the guest house from work, taken a shower and writing in my work log book.

I have been sharing a room with Jess ever since we came to Ghana, and David’s room is across our room. One of the things that I noticed early on is the fact that you only see hotels (Canadian version) near the Accra urban centre, and as you as you zoom out from this central location there are no hotels and guest houses become the common place people reside. Guest houses usually have one floor with a big yard and a hallway that has a number of rooms. The guest house that I am currently living in is more luxurious that it should be, we have running water, a/c, tile floors, TV, fridge and a tiled floor. My adjustment to a permanent & “less development” address is still the challenge ahead.

The main roads in Accra are paved and asphalted, but again as you get farther from the urban centre, the roads are no longer paved and you drive on bumpy roads. Seat belts are not worn here but everyone usually holds on to something when a car starts to drive.

The streets of Accra are also occupied on both sides by stores, shops, beauty salons, restaurants and general markets and as a result the streets are usually full of people that are either buying or selling materials and running businesses.

And this is what is amazing about this city, if you want a banana, coconut, mango or fried chicken all you have to do is cross the street and buy some.

The main market is Accra is the Madina Market. It is definitely one of the crowded places I have been to. We spent approximately around an hour or two there but I could have spend another three hours there and not have been tired. The stores are located less than couple of metres from one other leaving enough space for shoppers to go walk through; the function is to maximize the number of stores. The market is like a maze that goes in so many directions and if you are new you could easily get lost. The amazing fact about this market is that you could literally buy what you need to buy as you think of it, from food such as vegetables, fruits, meats (pig feet, snails, chicken, fish) to fabrics, clothes, bags, shoes and jewellery. It is definitely one of my favourite places in Accra so far.

Some of people’s favourite foods here are Banku and FuFu, which is dough, made of cassava and plantain with a soup that goes overtop usually made of various meet types with spices and oils. The dough is placed inside a bowl and the sauce/soup part is poured overtop. The trick is to eat the dough and the sauce part simultaneously using your hands. I have tried both of them once and to be honest I had a miserable failure. One serving of Banku or FuFu is a lot more in quantity than I’m used to, I guess I just need a little more time to get used to the food. I love the bananas, mangos, coconuts and the Jallof rice (rice made with spices and vegetables) so far.

I will try to upload pictures and videos to help with the visualization of most of the things I talked about, even though the internet is slow here I will keep my fingers crossed.

Me da Si ! ( thank you)


  1. Hello! Welcome to Ghana! Just a point of correction: MAKOLA Market( is one of Ghana's biggest.

    I have covered Madina market before on my Accra Daily Photo blog here:

    Do check the blog out for sights of Accra when you get time by going to

  2. You should post pictures! The video is not enough hehe. Tell us about the type of work that you do!! and also about the people. How are they like?
    I miss your pretty face missy xo

  3. Hi Kate!

    Thanks for such a thorough description of everything! Reading about Madina market made me nostalgic :) I hope you're all getting settled in and that finding homes isn't too hard! I'd love to hear more about your guys' work too!

  4. I enjoyed reading this. The food sounded delicious. Please take care of yourself,

    love always,

  5. Hey kate! Good to see you exploring the city! :) Do take care of your health on a new environment! :) Anyway, I heard the cassava crop is widely used in Africa as a staple food but its survival is threatened by the mosaic virus. Is it their staple food? haha. And it would be nice to hear about your interaction with the local people and their lifestyle! :D

  6. Kate--

    I'm so excited for you. I loved reading this. It made me feel like I was there with you. I miss you lots, and right about now we would be taking our walks on riverside. Anyways, keep us updated! I would really like to see more posts by you missy! Once a week is definitely not enough! <3

  7. Bathrooms in hostels can be shared or private.

    Buzios Pousadas