kakra, kakra

…means small small. That’s what I’ve been up to today. Getting people bus tickets for the weekend, which was accomplished in 4 extremely slow trotro rides during the morning rush hour, and which I later realised I could have walked; trying to buy a mattress, which was confusing because people still haven’t got used to the re-denominated currency (the mattress either cost 1.2 million cedis, 21 cedis, 12 cedis, or 120 cedis, but we couldn’t agree so I couldn’t pay for it); and working on my survey questionnaires which have become corrupted on my USB drive and cannot be read. The last is quite annoying, but fortunately I have the most recent drafts saved, and things are always better the second time you write them down.

I have finally got onto a Ghanaian schedule – you get up when the neighbourhood gets up, in our case around 6.30. First there’s a guy who walks around playing a sewing machine with a pair of metal scissors, then there’s a guy who polishes shoes and plays a box with a leather strop, then there’s someone who rings a small handbell for reasons best known to themselves. The handbell wakes up the cockerel who lives next door, and he takes over until around 3pm when the afternoon rush hour begins and everyone comes by on the second loop of the day.

Here is my street, from the balcony of the house where I am staying:


The house opposite has homing pigeons, from the last people who lived there. There are temporary tenants there now who live mainly on the balcony, but the pigeons are clearly the landlords. There’s a whole pigeon drama that occurs on the rooftop, involving feuds and passionate affairs and fighting and a lot of strutting around. It’s like a Welsh nightclub. Apparently the racing pigeon fashion came in with President Nkrumah in the 50’s: he became obsessed with homing pigeons and wanted to make keeping them a national pastime. Ghana has been through a lot since then, but the pigeons’ descendants remain. This is the house opposite, with only two pigeons visible. The others are attending a summit on the other side of the roof, discussing a possible peace treaty.


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