09 July 2006

Weekend jaunt to Kokrobite

A great big peace cell for a great big zone
Friday ended up being a pretty full day. The peace cell meeting had 35 people in it, and when it was time to end it, most of them didn't really want to stop talking. The discussion did get a little heated at times though, so hopefully we'll get to work through some of these issues more in the next meeting in that zone. We were in zone 11, which is physically the biggest one in the camp. Its size is exacerbated by the giant, air conditioned, fortress like hotel that sits in the middle of it. Apparently this is for those really compassionate humanitarian aid workers that want to "rough it" by actually sleeping somewhere other than Accra. Let's just say that my experience here is not making me look too well upon some of the other Westerners here. It seems both ridiculously unecessary and flat out rude to see such flagrant displays of wealth like the big hotel or the numerous giant, sparkling SUVs that these people ride around in so they won't get dirty.

Needed relaxation
I headed back to the house after the meeting Friday. I was the only volunteer there that night. It was really, really quiet. I did get to have a nice conversation with Isaac, the Liberian man who takes care of the house. He's incredibly quiet, and we hardly really see him unless he's watching the tv, but we stood out and watched the rain and he told me more about where he came from and just a little about what he's been through. As I was getting ready to leave Saturday morning, I asked him where I needed to get off the tro-tro so I could catch another car to the beach. He decided to come along with me, as he was headed to Accra anyway. He even got off the tro-tro with me and rode in the car all the way to the beach with me. I waited there for the other PCO volunteers (we ended up having 10 of our 12 person crew there for the weekend) by reading on the beach and enjoying the cool breeze.

Kokrobite is a curious little community. The beach was populated by local fisherman who ride in rafts that I can't imagine actually taking into the ocean, and a small group of expatriates from various Western countries. Most of the Westerners are volunteering somewhere like we are, and go there for a break. My first week has been tough, on the whole, and so I needed this little trip.

Besides, it was a cheap, cheap weekend. For $10 I got a hotel room that had a flush toilet and a cold water shower, which is about the best you can do. The bed was on a frame and the windows had screens, so there was no need for a mosquito net. We're talking the lap of luxury here. So luxurious, in fact, that the hotel is called the Dream. There's also a delicious Italian restaurant called Kokrobite Garden, which is literally thatched-roof gazebos in a garden. Both the food and the setting were delicious. Besides, who can beat a $4 pizza?

The beach was also beautiful. The Atlantic on this side of the world is cold and has a pretty fierce current, but it's still great. There were various fishing craft in the water, most of which didn't look seaworthy. But even on what was apparently a busy weekend, there probably weren't more than 75 people on the beach at any one time. It was a wonderful getaway.

There is this one bar/restaurant/hotel called Big Milly's Place that holds an African drumming session on Fridays that I missed. On Saturday though there's a reggae concert that was pretty good. We all sat around a big table having drinks, telling stories, and periodically dancing in the sand. Saturday was cloudy, but today the sky was perfectly clear. I got a few decent pictures, but honestly was a little sad to leave the flushing toilet (even if the seat had fallen off). My friend Nicole told me that she always just says "see you next Friday" to the flush toilets. I think next weekend some of us are going to head to Cape Coast.

Back to Awutu, to be eaten alive
We took a bus from Kokrobite up to the main highway, and from there 7 of us piled into some random crazy man's station wagon, because he agreed to take us back to our village since he was going that way and had room. After piling in though, we realized the man was nuts. There was some bickering over how much we should pay him, but finally a price was agreed after some heated negotiations (all while he's driving). At a police checkpoint, we got pulled over, but he eventually was let pass. I figure the cops realized he was looney and sent him on. When we got back to Awutu, he wanted all our names and told us to call him if we ever needed a lift, though never produced a number. Whatever though, we got home safely.

However, I've realized that there are bedbugs in my mattress since my feet definitely look like they had been feasted upon when I woke up Saturday. There wasn't enough sun left to do it today, but tomorrow we're going to drag the mattress out to basically bake it on the concrete, and treat it with some bug spray for just this very purpose. A fresh sheet should keep me safe tonight.

Tomorrow I also need to try my hand and doing laundry with nothing but my own two hands and some soap. That oughta be a good time. A full work week is ahead.

Peace. L2E.

1 comment:

Michaela said...

I totally sympathize with the hotel and especially the SUVs; i'm certain that they spent all day shuttling NGO workers from their nice homes by the river to their favorite expat cafe, to the French Cultural Center, and back home, and that was it. Also, hope you have fun washing by hand. Take it easy; its not hard to get bloody knuckles when you're scrubbing away all day.