So far we’ve been enjoying Ghanaian musical delights and testing our dance moves here and there. Music and dancing is everywhere in Tamale, whether indoors or outdoors, so you can imagine everyone’s curiosity when my Kukere dancing challenge was announced in the office. After hours and hours of channeling my inner Sasha Fierce hard work, sweat, blood and tears I was able to produce a performance of sorts.I pretty much brought the whole office to a standstill because of mysurprising lack oftalent!. Let’s just agree it was interesting because it was. I enjoyed it nonetheless and I’m glad to have seen my challenge through, the whole office has now been FIZAMED!
So, it seems that surviving in Ghana without the luxury of carbohydrate foods is actually possible. Who would have thought?
To say that it was easy would be a lie – not only because we spent the majority of the week with very little energy but because of the sheer inconvenience it caused to have a no carb diet in a country that is so dependent on the food group.
This was especially difficult at lunch times. Our fellow team mates would stroll around the corner to the rice man and tuck in to their fried rice and chicken while myself and Zoe would be roaming the streets looking for something we were actually allowed to eat. The majority of lunch times would consist of meat on a stick and some fruit (followed by a look of utter confusion by any Ghanaian that happened to walked by).
lunch time delights
On a more positive note – being unable to eat carbohydrates meant that we became a lot more adventurous with our meals at home. Our weekly market shop actually had some order to it and we even made a meal plan for the week.
So, there’s this really great song by the Nigerian artist Iyanya, called Kukere. It came out last year and it’s quite a popular song here in Ghana; we hear it everywhere we go. After being here a month, we have become obsessed with it by singing out a few random lines here and there, in taxis, restaurants, at home, in Ali’s face and on the road accompanied with some enthusiastic dancing. As we are in our challenge week, I have been tasked with learning the lyrics and dance moves, to some sort of performable standard. I think I’m cautiously optimistic about it, perhaps not the dancing as I can’t dance, but rather learning the lyrics because it’s a very catchy song. Only thing I’m unsure about is how many hours I’m going to need to sweat it out until I master it, but anyway watch this space…
Week #5 here at Team Tamale has been declared the week of the challenges. Each team member has been assigned a challenge they must complete/stick to within the week and there will be forfeits for those who fail to succeed in their challenge.
Challenge #1 – ‘No carbs in Tamale’
One of the main questions asked by friends and family about our time here in Tamale is ‘What’s the food like?’. To say that Ghanaian people love eating carbohydrate foods would be a massive understatement; carbohydrates make up about 80% of every meal. Whether it be fried rice, plain rice, jollof rice, banku, fufu, TZ or kenkey – the carb is always the most important part of the meal.
So, myself and Zoe decided there was a little incentive here to run a ‘no carbs in Tamale’ challenge. For one week (and one week only!) we will be eating no carbohydrate foods to see if it is actually possible to survive in a country that is so dependent on the food category and we will be blogging about it at the end of the week to update everyone on our progress.
Just to give you a sneak peak of what our week will entail; Monday morning commenced with ‘egg in a bag’. A more traditional Ghanaian breakfast from a food stall would be an omelette between two thick slices of bread served to you in a plastic carrier bag to take back to the office… but without the bread for us ‘no carbers’ it was literally just egg in a bag.
And so I face the final curtain. This time next week the first -and best- ICS team placed in Ghana will be boarding a plane and heading home. Home to reality. Home to bills, rent payments, job hunts and so many other issues ducked and dodged whilst away for 3 months. But also we’re home to friends and family, real cheese and a meal without rice. While I will be sad to leave a country that has given me so many great memories and experience, ultimately, I really like cheese.
It’s strange the things you look forward to: After 3 months of soaring heat, mosquito nets and sweaty nights my duvet finds itself high up on my list of ‘Things I missed.’ Likewise rain will be a welcome treat and so will layers. I’d go as far as to say ‘layering up’ is one of my top priorities in the UK. I’ll be making sure my hoody and gillet combo is at the top of my suitcase. Easily available for those first wet, cold steps out of Heathrow airport.
Paradoxically I will of course miss the weather. Maybe not the heat and temperature but how can one not miss the sun? I’ll miss the goats and I’ll miss the adventures. Hell, I might even miss Tolu 🙂 Ghana has given so many great memories and grateful to have met so many great people: The other amazing volunteers I’ve been with, the people we’ve worked with at RAINS and IS and the people in the community often with so little and still so gregarious with their time.
With only one week left to go we’re preparing for our last adventure. We wrap up in the office today and we have one last day with International Service on Monday before we fly south to the capital: Accra. Here we hope to see another side of Ghana and enjoy their beautiful beaches, visit the Akosombo dam, see Lake Volta and visit old slave forts on cape coast.
Our final chapter, our final adventure. I’ve lived a life that’s full while I’ve been here. I’ve travelled each and every highway, but much more than this, I did it my way. Ghana, you’ve been amazing. Lets finish strong.