Killer Kenkey

By Ali

Challenge 3

Kenkey is a staple dish of West Africa served with a soup, stew, or sauce. Two days ago, brave souls of the RAINS office were given the challenge to be the first to finish two servings of Kenkey. Although I was no match to the Champion who ate it all in less than three minutes, I still managed to finish one serving in 10 minutes, and that was the second Kenkey I ever had!


What were the chances I’d live to tell the tale?

Iyanu’s Kukere!!!

By Iyanu

Challenge #2.

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…

There’s Ghana be a new pope

Cardinal Peter Turkson papal candidate for pope

Cardinal Peter Turkson – will the next pope be a Ghanaian?

Well, Pope Benedict XVI is resigning from his post on 28 February, and here at Team Tamale we’re interested to see that both Paddy Power and Ladbrokes bookmakers put Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson as the favourite to replace him.

Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, from Wassaw Nsuta in Western Ghana, is the current president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and was previously Archbishop for Cape Coast.

According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, there have only ever been 3 African popes – but if Cardinal Turkson is elected as the new Supreme Pontiff, he would be the first ever black pope.

Wake up and smell your own coffee

by Rhogan

Ok, so as mentioned on our Team page, I have been longing for a refreshing brew accompanied by a few meagre biscuits. Unfortunately, I was not as primed as some of our friends north of us in Sandema who decided to bring 120 Yorkshire Tea bags along for the trip. Nevertheless, I am hankering for other nourishments which I wholeheartedly assumed (as did some of my other colleagues) would be abundant in Ghana.

This country is the world’s second biggest cocoa producer. Ghana’s neighbour, Ivory Coast, is the biggest. Yet ask for a hot beverage anywhere in Tamale and the response you will get will most likely be ‘Lipton or Nescafe?’  Instant coffee is plentiful and this is understandable considering both countries produce mainly the Robusta variety of beans, which are used in instant coffee and espresso. But still, a cup of ‘real’ coffee would be nice, in addition to a bar of Ghanaian made chocolate, which also seems to be in short supply.

blue jeans energy drink Tamale Ghana

Blue Jeans energy drink: Feel the Superpower

Fortunately, Ghana plans a fivefold increase in coffee production by 2015. Let’s just hope that not all of this is exported and a few beans are kept in Ghana for the locals and tourists to sample. After all, I know from my own experiences that dabbling in a country’s local cuisine is one of the best parts of travelling. If you headed for Japan, would you not try some sushi? Upon landing in the Emerald Isle, would not most of us enjoy at least a sip of the black stuff?

With Ghana’s economy being amongst the top 10 fastest developing in the world, tourism is more than likely going to increase. It makes sense for the country to make the most of what they have and add another feather to their cap. In turn, giving the rest of the world another reason to visit and experience what Ghana has to offer.

Yet I do not believe I’ll be waking up any time soon to a freshly ground ‘cup of Joe’. In the meantime, however, I do believe the tasty beverage Blue Jeans will fulfil my caffeine needs and help me to ‘FEEL THE SUPERPOWER!’ Even if it does mean I irrepressibly shake for the remainder of the day.

Round the bend

by Ben

So we’ve been in Tamale for 3 weeks and I’d say that so far – and I’m definitely not biased – I’d give us an A+ for our acclimatisation. We’ve eaten just about every Ghanaian dish that we can find – including delights like gizzard kebabs, we’ve dealt with the spiciest chillies they could throw at us and navigated the market successfully, we’ve made friends with the locals and even picked up some of the language.

But an area that I personally have failed to adapt to is the rules of the road. Frankly I’m not sure if there are any!

Bus travel Tamale Ghana

Now I should begin by stating clearly for the record: I have never had a driving lesson in my life. I went go-karting once, wasn’t too bad, but aside from that I’ve never sat behind the wheel of anything except those driving games you get in the arcade of a bowling alley! I do feel, however, that I have a stronger grounding in the rules of the road than some of Ghana’s budding young motorists. For me, the journey to work is one of the most interesting parts of my day and it’s always worthwhile having the camera to hand.

Mopeds/bikes are a common form of transport in Ghana. Unlike in the UK though, it’s not one person buzzing through the traffic; I’ve seen upwards of four on one bike! It’s not uncommon for a mum to ride to work with her two young daughters casually chilling on the back. No helmets, no protective clothing, not even hanging on!!! Sometimes even the side of the road that traffic is supposed to be on seems to go out the window with people casually cycling against oncoming traffic.

In fact it seems that anything goes:

public transport tamale ghana

I decided it’d be worth finding out some more information on this so, as we all do, I turned to Fatawu, our local volunteer who is a resident of Tamale. What he told me simply confirmed my worst fears. It turns out that to ride a moped or bike you simply have to register with Ghana’s DVLA equivalent and they don’t ask you for license details. Handy because most people on a bike apparently don’t have one! Insurance also doesn’t exist here; if there was an accident the people involved would try to resolve it amicably on the roadside!

My brain was frazzled but I pressed on… surely there are more stringent rules in place for actual cars? Surely they need a license? Well, it turns out the majority of people do have licenses and I sighed a sigh of relief. However, it wasn’t to last, I should have known better. In order to receive a license you simply pay someone to give you the document and there is normally no test involved… excellent.

I don’t know about the rest of the team but I’m feeling a little less confident about the journey home!

cow on a bus Tamale Ghana