Ghana was great. I loved it, such a welcome relief to hear some English. The border was easy and customs waved us through. I have learned how to handle the hoards of men who want you to buy something or ride in their taxi or exchange currency with them or hire them as a personal guide or guard, or on many occasions they want my address or they want me to take them to Australia or sometimes they are fascinated with the hair on my arms and the colour of my skin. Some children are frightened of me, others adore me. One family we stayed with in Cape Coast Ghana had a six year old girl called Adjua she really loved Lauren and I, when we were leaving the family gave her to us.

These people I met by chance or by grace of God, we were invited into their home for a short period— no longer than six months I was told. We stayed in a dim, poorly ventilated room downstairs in a two story raw concrete building with only essentials, no floor coverings, hot water or furniture other than beds/sleeping mats and rudimentary wooden stools. The bathroom is a small room completely concrete with no windows and one doorway (no door) a channel has been cut in the floor to take the water away which runs out-side through a small hole in the wall the channel continues down the side of the house and joins the open sewer. There is no tap in the bathroom, there is only one tap for this entire house which is home for about 20 of the extended family, this tap has a padlock on it at all times of the day except early morning when all the buckets are filled.

It is one of these buckets that you carry into the bathroom to have a shower which of course requires a close friend to lift and pour. Thank the Lord I have a friend that is not above this life style.

I learned to pound fufu. This is made from some thing that looks exactly like a huge banana but doesn’t taste like it. This vegetable is placed in a large wooden mortar then pounded with a tall club like stick my job was to pound, a girl would fold the mixture, this eventually becomes a smooth paste which is cooked and eaten with sauce and fish. In exchange for the hospitality that this family extended to us we purchased a sack of rice which is a luxury in these parts and the largest fish that I could find at the beach front mar-kets. It was as long as my arm the price was $4.50 Aust.

We spent five days in Accra, the capital of Ghana and Lau-ren visited a friend from high school who was visiting from America. The first time we went to Accra, we stayed with Zahi; a friend of Lauren’s parents. He was most hospitable to us and continually took us around town, out to the beach and to the club with a pool. He spent money on us and took care of us in style. After a month in West Africa, I feel re-laxed and at ease, and I can notice the different cultures.
Abidjan now seems to me to be very advanced and modern.

I have learned to appreciate our country, not just the peace we enjoy, and the land of plenty, that I have so long taken for granted, but also our culture. Don’t listen to people when they tell you that because Australia is a young country, it is lacking in culture. Man, I reckon we have a beaut way of relating to each other. There is not doubt about it, I miss you people.