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    In 2006
    Ivory Coast

    In 2007

    In 2009

    In 2010
    Saudi again!,

Location: Saudi Arabia

Network Infrastructure and Rollout. Fancy climbing this ladder!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

10 men in an Astra!! Taxi.

I couldn't believe it, I nearly crashed I laughed so much, this is one for Keiron!! 10 men - the driver, the front passenger, 4 in the middle 4 in the back of the car..and a step ladder or some metal contraption stickin gout further....car travelled at about top speed of 40mph

I approached them at the lights and started to smile, the precariously perched passengers smiled back then I lifted my camera and gestured if it was ok to take a photo and they nodded back affirming it was ok. Then click!...and look at the caption on the back of the Car...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Today's lunch.....Yam and Kontomire Stew.

Lunch, today! It was free. The Kontomire stew is made from Cocoyam leaves and has added a hot pepper sauce...I mean HOT! Nearly blew my head off. All while I sat at my office desk.

So hot food to go with hot weather.

Update tomorrow re the Orphanage Beds...watch this space

Friday, June 23, 2006

Ghana crazy over World Cup USA win....

The office yesterday afternoon erupted in loud shouts and dancing, it even spilled into the street outside the offices. Here some of the staff were watching the match under the shade of the side porch on a portable TV. Then when the final whistle blew, the whole neighbourhood sounded to a high crescendo of horns, cheers and just general shouting...bright white teeth smiling and laughing for hours afterwards......it's national.

The BBC even report today on their international pages: follow this link; http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/5108170.stm

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Orphans without beds - 8 Beds NEEDED!.

Being here makes it so much easier to see and hear the needs. One such event is sad - on Sunday morning from the front of KICC the Pastor mentioned a need. He had last week visited an orphanage downtown Accra. The children who as babies had been orphaned had grown out of their cots but have not been able to move to a bed!! and now they have to sleep still in the cots bent up because they are too long for the cot.

The orhanage needs about 8 beds for the children still in cots. Are we comfy in our beds at night, comfy enough to be able to stretch I am sure.?

By Monday I will know how to give for this need and what kind of beds they are looking to purchase. I know that a bunk bed costs ($164 or £89) and a single bed ($87 of £47). These are made locally so it will help the local trade as well. Material in Africa is often no cheaper than the West, sometimes even more expensive.

What a great chance to GIVE, if you sleep well at night and want to help, then contact me and leave a comment here or email me at liveafrica at hotmail.com

Some stark facts to help you grasp the need just in Ghana - "A study sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme and the Ghana AIDS Commission reveals that the HIV/AIDS has rendered 170,000 children orphans and 173,098 have been identified to be vulnerable to the risk of being infected with the disease."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Beach home - 100 metres from the sea...

It's home for many, complete with tin roof, bare concrete block walls and floors with slatted windows. Neighbours include cockroaches, the odd dog and your top of the range hole in the floor for the toilet. Oh and there's no running water in the toilet, so a courtesy bucket is provided for flushing.

The bedroom, had a matress directly on to the concrete and a small clothes rack to leave your clothes off the floor! There is power though and if budget allows some rooms have a fan.

Alternatively you could just check in over the road, directly on the beach to La Palm Beach Hotel.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Cultural Differences

The free market economy consists of street stalls, small cabin style shops and street traders. Lapaz is located on the North of Accra & sits on the East West highway across the south of Ghana. What you can see here is the equivalent of Accra's M25!! A single lane road with a market at most junctions. Currency here is different, it cost's me about 8900 a litre of petrol. About $1 US. The largest cash note if 20,000 cedi, about a $2.5 note. So if I put 300,000 cedi in the Car, the amount of money that needs counting is incredible

$30 (approx 300,000) looks like this below and cash is the exchange, not credit cards. So to carry more around, I need my trouser back pockets enlarged!!!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

God welcomes me to Ghana

I could not have imagined what was ahead of me this morning. I had rung to check what time the service started, but in my search yesterday afternoon, I couldn't find the Dominion Centre where KICC meet, so at 8:20am I called again and was given enough info to get there for the 8:30am start.

Inside a warehouse, was what looked like 800 plastic chairs and a stage. Then it all happened. If you think we'll only sing hymns in heaven - you had better change your mind really quickly. The whole service was full of a sound I've only ever imagined. The harmonies and power in the music was indescribable. The smiles on peoples faces, they just love Jesus, there's now coersion, no whipped up emotion....contagious. Dancing, clapping, swaying...

The warehouse was hot, fans whirled from the ceilings and from the walls, I had my water to keep hydrated and I'm exhausted now, but what a morning, 3.5 hour service that felt like 30 minutes. Way to go God!

For me the privilege was that I was the only white face in the middle of over 500 people.

Friday, June 16, 2006

We don't know how well we (UK) have it!...

Over lunch time I visited one of the Cell sites which Ghana Telecom own. Ashaiman Police Station. It's about 20 min East of Accra by car. When I arrived the site is located in teh midst of an amazing hustle and bustle crossroads, I thought nothing much of it until I was up on the roof of the building and looked back down onto the economy around me. This picture is of the homes in and around this area, a shanty town of amazing resilience.

I thought how does this all work, chaos, squalid conditions, children wanting to sell me chewing gum, every comodity I could think of was available in the stalls and from street traders, but how does it function? How does it all work, then I realised they are living in the "now" for food for tomorrow. They needed to sell in order to eat, today was here and tomorrow was not. Don't we get it all out of perspective when we plan for next year, "Oh dear we have not a budget for this" and "what will happen when our thousands run out", yet here I saw a people who whilst living in the moment could give me a smile.

More photos of Ashaiman on Flickr

Every night a Power cut....

...and get to work this morning, we have power, but no water! Yet yesterday morning the heavens opened. It's nearly a week now and I actually drove around the whole of Accra ring road and through the centre of the City, and back to the house without getting lost. Amazing feat of direction, reminds me of Saudi, except the roads are in worse condition, the cars are nearly wrecks and everyone here can smile instantly.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Street Traders

Wow, such courage, they walk up to the car and pass by, often smiling. I cant imagine why he thinks I need all this toilet roll! I know I had a spicy lunch, (chicken on the run) but even I dont need this much toilet roll. Maybe he thinks all foreigners cant cope with the spicy sauces. Ha! well I have Imodium, the travellors companion of choice, well of necessity.

More street traders on flickr.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The contrasts

The day of the power cuts. Sunday I was driven 1.5 hours East towards the Togo border to a village called Ada. There a hotel on the lagoon estuary which carried the River Volta to the Atlantic was home for few hours. The scenery was as so different from the suburbs of Accra. (Photos on Flickr).

When I wake up in the morning the view first thing is a contrast. In fact the suburb is full of unfinished houses. The office kitchen window is different, (Photo here) looking out onto the site vehicles used by the engineers and the greenness of the plant and tree life is rich is colour.

Had another power cut last night (Tuesday) Seems to be a regular occurence. I am putting down under cultural, not phased about it! Sorry couldnt resist that.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Arrived-Survived and it is only Day 3!

The flight was uneventful up to the end. When we approached Accra the pilot came on the intercom to adise we couldnt land because of a severe storm and that we were to circle north for about half an hour. Half an Hour! hello, what about the fuel. About half an hour later when I was reliving "Die Hard 2" thinking we are flying on fumes, the pilot advises it is ok since he fueled for a double trip so as not to fuel for the return flight in Accra (He could have told us earlier) and that we would be circling with other landing flights for some more time. We landed 80 minutes late, but we did land. When I landed the rain gear of the landing crew looked heavy duty! A plastic bag!

The house is fine, reminds me of Taipei living from 98. The power gets a bit temporamental, shuts down when it wants, had a blackout Sunday night for the night, so sleeping in 30 Deg was a new experience (70% humidity).

One thing never changes in this world, Traffic. I could have been on the North Circular in London. Log jam going downtown into Accra. Only complication was the street traders who with an amazing smile navigate the cars almost with a dance trying to sell their products.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Visa

Went the High Commission last week. Stop, Go all the way around the North Circular to Highgate. Log jammed from inside the M25! Parking was impossible in Highgate. Then the queue, the great British institution to get to the Visa desk, that took 90 minutes, just to hand my forms and passport over. After this the warmest welcome of the day in London was the piece of paper stuck on the windscreen from the Traffic Warden. Thanking him profusely and asking was his charity in need of any special needs that we could further help with did occur to me but thought better of it and just drove away.

The outcome: I have a visa, multiple entry, a flight e ticket and ride to the airport.