January 2011 – Life in Ghana

This was the best trip ever! No, no…I really mean it! There was no busy agenda, just time to visit with our clients, learn more about them and their businesses and to visit with our staff. I am very spoiled these days because Haruna, my driver has become a good friend and adviser. He is always available to translate but he also lends me his ear when I need advice. Often it is important that I understand the culture before I make certain decisions.

When I arrived at the airport, I see Samuel, our Loan Administrator and Haruna’s bright smiles as they welcome me to Ghana…”Akwaba!” After 20 hours in the air and sitting in airports, their smiles and hugs are heartwarming. We drive to the lodge and then head out for dinner at a local restaurant with lively music.

Samuel has moved into his own apartment in Sapeiman, a short drive between the lodge and the J2W office. He is very excited because this is his first move away from home and he is looking forward to sharing his apartment with Matthew who is on his way to Ghana from Minnesota. Two young bachelors sharing a “pad” ! Samuel had prepared his apartment with music, of course, but there was the issue of a refrigerator and stove. As any young man, Samuel was prepared with the necessities! But we decided to go shopping for the miscellaneous items the next day. A stove and cold storage, plus a mattress for Matthew would set us back about $400 (650 Ghc). Samuel’s rent (paid one year in advance) is approximately $50 per month (70 Ghc) and includes 1 bedroom, kitchen, bathroom (shower), and living room.

One missing piece. The water had not been hooked up yet. So Matthew learned how to carry water on his head!!! Sort of. After a few days and several unintended showers, Matthew figured out how to carry a bucket of water from the well to the apartment.