Accra! Alexandra’s city, capital and home…
Accra is my city now! My capital! My home! I don’t know it very well. I don’t think I saw 5% of it. But what I saw definitely made me think. It made me think about life, about society, about being poor, about being rich, about education, health, security. It made me think about who I am and what I want from my life.
I live in Kaneshie. It’s an industrial area that has good parts, bad parts, and interesting parts. Just like any other neighborhood in any other city in the world. The heart of Kaneshie is Kaneshie Market, a place where you can find anything you want. People that fix shoes, people that sell fabrics, egg sandwiches, bad smelling fish, vegetables, seamstresses, tro tros, fried rice with chicken and salad, you name it, they will have it. In the evening it can be a dangerous place, if you are white and don’t pay enough attention.
Kaneshie Market was my first cultural shock. Nuno took me there in my first weekend in Accra to buy some of the stuff I needed. It was dirty, but then I discovered that there are many dirty places in Accra. It smelled like fish! Outside I could see tables where people were selling different stuff. It shocked me the amount of fish and raw meet on the tables and for the first time I asked myself how can people live like that or eat from there. I guess they just can!
Every day I wake up at 6 am. I can’t sleep anymore after 6. I, the person that always had problems waking up in the morning; I can’t sleep not even in weekends. I think I still work after Romanian time, 6 am in Accra, 9 am in Iasi. I would love to sleep more, but I just can’t.
I am taking a share taxi to work. It firsts stops to Circle (which is called actually Kwame Nkrumah Circle) If there is no traffic, I can get to work in 30 min. If there is traffic, it can take even an hour. In the worst traffic day I got here, I spent one hour and a half blocked in a cab, thinking that I might have malaria! In Romania I would most probably get to work in 15 min, by car.
Accra is one of the most crowded places I have ever seen. Lots and lots of people! Before I get the circle, I pass over the river. There is always a chance to see somebody peeing on the side of the road! I just turn my head on focus on other things!
I work in Asylum Down. I haven’t decided yet if it’s a nice area or not. For now, it’s just the place where the agency has its office.
Moving further on the Ring Road, the place to go is Osu. Osu is somehow a better neighborhood to live in. Many white people live there. That doesn’t necessary makes it safer. I heard of cases were thieves were using cabs to rob people. Stop the cab, threaten the victim, take the backpack. It hasn’t happen to me nor will it! In Osu you can find many restaurants and places to eat. I think one of the best and most expensive is Monsoon. They serve sushi and many continental dishes there. This month is closed for renovation. Other places in Osu: Pizza Inn, Duplex, Mamma Mia, Kuoala Supermarket, etc.
Other places in Accra: Accra Mall, Spintex Road (there are nice wooden sculptures there), Melting Moments, The Art Center, etc. (like I said, I only saw 5% of it)
Accra isn’t a city easy to love. At least for me, at this moment in time! They don’t have parks here, the traffic is horrible most of the time, and I can’t imagine myself taking a walk just for sightseeing. Somebody once told me not to try to recreate my Romania here. I try not to do that. There are things I appreciate about Accra, and there are things that I hate. I am sure it’s the same in every other city in the world!