The E-Waste Mega Dump of Agbogbloshie

You are such a conscientious citizen of the world! You wouldn't dump that old computer in the bin. Heaven forbid! There's the ecological future of our glorious planet to think of, let alone your privacy! You're happy to drive ten miles to the nearest "e-waste" point! You'll go home, confident that you've done the right thing. It's nice to stop thinking about things once they're out of your hands... but although we hate to bust your bubble, we think you should know. Right now, your computer is in Agbogbloshie, Ghana. It's definitely not being deconstructed in an ecologically-sound manner. And it's probably being hacked into.

Continue ReadingThe E-Waste Mega Dump of Agbogbloshie

Back in Osu

But during our final week in Accra, our love/hate feelings for Osu shifted definitively toward "hate". Nothing we loved about our stay in Adabraka was present here: the buoyant nightlife, the nonchalant attitude of the locals, the easy acceptance into a new culture. Nope, in Osu, you're a foreigner. You'll go to restaurants marketed to foreigners. You'll be approached by street hustlers because you're a foreigner. And locals, who are understandably sick of foreigners, will treat you with a disdain you won't find anywhere else in Ghana.

Continue ReadingBack in Osu

The University of Ghana

The idyllic campus of the University of Ghana might be physically located in the north of Accra, but it feels worlds away. Very little traffic, an absence of litter, wide tree-lined streets, and a hushed atmosphere which provides a wonderful place for thousands of young Ghanaians to learn. We visited on a regular weekday, and fell immediately under the spell of this striking colonial campus. The university was founded in 1948, when Ghana was still a colony…

Continue ReadingThe University of Ghana

The Markets of Makola and Agbogbloshie

Spilling out onto endless blocks of downtown Accra, Makola is less a "marketplace", than a general way of life. You don't really "go to Makoka Market" ... you just walk down a street and it slowly starts happening around you, until reaching such a pitch that you can't even take a step without knocking over a plate of snails, or stepping into some poor woman's fufu bowl.

Continue ReadingThe Markets of Makola and Agbogbloshie

W.E.B. DuBois Center

The American scholar and author William Edward Burghardt DuBois spent the last two years of his life in Ghana, having been invited to return to Africa by Kwame Nkrumah, to work on the Encyclopedia Africana. We visited the house in which he lived, and which now serves as his mausoleum.

Continue ReadingW.E.B. DuBois Center

Adabraka Nightlife

Life in Accra can be stressful, I think most would agree. But regardless of how difficult the day had been, how unbearable the heat, or how aggravating the traffic, we always managed to go to bed in a fairly relaxed state of mind. Why? I think it had to do mostly with our post-sundown ritual, of finding a bar in Adabraka, and rinsing out the negativity build-up with a nice, cold beer.

Continue ReadingAdabraka Nightlife

Making Coal Pots in Jamestown

Maybe it's because we come from such industrial societies, but Jürgen and I are always interested in seeing craftsmen ply their trade. The only hand-crafted products back home are the friendship bracelets your nieces force upon you. So when we're in a place like Ghana and we see people producing actual goods, it's exciting. What are those, coal pots? Sure, we'll watch you make coal pots! The lucky subjects of our attention were a couple guys holed…

Continue ReadingMaking Coal Pots in Jamestown

Ghana Food Journal – Part II

The main enemy to our appetite in Accra hasn't been the threat of food-poisoning or diarrhea, but the oppressive heat. When it's so hot outside, and you're drinking gallons water to stay hydrated, hunger is a rare sensation. But we are brave heroes, who will let nothing hinder our mission to try all of Ghana's cuisine! If we're feeling full, well that's just too bad, because here's another big glop of fufu on its way down the…

Continue ReadingGhana Food Journal – Part II

Blessed By His Grace Culture Post

It's a common conceit that God is everywhere, but Ghana seems to have taken the idea to a very literal level. In the streets of Accra, you simply can't escape the Almighty spirit... or at least a reference to him, whether it's in the gospel singing starting daily at 5am, the fiery preachers pacing the bus aisles, or the billboards advertising the next astonishing spiritual event. But our favorite manifestation of Ghana's overt Christianity is in the…

Continue ReadingBlessed By His Grace Culture Post

Adabraka

When moving to a city which you've never visited, choosing the right neighborhood is a tricky task. You can do all the research you want, ask online forums, and scour Google Street View, but if you've not actually visited the place, you're never going to know for sure. It's a major gamble, and a wrong choice can really ruin an otherwise perfectly-planned trip. But sometimes luck runs in your favor. And we couldn't have hoped for a better spot to land in Accra, than Adabraka.

Continue ReadingAdabraka