Thursday was another long and successful day! We started the day off normally with a continental breakfast until we received notice that the Kontihene was coming to meet us (The Kontihene is the second in command of the Patriensa village). We had already planned for him to come however he had arrived more than two hours ahead of time, meaning we had to rush to call George, the driver, load our things, and sit through the rush hour traffic of Accra (which is much worse than I-35) to meet the Kontihene who had been waiting on us. So we were now experiencing the inverse of the theme experienced on the first day of waiting.
After the Kontihene finished settling the purchases of the equipment from the previous day, he came with us to sit in more traffic to pick up Francis, the hydraulic contractor, and make our way to Patriensa. Our van was completely packed. Our luggage, groceries, and generator took up the last two rows of seats, leaving only 8 seats for the 9 of us. The drive lasted about four hours, not including our stop for lunch, and stretched various terrains like small villages, hilly forests, and about an hour and a half of a dusty dirt road that was still under construction and abundant with bumps and potholes.
For lunch, we stopped at Linda D’or, a popular rest stop and restaurant in the middle of the route from Accra to Patriensa. The restaurant had a great variety of international food like Hawaiian pizza, cheeseburgers, Chinese, and others, as well as traditional Ghanaian food. I was more daring than on Day 1 and decided to go with fufu. The waiter laughed at me when I made the order. Fufu is like a huge, unbaked bread ball made from cassava, plantains, and other ingredients I’m not familiar with. The fufu sits at the bottom of a large bowl of stew with spicy peppers, fish oil, goat meat, and tons of other stuff I’ve never heard of. The reason Ghanaians tend to make fun of Obruenes (white people) for ordering fufu is that it takes a lot of skill to eat. You can only use your right hand and you are not supposed to chew the fufu because it has a bland taste. The goal is to dip your hand in the hot soup, pinch of some fufu with your index and middle finger, and scoop out some broth in your hand on its way to your mouth. I really enjoyed the soup and the goat meat but had a hard time swallowing the actual fufu and could never really get a handle on the whole eating process.
We arrived in Patriensa around 5pm, just enough time to tour the sachet building and get to know the community before dark. We began talking to kids and learning a lot of Twi. I can almost count to ten and say things like, “Hello, Good afternoon, How are you? Thank you, etc.” After a few hours of getting familiar with our plot of land and especially our neighbors, we met up with the Briquette team and drove to our hotel for a good night’s rest.
Our second day was much more relaxed and full of fun times. After getting better adjusted to the slow pace of Ghana time and enjoying our time with each other and the local people, we were able to really get to know each other as well as the community, and settle into our new environment. That’s all for now; you may not read this until several days after the fact, depending on when I can find some internet.