We have been based in the small town of Lawra for a little over two weeks now, and have adjusted to the dusty heat and settled into the slow pace of life. Our guesthouse is small and welcoming, and is tucked back along a dirt path that leads to a red dirt road just outside of town. Our room costs only about $8 per night, and we have access to a shared bathroom, living room and a small kitchen. Just outside the kitchen is a refrigerator filled with bottles of beer and trash bags of dead guinea fowl. Every few days, we wander into the kitchen to making our morning tea and are greeting by a group of women de-feathering and butchering a new round of birds…suffice to say, I would be happy to never smell another guinea in my life. I soon learned that if you close the refrigerator door too hard, a frozen guinea fowl or two will fall out of a hole in the back of the freezer ☺.
Although we usually pick up dinner from the hospital canteen, cooking breakfast and the occasional dinner has been quite an adventure. Last week, Emily and I decided to make corn on the cob. Considering that it only involves corn and water, we thought that it would be a simple task. Realizing that neither of us had any idea how to actually cook corn, Emily called her dad who looked up “corn on the cob” in a Betty Crocker cookbook…I don’t think Betty had ever used a Ghanaian gas stove, because 45 minutes later, our corn was still rock hard. After accepting defeat another 30 minutes later, we have learned to stick to the basics—pancakes, spaghetti with tomatoes and onions, lots of oatmeal, and pbj (always a classic).
At dusk, after we have made our evening walk back from the hospital with a picnic basket full of rice balls and groundnut soup, fufu, or my personal favorite, red-red (plantains and bean stew), we are greeted by the guesthouse’s night watch man. The kind old man is as skinny as a pole and I don’t know what is less threatening…him snoring on the couch or the little plastic slingshot that he keeps by his side. In addition to the fact that Lawra is possibly the safest and most welcoming place that I have even been to, we were assured by the group of young immigration officers who stay in a neighboring building (and spend their days working out and parading around in their underwear) that they are there for us, night and day, if we need…anything.