“I hope you have an experience that alters the course of your life because, after Africa, nothing has ever been the same.”

Rain is coming. It is supposed to rain all day, but the rain is welcomed as it is so dry. I have one errand. I have to go the grocery store to get a few items to fill my larder. I’m also thinking a Snickers bar.

Today is Africa day here on Coffee. I am wearing a t-shirt my sister gave me which says, “I don’t need therapy. I just need to go to Ghana.” My house is filled with my treasures from Africa, some I brought back and many I bought on subsequent trips. I have a metal chess set I bought in Ouagadougou, the capital of what was Upper Volta in my day and is now Burkina Faso. It was a weekend getaway destination for me. The station wagon would pick me up at my house which was on the road to Ouga. The road was laterite until close to the city where it was paved. I remember during the rainy season we had to get out of the car so it could pass through places where the road was flooded. In Ouga I stayed in a hotel with air conditioning. It felt like a resort. I dined at L’eau Vive, a wonderful restaurant run by nuns. I shopped at the market which was below street level in the middle of the city. It is no longer there. I really liked the city and went often, but now Burkina Faso is dangerous and violent because of extremists, a great loss.

In Accra, the capital of Ghana, Hausa traders used to sell their wares on High Street. I always stopped there hoping I could get bargain. I spoke enough Hausa to chat so I usually got a good deal which was probably not a good deal but felt that way to me. Accra had many Lebanese restaurants, one Chinese restaurant and a few western type restaurants. I always ate once a trip at the Chinese restaurant. It was a treat, a sort of expensive treat, but mostly I ate Lebanese food. It was cheap and good.

I used to shop at Makola Market, the largest market in Accra. That was where I bought my mosquito net which I never used. On the cloth side of the market, yards of folded cloth were stacked tall. I’d look for neat cloth patterns for dresses. I was usually lucky to find some. I still have some cloth stacked here in the den.

When I walk my house, I see memories everywhere.

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8 Comments on ““I hope you have an experience that alters the course of your life because, after Africa, nothing has ever been the same.””

  1. Birgit Says:

    Back home now and back to KTCC. I love Africa day, stories and music 🙂

    Dear book and travel expert, maybe you can help? I’m looking for a birthday gift, a book for my 90 year old aunt, she prefers to read in English. She loved to travel and has lived and worked in Canada, Germany and on Mediterranean islands, ancestors from Australia and England. No connections to Africa I think. Any ideas? She reads a lot so maybe not the most well-known choices and writing and content shouldn’t be too modern or violent.

    • katry Says:

      Does your aunt like fiction or non-fiction? Novels or illustrated books? I’m thinking she might like maybe Australia and England given her roots.

      • Birgit Says:

        fiction novels I think. I also thought about Australia but couldn’t find anything in the bookstore today, they don’t have many books in English but I can order.

      • katry Says:

        I’ll list some about Africa I’ve liked: The Famished Road by Ben Okri, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by
        Alexander McCall Smith, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah (About Ghana) and one of my favorite novels, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

      • Birgit Says:

        Thank you! Ladies’ Detective Agency is great, I saw it on TV and might still have a book. It was quite known here but my aunt was in Canada back then and doesn’t watch TV often so I might try. The Poisonwood Bible and The Beautyful Ones look interesting too, The Famished Road is probably too unfamiliar I think.

      • katry Says:

        I think the best novel is The Poisonwood Bible. The Ladies’ Detective Agency is a wonderful read.

  2. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    After the cold front passed by yesterday we only reached 79° with much lower humidity. My neighborhood was spared the large damaging hail that accompanied the hot humid air which was present yesterday.

    Your African adventures are a staple here and should remind all of us of the importance of living out your dreams. When each of us were young we had some kind of passion and dreams. Your passion was to travel the world and the Peace Corps gave you a lifetime opportunity to serve your fellow man and to see the world from their perspective and their area.

    Keep up telling us about your adventures in Africa because each of us can feel as though we were with you.

    Tonight I’m doing something unusual. I am meeting a few of my colleagues from work for a casual dinner at a local restaurant. I’m leaving my spouse at home because she would be bored to death as we will probably tell each other lies about our aviation careers with embellished stories. 🙂

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      I am always amazed at the adjectives you and I use to describe our weather.You said you only reached 79°. I would call that a really hot day. We are currently at 62° which is sweatshirt weather because of the dampness left over from the rain.

      I so love to remember and write about Ghana. Those were the most amazing two years of my life. Every former volunteer would describe them as life changing. That experience, as you wrote, gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream, the one I started when I was 11. From then on, I got to travel so much more of the world still dreaming the dream.

      That sounds like the best dinner. I love getting together with people I used to work with. We have so much we shared. I chuckled at your embellished stories!!

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