Friday, March 9, 2012

Bolga market days

1. Hop on a tro at market square.  Wait anywhere from 10 mintues to an hour for the tro to leave town.  Get to Bolga in about 20-30 minutes depending on how many stops you make.  Alternative: bike to Bolga in about 50 minutes.  But now the thought of that makes me laugh/cry since it is so hot.  So I won't be biking to Bolga for a while.
2. Get off tro in Bolga.  Walk through the tro station, fend off all the "Where are you going?" questions.  I'M NOT GOING ANYWHERE.
3. Wind your way through town, go to either the bank, internet cafe or the International Traveler's Inn.  If you go to the bank, better get there early so standing in the line doesn't kill your whole day.  I've waited anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours in the bank.  Mostly it takes so long, because here there is no such thing as a "line."  Everyone is saving a spot for everyone else, everyone wants you to hold their place while they go do something else, people tend to just cut in line, saying they were there before.  Yeah, no you weren't.  Getting our allowance at the beginning of the month is the best and worst day of the month.  If you are going to the internet, you have to walk a ways, but its so worth it because there is air conditioning (absolutely glorious), and the connection is really fast.  If you go to Traveler's you will probably meet up with other PCVs, talk a while, get some food, stare at the other white people who come in to get food, check to see if there's mail for you.  PCVs have been coming to this place for years now, so the owners know Americans very well and they are really friendly.  You don't even need to speak Ghanaian English to them since they have talked with foreigners their whole lives.
4. I usually spend the whole morning at Traveler's if I don't go to the bank or the internet.  For lunch, whoever is in Bolga meets at the Blue Bar to eat lunch and grab a beer or mineral.  My go-to lunch is red red and yam chips from the red red lady that's by the Blue Bar.  Maggie, or as we call her, Maggie Cube, is the sweet lady who runs the Blue Bar.  The PCVs here have made good friends with her, so sometimes she'll give a mineral for free.  Wait around for the street meat to be ready, which is prepared by a man that works right next to the red red lady.  Street meat, YUM!
5.  In the afternoon, its time to actually get some errands done, get your fruits and veggies, eggs, oats, condensed milk, tin tomato, noodles, canned goods, and some wheat bread if you're lucky (its really hard to find).  You can go through the old market, which is behind the tro station, or the new market, which is between the tro station and Traveler's.  Its all about finding the best deals on veggies.  The old market has better prices on carrots, peppers and cabbage, but in the new market there's a sweet lettuce lady that always gives plenty extra lettuce, and there's also one lady you can buy potatoes from, expensive, but so worth it.
6. By about this time its probably a good idea to catch a tro home.  Wait another 10 minutes to an hour for the tro to fill and leave.  Get back to Kongo in 30 minutes, but usually it takes longer to get home than to go to Bolga because there are a lot more stops along the way where people want to get off.  If you ride a bicycle, it'll take about an hour to get home since there's a slight incline most of the way back. 

Market days are good for a lot of reasons- it gives you a little break from site, you see fellow PCVs that you can discuss problems with or talk about the work you're doing, you have more food options than in your village, and you can find many household goods you need.  These days are also exhausting because you do a lot of walking all around town, and people and children are constantly yelling at you or wanting your the time you get back to your village, you are very tired and happy to be home again.

1 comment:

  1. I was a volunteer in Bolga from 1969-1971 when the old market was the only market. We could only find onions, tomatoes, yams, garden eggs and in Sept, FraFra potatoes. I would have been dancing on air to find carrots or cabbage. I loved roaming the market, and because I lived in Bolga, it was a short ride on my motorcycle (legal back then) so I went every three days. As there were so few of us in what was then the Upper Region (no East or West) we had no real meeting place though we did frequent the Hotel d'Bull, now called The Black Star Hotel. It was the only place in town.

    I retunred to Ghana for the 50th last summer and saw your swearing in. It was a beautiful ceremony.I also went back to Bolga for 5 days and was thrilled to have a student recognize me even after 40 years. I ended up spending time with 6 of my former students from what used to be Women's Training College, now the secondary school. I'm going back next summer for 3 weeks but will stay in the village with one of my students.

    I'd enjoy meeting you volunteers and would be more than happy to spring for dinner and some beers.

    Kat Ryan
    Ghana 1969-1971