Aburi and Hillbury

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If you are fed up with crowded and polluted Accra  city center, if you feel like breathing better and cooler not too far from the town, I really advise you to go to Aburi.

After you left Accra, you drive through the green hills for about 40 mn until you arrive in the centre of Aburi. The botanical garden in Aburi was started by the British and opened in March 1890.

The Botanical garden in ABURI

It is not expensive to enter with your car ( 2.5€ )and driving into it, there is a line of tall trees that makes you feel like you are in Beverly Hills :

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Then you can have a nice walk through Aburi Botanical Garden. Due to the altitude of Aburi, the climate is a really cooler than neighbouring Accra.

However, if you wanted to have a long walk it is not for you since it is quite small…

As you can see , you will discover the ficus tree which is so big that you can enter in its trunk!

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The ficus tree

There are more than 350 different plants species which are growing  in Aburi. There is a romantic lane, “Lovers Lane” where roses are growing, and an area with the “brown gold” of Ghana: cocoa.

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There are many huge termite mound too ! Just have a look !

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a termite mound

The botanical garden is a great place to relax and take “fresh” air, and watch to birds:

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If you want to look to huge majestic trees one after the other, and take a nap under trees in a cool temperature, then you will enjoy the place.

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Moreover, I advise you to plan a picnic with friends and children which can be perfect It will be a great place to let the kids run around without any fear : there is a “retired “helicopter which is perfect for them to play inside too.

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There are small eating places within the gardens too but it doesn’t seem like good ones. You should come with your own food or go and eat in Hillbury, a greatplace that I love.

Hillbury Hotel

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If you prefer going to the restaurant with your family or friends and rest to Hillbury resort, you will discover a  majestic hotel in the spectacular Akwapim mountain range.

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The views is amazing over the surrounding mountains and you an rest in the swimming pool in front of the evergreen valley of the majestic view.You will thenn feel better, escaping the crowded places, and most of all you will enjoy good  food.

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On the afternoon, you can also go to a farm not far from Aburi center where you can buy fruits and vegetable and see their pigs too!

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Then after all this, I am sure that you will come back to Accra with good energy 🙂

My actions for Beacon House with Bolloré and Numéro Uno

MY PROJECTS IN HELPING BEACON HOUSE :

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After giving zumba lesson My second aim was to find and research donators from expat community and other sponsors with companies:

As you may know, I am graduated in Marketing and Communication so I could use my experience for a good cause.

I proposed Romana to find some partners to help the orphanage with its everyday needs which are mostly having food and pay for school for the 20 kids (school is expensive an not free like in France !)

I first began to ask my own friends who had tall kids and do not used anymore their clothes, shoes, toys and teddy bears… I started to collect things to redistribute to the orphenage like this with always good intentions and love. An very very soon, within 2 weeks, with word of mouth (or god?!), mothers from french school started asking me on morning when leaving their kids to school, what the orphenage needed so that they would give to me.

I started to be the link between donators and Beacon House and I was happy that french expats (mostly women) had confidence in me and “my” orphanage Beacon House without seeing anything but just believe in myself. And, most of all, I was not only given clothes but also bed for baby, a bathtub, highchair, a stroller and food which was the most needed for everyday life and follow the link to see their need for food to feed  20 people to feed in Beacon House !!!!

I’d like to THANK all of  YOU by taking now this opportunity to tell you again:

THANK YOU ALL, MY FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES OR ACQUAINTANCES  FOR YOUR GENEROUS  DONATIONS WHATEVER BIG OR SMALL, GIVEN WITH HEART, WHICH I BELIEVE IS THE POINT.”

Thank you Lova, Brigitte, Noreen, Pauline, Marine, and Maria, my 6 closest relation friends from Accra and also my spouse – :  I will never tell you enough times how much I  LOVE you and how you are important in my everyday balance- 

Thank you to  make me always believe in myself, who supported me when I lost faith last week, and gave me both material help and food like Brigitte who still prepare with LOVE, and above all fresh fruits “baby sauce”  for baby Matthew who is nearly 8 months.

-“He enjoys it so much” told me Barbara, his “mother of heart“!!!

:):):)

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I go on with saying thank you to my best friends from France, Caroline, Vanessa, Emilie, Cécile and Florence and  others from all parts of France, who, even far from 4000km, even if I did not see these people  from my primary or business school (Capucine, Hélène, Réjane, Sarah, Nassira, Virginie, Delphine, Claire…) , who still support and encourage me a lot from the begining and are waiting for me next week in Paris to give me also  basic medecines, and material support… to Beacon House.

I will now say thanks to all mothers from french school, who I knew before being a volunteer ot not, who talked of me to their friends also from Accra or France :

 Anne-Marie  and Corinne  – woman with such a big heart, who gave me hut , swing, huge boxes of pinapple, books and shoes, and even 3 rabbits !!!!!

 

And of course : my friends Mongia and Amy : who together ,  gave me the opportunity to do an amazing ” Beads activity” with beads bought from TK beads near Accra. And thanks Mongia for your listening and understanding especially during the last weeks…

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And also Sophie L,  (for all toys, rings, clothes…) , Clotilde M.G (thanks for  the cosy, apple sauce for Matthew, ect….,  Virginie F.S.G , who give me from France thanks to Stéphanie M medecines, but also a huge drawing map for all, it was so great !! Thanks Virginie for your support, you have faith in humanity, I ‘ll pray for you and family health with all my heart and conviction) ,  Floriane (for bathtub and clothes) , Marjorie (for the indispensable baby chair) , Suzel, (for giving her own clothes to the ladies working in the orphenage),

 

And also Myriam, Nathalie O.E, Sophie, Servanne, Madonna, Arlette and Frédérique for you listening and your donations too ( I hope not to forgot someone, if so, just tell me, I will add your name !!!!)

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AND … at last but not least….

MY FIRST huge donator from Accra now : is the owner of “NUMERO UNO” shop (in Marina Mall).

Without these mothers, I would not have believed that I could find “more and more and more… donations from here and France and Belgium “, they gave me the energy to go on forwards till what occured  this last monday, April 19th,  with Numero Uno and its huge clothes donation, as you can read on my “projects for Beacon House” part.

I showed the mothers donators pictures of the kids with their clothes, playing with toys they gave, and sleeping in a brand new stroller. Everybody thanks me and were thanks back by Beacon House with a photo letter with thanks signature from the  kids.

Why not trying to do even more now?

This wonderful spirit of generosity thanks to all expat friends and others made me think that many would like to help for one cause in which they believe it is good.

HERE ARE THE LATEST NEWS ACTIONS AND RESULTS  :

One saturday, while going to the supermarket I enter in “Numero Uno” which is a clothes shop in Marina Mall in Airport area. It has from babys to women with different brands such as Zara, ect…

I was looking for Afia and Regina birthday present and I was served by the director, Vera, Who is a lebanese having 3 shops in Accra area.

Speaking with her, I explained her my needs and that the kids were the orphans from Beacon House.

She told me that she kwew someone too volunteer in another orphanage that she helps by giving her clothes that she more sell from old collection or with small defects.++

As she goes on, she talked me about her flooded warehouse which occured one month ago I think. Its clothes could no more be sold now in hers shops and so she would be pleased to donate it for a small and human size association as Beacon House. Clothes are in cardboard packaging 30 mn from Accra and I would just need a big pick up to take it all and resistribute to differnets orphenages.

I was so glad to meet her and hear her proposal !

I replied with big smile that I will do that : make a commitment personally so that I can show her it is well done and so that it benefits to the orphanage I am volunteer. First I would give some for them and after I would find other reliable small associations to also help other orphans with the help of Romana who has many contacts with small association helpings orphans in remote villages in different part of Ghana as you can the on the link beofre..

ANOTHER PARTNER FOR THIS DONATION

I asked my friends if one of them had a pick up explaining “Numero Uno” big donations.

One of them told me I should ask for Bolloré Africa Logistic pick- up , since I told you the wife of Ghana Bolloré manager used to be a volunteer for Beacon House till march 2016.

And the next day I had a positive reponse for that!

Everything was  going perfect!

Then, monday, March, 18th, I went to the warehouse of Numero Uno with Bolloré Africa Logistic pick up, and take the big clothes donations!

I find friends to help us in washing some clothes each which have some wate task (I asked already  on facebook and tahnks for all your “Yes” ). I’m so happy for that too!

Here are the steps through photos!

First, meeting Vera, Numero Uno manager shop,  to go to her Warehouse outside Accra, with Bolloré pick up.

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Then we collected 100 boxes of clothes :

 

AND AT LAST WE ARRIVED IN BEACON HOUSE!!!!!!

 

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ARTS CENTER in Accra

Arts & crafts in Accra

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AFRICAN ARTS AND CRAFT in Accra, Ghana

West Africa is rich in arts & crafts, and you can see this art in Ghana, in Accra, the capital.
Art for real fullfilment and love does not traditionally exist in Africa : everything that was crafted had some purpose behind it.

In Ghana, you can find beautiful hand woven textiles, old and new beads, brass works, gold jewelry, ceramics, paintings, sculptures, and wood carvings.

ARTS CENTER  is not the only place to buy regional art, but where that sale takes place depends on what kind of story you want to tell about the purchase. ARTS CENTER, TETTEH QUARSHIE ART MARKET near Airport area., village Markets, Wild Gecko (a shop mostly dedicated to expats), Global Mamas (clothes shop in OSU) are the places to find it.

ARTS CENTER

The Centre for National Arts and Culture, popularly known as Arts Centre, is located next to the Kwame Nkrumah Musoleum, off the High Street in Accra. The center became very popular in the 80’s for its leisure and entertainment.

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Arts Centre is a wonderful maze of more than 100 stalls which have all a number on the top of their roof for te ones outside.

When my car’s door opened, handshakes and a hearty welcome to the Accra welcomed me in Arts Center.

However,  it does not look like very nice, big, orderly building…. Rather, it is a crowded collection of vendor stalls who will do anything to invite you to come and see their products: joke, sing, tug at sleeves… from your car parking.

TIPS TO HAVE A GOOD SHOPPING EXPERIENCE 

Visiting the Arts center may be an exciting experience for tourists who are not used to the aggressive but thrilling negociation process … Hawkers attack from all sides as soon as you arrive, but if you’re not exhausted by the scrum you can find cheap and nice gift to buy!

A tips : if you say nothing, theses vendors will  take you to their stall unless you asked them nicely several times. So try to be hard when saying NO because after that you will have one then 2, and 3,4,5 vendors following you saying “Please, sister, have a look at my shop!” !!

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Tourists equal big money and for market sellers, this competition for foreign dough can easily turn into shouting matches about somebody’s mama. Most of all, they sell the same products among craf staf, jewelry, fabrics…

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Personnaly, I have been there several times there ewith friends and last time (for this article) I had Thomas, my driver. He came inside the Arts Center with me who was especially helpful in negotiating with me in their local language and also to take me pictures while looking to crafts product and negociating too:)

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We walked along the “building,” which is really a cluster of stalls, towards the back, past old men leaning on scraggly wooden canes and bored children sitting in the dirt, glancing our way with feigned interest.

All kinds of handicrafts imaginable may be found in this market.

The items range from wood carvings, traditional musical instruments, cane and raffia products, leather ware, gold, silver and bronze jewelry, beads, clay products, antiques, paintings to ivory products, and many more.

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These items are brought to the markets from various parts of the country and also from other countries within the West African sub-region including, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Senegal and Nigeria.

The arts and craft market provides employment opportunities for many people. Skills have been developed in carving, painting, designing, metal works to service the market.

The buyers are made up of those purchasing a few items to customers who place orders for large quantities of various products. A lot of buyers are tourists and other foreigners visiting Ghana.

CRAFTS CHEAP PRICES

I already bought many craft things for my family, friends and ourselves.

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For exemple, I bought a “Chief Chair” for less than  400 GHC (100€) in a beautiful wood.

You can negociate a lot because they have the same products in different stalls and also you will n ot find many other tourist in the market!

 

For a salad tongs you will pay 5€, for a small elephant (6 cm) 8 €, I also bought a table for 10€ and a big giraf cost 75 €.

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These african comb or stick cost me 4 € each.

All this is very well made and is cheap I think.

BUYERS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD

Art center is in fact one of the most important tourist attraction sites in the City of Accra and in Ghana. For this reason, some international famous people visiting Ghana for  official assignments are taken to the market to see and perhaps buy some of the crafts on display. These customers spend hundreds of thousands of cedis including foreign exchange at the place.

Because the craft market is very old and there’s been no investment in infrastructure, the structures housing the exhibits are very dilapidated. It is expected the safety and comfort of visitors would be better guaranteed when the rehabilitation and expansion takes place. The multi million dollar project would include the construction of market stalls, workshops, storerooms, restaurants, communication centers, show rooms and modern places of convenience. The Greater Accra Handicraft Dealers Association was formed in 1994.

Visitors at the market told that the market is very popular in Europe and America because of the variety and quality of the handicrafts available. Some of them said the items that they purchase are sent home as gifts for their loved ones and relations while others explained that they buy and resell in America and Europe.

HOPE YOU ENJOY THE JOURNEY!

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AND THAT YOU ARE WILLING TO DISCOVER THIS TYPICAL ARTS CENTER IN ACCRA !

Shai Hills reserve

Shai hills reserve, peaceful place 50mn from Accra

Shai Hills Resource Reserve is les than an hour north of Accra bordering the Akosombo road. The reserve  is 51 square kilometres. This makes this location a small  but the closest wildlife viewing areas to Accra.

Shai Hills is a plain by topography but has outcrops of 5 hills. The hills in the Shai area is base to several stone quarries.

Shai Hills also has rich history and heritage of Ga people : the hill was home to the ancestors of the people of Shai and still contains vestiges. It was the British colonial masters who forcibly expelled them in 1892 on the allegation that the natives were committing ritual murders.

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Its vegetation is a combination of open and wooded grassland, savanna covered plains.   To date 31 mammals, 13 reptiles and 175 bird species have been identified in the reserve.

The baboon troop at the front gate can be very amusing, but be warned these are dangerous animals and they love to snatch your unattended personal belongings!

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Two ostriches are also there and they come to you when the guards call them with a “specific noise”.

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Best times are in the evenings or during sunset. The lighted city skyline is a sight to behold.

During morning, you may meet Kob antelope, bushbuck or monkeys, although the monkeys here are not habituated like at Tafi Atome or Boabeng-Fiema.

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You can travel the park in a 4X4 vehicle or on foot with an armed escort from the hours of 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Visitors can climb up the summit of the caves and the inselbergs in the reserve to view the plains of Accra.

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Wonderful view from the rock

Three caves can be found in the reserve and these are Adwuku, Sayu and Hieweyu.

These caves provide an excellent home for bats which will spend the entire day sleeping only to wake up in the night.

It is an easy clim (look, I even did it with my  flip flop!) It takes 10 mn for the 1st one (the photo underneath) and one hour the one on the above photo)

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Crocodiles, snakes and tortoises can also be spotted …they say…. but noone of my friends have seen them already !!

The bird life in the park is something really important since migratory birds can be seen :

There are the Senegal parrot, grey plantain eater, hornbill, red northern bishop and violet turaco are in the Shai Hills reserve. Other birds to be found in Shai Hills Resource reserve include Senegal cuckoo, stone partridge and francolin. This makes the reserve a bird lover’s paradise.

At night, we went to sleep to Stone Lodge , at 5km from the reserve, a very nice hotel in the middle of the contryside with a nice swimming pool and quite good meals.

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Ghanaian fantasy coffins

Ghana “where anyone can get out in style”

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Which coffin do you fancy?
Who wants to visit death on vacation ?

Believe it or not, a visit to Ghana’s coffin makers is on most tourists’ itineraries here!!

imageI would have never find alone the Kane Kwei Coffins oldest shop in this road near Labadi Beach without Accra Accueil visit last year…
In European cultures, we cremate our dead or bury them in a simple pine box.

But coffins are a lot fancier in Ghana, where the Ga people believe that life continues in another world after death, and they want it to carry on in style.
And while a funeral lasts just a few hours, since eternity is, well, eternity, it’s important to spend it in style!!

In April 6th, 2016,  I had an interview with Eric whose grandcather created the first fantasy coffin. You can learn more on their Ghana coffin history website.

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He explained me everything and i will share it now with you :

First: its ORIGINS BELIEVES

The reason why mostly all ghanaian use such coffins is their religious beliefs regarding the afterlife.
They believe that death is not the end and that life continues in the next world in the same way it did on earth.

The social status of the deceased depends primarily on the importance, success and usage of an exclusive coffin during a burial.

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During the delivery to the customer, the coffin is enveloped of kraft paper or cloth because tradition wants work to be revealed only at the time of funeral.

AND ITS MEANING

They often symbolise the dead people’s professions. but also what they did for a living, their hopes, their vices…

Certain shapes, such as a sword or stool coffin, represent regal or priestly insignia with a magical and religious function. Only people with the appropriate status are allowed to be buried in these types of coffins.

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Some animals, such as lions, cockerels and crabs can represent clan totems. Similarly, only the heads of the families concerned are permitted to be buried in coffins such as these.

A fisher will be buried in a coffin in the form of fish or in a fishing boat, a professor in a fountain pen balk, etc.

The one who used to ask for a “beer shape “coffin was first not well seen by ghanian…but these years now, it is no more seen as an hard drink person but a person enjoying festivity in life. The ghanaian who asked the bottle of coke or fruit juice were working in theses companies.

The aspirations of the missing person are reflected by the coffin which is intended for him: the plane for instance was never ordered to bury a pilot, but resides a symbol of distant trips testifying a social success. Same for luxury cars.

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Fish are very popular designs–the fishing industry is big here–as are Bibles, the only fantasy coffins allowed in churches in this deeply religious country.

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Making the coffins

Fantasy coffins are produced only to order. Carpenters have several apprentices who allow the them to make several coffins simultaneously or all work on a single one in urgent cases.
imageThe coffins are generally made from white light local wood and not very expensive as the wawa or Nyame Dua. It will take two to six weeks to produce the coffin.

The woodworking is done using the simplest tools, without the aid of electrical ones.
Building is more or less complex according to the form of the model, the desired level of details.

The coffins of cylindrical or approached form (fish, mammals, fountain pen) are accomplished as a model of subject without worries of the opening intended to accept the body. This one will be later cut up.

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The painting of the figural coffins can take up to two days to finish and are painted by the head of the workshop, local sign writers…. who usually decide together the coffin’ s patterns and colours.

imageOne shop may produce 20 coffins by months. There are about 10 in Accra.

In a country where many people live on barely $2 a day, no expense is spared for the most important part of life: death. With prestige riding on the size and extravagance of the funeral, family members collect, borrow, and donate money to send their loved ones off to the afterlife in style. Funerals can cost up to a year’s salary.

ERIC COFFIN EXHIBITIONS ABROAD

Eric’s grandfather was the one who had the idea of such coffin, first for himself and then it spread in all the villages around …until Accra.

Now Eric is proud to open one more studio in Kumasi this year 2016.

In 2009, he was asked to participate in a moovie for coca cola ads for Spain to explain ghanaian coffins  can see on youtube the Coca cola coffin TV ad.
Since then, he travelled a lots and still makes exhibition all over the world : in Russia in 2010’s (he did a Vodka bottle ;), Korea …. he sells one for $5000 to $10000 dollars now but it takes him a month to create it himself alone in the host country !

Eric also wants to deliver “messages” to people thanks to its fantasy coffin :
For exemple, in the US, in 2011, he created a coffin in shape of a gun, and they cut it in 2 during the exhibition to show and ask people to stop violence.

Another one was to preserve environment : it was a “fish coffin” with plastics inside. Plastic kills fish when they eat that in the sea…and coffin means death of course..
A very symbolic art !

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The coffins cost between $300 and $1000 for ghanaian defunt with trees from kumasi uch as “wawa”and galeries or museums buy coffins up for $10,000 with wood from mahogany or “emery” wood.

 

Last Eric ideas for a tourist gift:

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Recently, ghanaian have recognized the quirkiness of their coffins design and have reacreated them in gift size for tourists.

There is now a roaring trade in the smaller version !

Hope that if you come one day in Ghana, you will take time to discover this art with fantasy ghanaian coffins and talk to  Eric in his coffins workshop !

Being volunteer in an orphanage

Let’s help those in needs in Africa! 

Since I did not work all day, I had time to give to an association …

I decided to help in an orphenage since I like being with children, playing with them and teaching them things .

A friend of mine was already a nurse in Beacon House orphenage…

So one day, I followed her in this orphanage and I started a “love and helping” adventure.

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  • What I do in Beacon House as a volonteer :

My friend who introduce me had to moove out  from Africa… so my first mission in the orphenage was to prepare the medecines for those kids who have VIH (25% of the orphans in this orphenage). She explained me and since then I do it all wednesday for the whole week. I also go to hospital with them once a monthe to see the doctor who take car of the one with VIH.

But after this, I started to find games such as puzzle, and also dancing on zumba style!

Volunteers can help with school (homework, tutoring, reading ), they can propose arts and crafts, organizing a game, sports and other projects per their skills. If you have other hobbies (such as me music and danse) you can propose it to the orphanage director for approval and just start !

I already started to have idea to collect some clothes, toys, shoes, and medecines because they were in needs og basic ones.

I send a letter to Accra to be publish on their own website and I had so many respond after that at school! And by word of mouse, I get even more that I could imagine!

After this, I put  an album on my facebook page for sharing photos of kids playing with toys and wearing clothes they gave me for them.

Many friends from France also answered my call by sending me medecines, clothes, toys…so that I can return it when i will be in France ( in the end of  April for holidays ).

It is wonderful to see their smiles, energy!

  • How is everdyday life in Beacon House orphenage ?

They are 23 lovely children there : the smallest baby  is 6 months and the oldest child is 21.

Most of them are about 5 to  7 years old.

I also learned their everyday life such as duty :

Each day, 2 or 3  kids have to clean different parts of the house inside and outside. So there is a planning sticked on the wall to kwnow who do what and when ! Good organization! However, sometimes, one kid refuse to do it, since this is the way, the director of the orphenage give a punition : he will be forbidden to go to school the day after and he will have to clean even more!

Morevover, after school both girls and boys have to  wash with hands their clothes since they do not have a washing machine here.

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One lady prepare food for dinner for the 23 children. Most of the time they eat rice with something else like chicken, eggs.

Their plates are filled very well!   However, they ask donors  to give fruits and vegetables for having vitamins since it is expansive here.

They have a land 35 minutes from Accra (where they will moove on in few months) where they already try to become self- sufficient and they have built a chicken coop  (thanks to american donors) : they produce eggs for them to give protein for energy  and even to sell now to get an income for them to spend in other food expenses ! Other projects such as producing  their own food are in progress :they have already  planted orange, lemon, avocado, and mango trees to provide fruits for the home. A great idea !

They all go to the ghanaian school wich is not far  and they go there by walking. They start at 8am and finish around 3pm. They both learn english and french (since Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso,  are close to Ghana).

  • Rules for adoption and link to help all around the world

Adoption is limited in Ghana right now. An american lady asked for adopting th 6 months baby (Matthew) but governement refused. It is so sad for him to miss to have parents and better condition of living , education and hobbies…

  • Changing myself, and being aware of reality 

This experience makes me grow and gives me a great joy, each time I enter the orphanage, a little boy or girl is running to kiss me and giving a big hug, and the others are following with their “mumies”working there with big great smile.

It is like if I was a Mrs Santa Claus giving love, hugs, cuddles and bringing  fruits, toys, clothes..

Helping the most disavantaged is really a self-fulfilment for me. I feel like growing into a better person, and changing my point of view of the world, being more aware of the opposed lives on earth.

Poverty or / and being an orphan is hard to see but their everyday smile gives me a beautiful lesson of life!! How wonderful they are inside and their courage, strenght to struggle.

I you feel like being to be a volunteer, here is a link of a website to  know and find how  to be a volunteer in all the world:   workaway.

It is really wonderful to see how love is strong from them to you and the from you to them !!

“LOVE IS EVERYWHERE “

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Bojo Beach -40 mn drive from Accra-

WEEK END IS STARTING AT LAST  😉 !!!

It is time to rest out of Accra!!

Enjoy Bojo Beach !

 

At 40 minute drive from Accra,  just past krokobite beach and you get to is this little piece of paradise to escape at last from the crowded and noisy Accra.

Here is the nearest beach from Accra : BOJO BEACH !

Entry fee is Ghc 15 but be aware that  you are not allowed to take your own food or drink.

You will walk on a stone trail to a large canoe-type boat which will takes you across the lagoon to the white sand of Bojo beach.

Then it is time to rest and enjoy the sea with a wind …If you want , you can ask a table 10 meters from the sea, without nobody in front of you ! Just amazing 🙂

 

You can order food such as  tilapia, chicken, jollof, yam chips, but also french fries, octopus,  etc. Smoothie, Pizzas are also available. Prices are correst (around 35 GHC the chicken /french fries meal and 2 GHC the bottle of water).You should try to order as soon as you arrived so that you will get your meal for lunch -and not for dinner-     😉

You can also have fresh coconuts  for 2 GHC to quench your thirst after swimming or having a walk along the beach.

The sea is quite clean, the beach all around the restaurant also, but all garbage are hidden in holes under the sand…… you can see in front of you the man “cleaning” by digging a hole and put all the litter inside….

The “attraction” here is to see the fishermen firing their nets in front of you. They are about 20 men doing this :

 

 

20160221_102415
Small fishes to sale

You can talk to them and they will love to explain their work.

Today, I met Francis a ghanaian from accra, who come every week-end to Bojo Beach to go fishing from 6 am to 11 am. During the week , he works as a security guard in Accra Mall.

They sell their frying of fished on markets or to you if you want of course.

==>But what I saw is so so so small fishes ….

The waves tends to be strong and you have to swim well and dive under each wave coming to you … it can be quite difficult to stay along inside because of it. The sea is hot and you feel good inside!

Some people also play in the volley ball court but it is so hot that I did not even tried once!

Be awared also that music start from 2 pm from the restaurant : so if you feel like dancing, and love music,  it is perfect !! But if you want to rest in a quiet place,  it is no more possible. So you should choose to come early  and leave early !

On the afternoon, you can have a walk and discover all the colored fishing boat in wood, and meet ghanaian tidying up and folding fishing nets,  and also children collecting crabs to cook ! Since it can be far, I had the security guard following me.

At the end of the day, you can take advantage of the light turning down with the silver reflections of the sea…

Colored fishing boats along the coast are particularly wonderful at sunset.

Do not hesitate to  go to Bojo Beach !

Leave me me comment if you have liked this article ! Thank you !!

What about Expat Women career and work?

What is hiding behind an “expat woman”…

When you decide to follow your husband or boyfriend for expatriation, you know your life is going to be radically different and you will be called an “expat woman”.

I prefer saying ” women follow men” because it is primiraly the case for 90% according to a survey.

What about working abroad although you are in Africa?

 

  • First of all : working abroad will teach you to become adaptable and creative!

If you want to be more “creative”, work on the other side of the world :

I really think that discovering another way to work – with so many differences such as language, culture, time notions, space notions, way of thinking, understanding and realising staff/things –  is the best way to adapt yourself, developping an open minded and high capacity of understanding other people.

No matter the nationalities and the countries, you will always have to adapt to them by understanding  their cultural background and being creative to make business or anything else together. And you will start from the beggining when you will change from world’s region : Asia, America, Europe and Africa have all different ways to behave in business job.

“Cultures come with new norms and values and ways of looking at things, immersing yourself in a culture gives you proxies for biculturalism. Juxtaposing these two different worldviews lets you come up with new possibilities.” Adam Grant

  • Do women really need to work here?

You will have the first chance (at last !!) in your life to stop working ! Or even at least for a while until………… So if you choose to take advantage of the life without working you can feel like being in holidays, being finally able to see your children, taking time to cook more for your family, and above all looking after yourself for the first time since ages 😉

You have followed your husband because  he is supposed to have a better job (I’m only talking about €, £, ¥, $ !!!) , and your apartment and car will also be paid  by the company…..

Moreover, if you finally find a local work paid in GHC be aware that it would be useless for getting more money. At the same time, if the reason why you want to work is to have an activity, just do it !

But afterall you will have to find some activities (or at least one) to have something to do in order to avoid loneliness & a boring life !

However, according to my experience here (but I’m speaking personally), to stop working -because you are abroad- can be also very difficult to survive after a while. You will no more get up every morning thinking how to dress and make up to meet your collegues at 8 o clock and have a working purpose and activities everyday…

  • Is it difficult to get a job in Ghana ?

West African countries like Ghana and Senegal are said to be welcoming….. but…………

The problem is that you should have already moved there to have a chance to get a job. Employers receive so many false assurances from expats pledging to be on the next flight out that preference is usually given to people they meet in person.

Another drawback is that some West African nations may have quotas for issuing work visas to foreigners, with some smaller companies only being allowed one at a time.

On the other hand, reports suggest that anyone with technical skills such as engineering can expect the bureaucratic mist to miraculously lift : the oil and gas sector offers rick pickings, particularly in established countries such as Nigeria and Algeria…

But isn’t it mainly job for men ?!?!?!

==> Consequently, you can now understand that for women, it is not easy to find a work in Africa, except if you work for the embassy (few offers), school (be a teacher) or if you are for your account (psychologist, physiotherapist…)  and that you want to open your  cabinet/ office here. That is possible.

And above all, you have to check if you are allowed or not to work in the hosting country. It is stuck in your Visa passeport Permit. 

My Personnal experience in Ghana…

A SINGLE QUESTION :

Who was I  before being an expat woman …? ” 

Well, FIRST OF ALL I used to be INDEPENDENT !!!!

I was working in Paris, France for a famous natural cosmetic brand called L’Occitane en Provence in the center of this beautiful city which I love so much…

I had responsabilities being a District Manager in the city center of Paris : I was “the boss” of  more than 15 salespersons and 3 shops managers.

So when I choose to quit my job, I was on the one hand happy to be free for the first time of my life and on the other hand  I was scared that I miss my work, colleagues, and stop being proud of myself.

“Will it be worth it …or not…? ”

Nobody could answer that question at that time…

 

MAY 2014… my arrival in Accra

skydiving

BUT WHAT CAN I DO HERE NOW ?????

At my arrival in Accra, I started quicky to be ALONE in my “lovely” house, knowing noone, being LOST in the crowded and noisy capital of Ghana, Accra.

My boyfriend was working from 7 am to 7 pm  so I had yo find out what to make with my two hands and head!

First, I really had difficulties to adapt: I MISSED France, family, friends, colleagues, Paris, my appartment, my dance lessons, my “own” bars of preference , restaurants, Zara and FNAC shops, theatres, Opera Garnier, cinemas and all what Paris could offer… EVERYTHING in fact! And what about here??? Well………. φ φ φ φ φ…….

HOW could I make to go out of this mess ?

==> I HAD to find  a WORK and other  daily ACTIVITIES to integrate and spend time.

July… hummm… no french expat is here … no activities neither … OK, it is summer holidays… well… one solution… (you are following me?!?!!!)  BECAUSE I do not want to commit suicide alone here.

So  I “cried” to my boyfriend :

-“please, my lover, I am sorry but I beg you, can I go back to France for the summer  and I will come back in September ? ……” 

…….

“one angel is very very slowly passing” we would say in french which means “There is a hushed silence “

-OK then… you are sure? You don’t want to stay with me?

-Well………

September 2014, 3 months later…

french parachute

3 months after my arrival, (yes, you know now that all expat women are going back for the whole summer holidays to their country, but I understand why now…). and with good new motivation and a parachute this time , I landed in Accra happy to find my boyfrien again .

I first tried to help in organizing “Accra Accueil” activities and visits with the french association. I met french expat girls and start to discover with them the city, the culture and typical things of Ghana.

So yet, it was a good beggining afterall…  but after 6 months…. the same questions… were coming back to my mind….

I was missing something only given by work : the  Pride to be active and independent.

“WHAT ABOUT GOING BACK TO SCHOOL ? 

BUT THIS TIME FOR HELPING AND  TEACHING CHILDREN ?”

“WHAT ABOUT BEING A VOLUNTEER IN AN ORPHENAGE?”

….

 

Contrary to all expectations, the life changed for me from that moment.

At last, I felt like waking up again …!

 

namaste

Welcome to Ghana ” Akwaaba” !

DEAR READERS, AKWAABA !!! (WELCOME !!!)

Here are short direct information you should know about Ghana:

You can go to Ghana wikipedia information “Routard” french travel guide , Lonely planet Guide to know more.

The Republic of Ghana, located in West Africa along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, is a sovereign unitary presidential democracy.  It has a population of approximately 27 million, with different ethnic people, languages and religions.

  • DEMOGRAPHY

98% of ghanaian are Black Africans. In 2010, most of the 24.2 million inhabitants were predominantly citizens of the Ashanti territories.

The Government of Ghana states that the official language of Ghana is English, and is spoken by 67.1%. However, there are 11 other ethnic languages (Twi, Fente, Gâ, Mossi…).

In 2010, 71% were Christian (29% are Pentecostal, 18% Protestant and 13%Catholic). In 2013, 18% were Muslims. Traditional (indigenous) beliefs are also practiced.

Life expectancy is 65 years old. Ghana has a universal health care system strictly designated for Ghanaian nationals, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)Ghana’s universal health care system has been described as the most successful healthcare system on the Africa continent by the renowned business magnate and tycoon Bill Gates. As of 2012, the HIV/AIDS prevalence was estimated at 1.40% among adults aged 15–49.

  • GEOGRAPHY

carte ghana routard

Its  geography,  since Ghana is located in West Africa along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic ranges from coastal savannahs to tropical jungles.

Grasslands mixed with south coastal shrublands and forests dominate. But Ghana has also plains, waterfalls, low hills, rivers, Lake Volta (the world’s largest artificial lake).

=> You will see trough my “week end pleasures” category (in the expatriation part) some articles with photos of all theses landscapes!

 

 

  • CLIMATE

The climate of Ghana is tropical and there are two main seasons: the wet season and the dry season. Go and see more photos in the “Kiss the seasons Goodbye” part of my blog.

 

  • ECONOMY

Ghana’s economy prosperity is the 9th-largest power on the Africa continent. It has an economic plan target known as the “Ghana Vision 2020″to become a developed country between 2020 and 2029.

It produces petroleum and natural gas and export them, (it has the 5th  largest oil reserves and 6th largest natural gas reserves). 

akosombo dam
Akosombo dam

It is the 7th and 9th world’s largest gold and diamond producer, and tends to become the biggest cocoa producer in the world. It also produces coffee, bananas, pineapple, coconuts, yam,  cashews and  rice.

 

The Akosombo Dam, built on the Volta River (and others) provide hydropower.

 

 

contruction ghanaThe real estate and housing market of Ghana has become an important and strategic economic sector, particularly in Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Tema. The gross rental income tax of Ghana is withheld at 10%.

Ghana ‘s good economy has given birth to a boom in the construction sector generating billions of dollars/year  and a robust political stability.

 

  • TRADE AND EXPORTS

 

Tema and Takoradi Harbour
Ghana is one of the fastest growing and expanding shipping industry in West African Coast.

Tema harbour is Africa’s largest manmade harbour and with Takoradi harbour they handle goods and exports for Ghana. It is  where goods are transhipped by cargo. They export mostly cocoa,  manganese, diamant, gold, wood, aluminium.

  • EDUCATION

With over 95% of its children in school, Ghana currently has one of the highest school enrolment rates in all of Africa.

  • CULTURE

I speak about culture in several categories (food, typical things, places to visit…) in my Ghana part.

bandeau ghana cult

 

Which transport to choose in Accra?

TRANSPORT IS ACCORDING TO WHERE YOU GO AND PRICES !

There are differents possibilities to go where you want… Know that Accra’s roads are chaotic. It seems to function on one huge game of ‘chicken’ and whoever has the wits, wins. Saying that, at rush hour (between 6am and 8am in the morning and 4-7pm in the afternoon), traffic grinds to a halt in most areas downtown.

 

  • Tro-Tro

trotro1Tro-Tro’s is the cheapest way of public transportation in Accra.  It’s a shared taxi on a fixed route and you can get off where you want. Toyota Hiace is the most used vehicle, but similar minivans are also used. The car has a driver and a man who collect the money and shout out of the windows to get hold of new customers.
Most drivers of Tro Tro’s has an aggressive way of driving, and are therefore involved in more traffic accidents than other drivers. Since this is the cheapest way of transportation (1,5 Ghana cedis).

 

  • Buses

Intercity buses, known as STC (State Transportation Corporation) in Accra ares a cheap, but slow way of transportation but safe for tourists. Many of the buse1-Accra-taxi-and-buss are wrecks, loaded with passengers. Unlike the Trotro’s you can not leave the bus where you want on the route, but have to wait to bus station. Buses heading west and north leave from Obetsebi-Lamptey Circle station, while Tudu station at the north end of Makola Market serves those going east. These buses usually have stops within the city centre, so it is possible to take them to get around.

 

  • Taxis

Taxi-drivers1-620x400Taxis in Accra are easy to recognize with their yellow color on each side of the car. In theory they use a meter to calculate the fare, but in real life you should always settle the price before you enter the car. A short trip should costs from 3 Ghana cedis (GH¢), like within the center of town. Going from airport to downtown should be around 10-15 GH¢, in 2016), . Beware that most drivers will try to overcharge an obruni (a white man), so do a firm negotiation.

I tried to find one taxi who agreed to come to fetch me every mornings to bring me to work from Airport to East Legon (it is about 10 GH¢). Unfortunately,  they never came! And I still don’t understand why! So don’t believe them if they say they ‘ll be there… You will have to find another one in a hurry!

  • Hiring a car

Cars can still be hired, should you want to brave the roads. All the regular suspects are here and most have an office in the airport, and agents around the city. All major hotels will have an agent too. All hotels will also be able to recommend a trusted driver who will drive you around for the day or length of your stay. This is surprisingly popular at around GH¢15 an hour. Ghana is a left-hand drive country and a current international driving licence is required. Drivers bringing vehicles into Ghana require a ‘carnet de passage’ and international insurance.(Avis: 199 Soula Loop, Labine, Accra, +233 302 761 752, http://www.avisghana.com and Europcar 12th floor, Heritage Tower, West Ridge, +233 302 665 544, http://www.europcar.com).