We are nearing our first month in Konongo, and the last week has been challenging. It is all part of the adjustment to our new lives, but in the present moment it can feel quite difficult. We are coming to terms with a much quieter and much less social life than we had in Newcastle, and have been having internet difficulties all week, which does make us [me] feel quite isolated, and as we have so few resources, the internet is a godsend for the homeschooling. Some solutions we have arrived at:
:: the swings. Old school, made from tyres. The procurement of the tyres and the cutting of one of them is a blog post in itself. Ask 3 different drivers, over several days where we can get old tyres, yes, we are prepared to pay for them. No result. Puzzled looks as to what we want old tyres for. Driving to Kumasi with a fourth driver, and see masses of old tyres for sale along the road, as the driver if we can get some. Assured, that yes we can get some. But we don’t stop on the side of the road and buy some. Slightly puzzled. Epic trip to Kumasi, forgotten about tyres. We arrive home, driver takes us straight to the vehicle maintenance workshop on the mine, and asks for tyres. Yes, yes, we can have tyres, come back later. Feel quite sure tyres will not arrive, shrug shoulders and forget about them. Hours later leave house and what do I see sitting outside? 3 tyres. Bless his heart. Another lesson in it’s not what you know, but finding the right person to ask.
[no one so far had seen tyre swings before, and some of the local kids who tried them out were quite apprehensive about having a turn!]
:: internet disaster. After procuring my internet dongle during the epic trip to Kumasi, it soon ran out of credit. So I went to the carpentry workshop on the mine to buy more credit (as you do). Only had enough credit for sale for 1 day connection (3 cedi’s. You can technically buy 1 cedi through 20 cedi’s credit. One cedi is about 70c). Damn those small sim card in the iphone, so I need to borrow the carpenters phone to recharge the sim. Yes, all done, and I saw the confirmation sms’s. But, its never that easy, and I put the sim back in the dongle, and now it won’t recognise the sim. Several days of frustration and a trip to Konongo to sort it out. The guy in Konongo was not exactly a techno-wizard, and I’m informed I need a trip to the main office in Kumasi to fix it. Try to use the hotspot off my phone, but while I can make calls off my phone, the data portion of the mobile network is not working…have been trying for 3 days. Aggggghhhhhh……Seems easier to wait till this weekend when we head to Accra!
:: Good conversation with Bill’s boss this am, he is an Australian who has lived in Africa for 20 years. Lets me in on a few logistical secrets…he has 2 mobile phone, 3 internet dongles, and an ipad, connected to as many phone networks as possible. Will try to emulate this weekend in Accra. Thank goodness for Bill’s phone which will allow me to connect, he has just forgotten to take it to work today…surely he didn’t need it???
:: Basil growing super well in garden yesterday. I am excited about the thoughts of fresh pesto soon. Walk through garden this am reveals yesterdays weeding has removed the basil…and left the weeds.Time to plant again.
:: the social gap between us and the people who work around us. The gap goes beyond language difficulties and has its roots in colonialism, but is complicated by many other factors. It is a difficult one, and one that I am still trying to work out.
:: frustration and homesickness for all are not a happy combination. Not many solutions for this one but time, and the distractions of…a weekend in Accra! And most importantly, the emails of friends and family, and the support of my favourite in-laws, expats themselves.
:: cabin fever. We are still adjusting to the heat and humidity, so a fair portion of the day we are inside. The girls of the house have taken to a morning jog a few mornings a week. I hope we can keep it up, as its a great salve. The children have also started tennis lessons with a wonderful young man from IT (on the mine). It’s good to have 1 ‘after-school-activity’.
:: the frustrations that occur throughout the week, which are too numerous, and too trivial to to mention, but if you’re not careful, can wreak havoc with your sanity.
:: Throughout all of this, I am trying to remain mindful of each day’s ‘Golden moment’ (inspired by Jen and Manish), and to celebrate the small victories of each day. This morning a bunch of bananas straight from the tree was delivered to our door from our very kind gardener.