Konongo home, not Newcastle home, as Jock defines it. The sea container arrived the day before we did, and it was such a lovely surprise. After a great week away, it was such a treat, and a great distraction to get us settled back into our new life. The children were also able to share the thrill of the unpack, as they are still on school holidays. And yes, it really was like Christmas.
Bill and I were both horrified and more than slightly embaressed at the number of boxes, which filled our entire back room. This did include bikes and scotters, and some furniture. And while it does represent an embarresment of riches, particularly in comparsion to many of the people who live around us, it has been lovely to have some of our ‘stuff’. The children have obviously enjoyed having their toys, but as the Harry Potter obsession continues for the girls, they have barely managed to look at the books which we brought. I’ve enjoyed the comfort of a shelf full of books, in this country where bookshops are few and far between, and there is not a culture of reading. However, we have a few local bookworms in our midst, and have enjoyed opening our shelves to them.
Some things I packed are funny, and reflect the scatty mindset I had at the time. Did every vase in the house really need to come to Ghana? Where is the cord for the coffee machine (not in Ghana, I can tell you that). The Kitchenaid has been used everyday, and we are enjoying fresh, hot bread. (Ghanaian bread is crazy sweet, and about as far removed from sourdough as possible). And of course the sewing supplies were a total joy to unpack. I’ve started on some projects I’ve been saving up, some literally have been on the backboiler for years. The back half of the house has been transformed into a kids play area-craft-computer room. The spare back kitchen is a painting room, come laundry. Stephen has taken to using the washing machine like a professional, and it’s great that we have lessened his workload significantly.
One project I’ve finished is a new variation on an old theme. The wife of one of the gardeners has just given birth to a long awaited baby girl, after 2 boys. So I made her this little doll. I hope she likes it.
The cooking has not been limited to bread. Basil and green peppers are in abundance at present. We are making, and eating, tons of pesto. The green peppers are good and crunchy, but with our newly acquired taste for chilli, are disappointingly mild. Last night we ate the worlds biggest mushrooms fried with the green peppers in oil and garlic. Good stuff. And the mangoes are literally falling off the trees (watch your head). We’ve had mango puree in yogurt, dried mango (good thing I packed the dehydrator), and of course, fresh mango. The only secret is getting to the mangoes first, as everyone is on the lookout, with plently of people from Konongo walking about collecting them too.
Somewhat surprisingly. for this novice gardener, is the poorness of the soil. The carrots and beetroot have taken forever to grow, and are very dry (not juicy). We’ve started collecting the chicken manure to cure and use for fertiliser, and yesterday put a mulch layer about the cabbages. If anyone has any pointers as to how to enrich the soil I’d love to hear about it. All our vegetable scraps go to the chickens. I presume I should avoid making compost from the (ample) weeds collected.
Back to reality next week with school starting, but before you go, I’ve leave you with a community service announcement I saw in Kumasi yesterday.