Akwabaa to Accra

AKWABAA means “WELCOME” in Ghana’s local dialect Ashanti which is part of the Akan language, one of the many languages in this western African nation of 24 million people.

Today marks our one-month stay in Ghana’s capital Accra, and we’ve indeed been made to feel very much at home. Other than the kids missing family, friends, teachers and neighbours back home, everything else here feels like home.

The weather is just like home – hot and sunny, a little windier; the people are warm and friendly, just like home; the houses here too look like what we have back home; even the traffic congestions are just like home 🙂 Ghanaians love spicy food too.

Driving through its city areas, there are business centres, five star hotels, highways and a spurt of high-rise buildings. There are supermarkets and malls, but there’s only one mall in Accra that has escalators, to date – Marina Mall was opened just last year. Everything appears to be just like home… perhaps in the ‘70s.

But where we are staying now, the sceneries are reminiscent of a drive through our kampungs back home. Banana trees and coconut trees are visible everywhere. I wake up daily to the chorus of chickens’ crows.

Dirt roads are common and wooden shacks (like our squatters) are prevalent too, cramped between luxurious brick homes with huge compounds.

I am sure there are more to Accra once I get to explore it better, but for now, these are my encounters with “All things Ghana”…

Its currency called Ghana Cedi.

Its currency called Ghana Cedi.

Its newspapers.

Its newspapers.

Marina Mall in Airport City, opened in 2013 and is the only shopping mall with escalators, to date!

Marina Mall in Airport City, opened in 2013 and is the only shopping mall with escalators, to date!

Ta da…eyeing over its escalators!

Ta da…eyeing its escalators!

In Marina Mall, we got out first meal of KFC (23 April 2014).

In Marina Mall, we got out first meal of KFC (23 April 2014).

Ghana’s locally-made ice-cream, sold at Marina Mall Supermarket for GHc16.25 (RM20) for a 2-liter tub.

Ghana’s locally-made ice-cream, sold at Marina Mall Supermarket for GHc16.25 (RM20) for a 2-liter tub.

The first of its kind in Africa - an aeroplane-turned-restaurant, the Ghana Airways DC-10 plane is grounded across Marina Mall. The national airline went bankrupt in 2005 and according to reports, this "Green Plane" as it is known locally, was left impounded in London's Heathrow. It was finally brought back and turned into a restaurant "La Tante DC 10 Restaurant” which has proven to be quite a hit since its opening in November 2013.

The first of its kind in Africa – an aeroplane-turned-restaurant, the Ghana Airways DC-10 plane is grounded across Marina Mall. The national airline went bankrupt in 2005 and according to reports, this “Green Plane” as it is known locally, was left impounded in London’s Heathrow. It was finally brought back and turned into a restaurant “La Tante DC 10 Restaurant” which has proven to be quite a hit since its opening in November 2013.

A scenery reminiscence of our “kampung” (village) - banana and coconut trees abound! And it’s my kitchen window view! (30 April 2014)

A scenery reminiscence of our “kampung” (village) – banana and coconut trees abound! And it’s my kitchen window view! (30 April 2014)

A local meal at Afrikiko’s TamTam… (Top, L-R) Red Red (beans stew with a choice of beef/chicken/smoked fish), eaten with plaintain; jollof rice (spiced rice); (Bottom) Fried tilapia seasoned with local herbs eaten with jollof rice. (10 May 2014)

A local meal at Afrikiko’s TamTam… (Top, L-R) Red Red (beans stew with a choice of beef/chicken/smoked fish), eaten with plaintain; jollof rice (spiced rice); (Bottom) Fried tilapia seasoned with local herbs eaten with jollof rice. (10 May 2014)

Homes and offices are surrounded by high brick walls, topped with barbed wires or electric wires and metal gates, much like this one. (29 April 2014)

Homes and offices are surrounded by high brick walls, topped with barbed wires or electric wires and metal gates, much like this one. (29 April 2014)

A prevalent scene of peddlers making a living on the streets, selling items off their heads, especially at traffic lights junctions. (Along Spintex Road, Accra, 3 May 2014)

A prevalent scene of peddlers making a living on the streets, selling items off their heads, especially at traffic lights junctions. (Along Spintex Road, Accra, 3 May 2014)

Water tankers such as this one come to the rescue (at a price, of course) when residents run out of water, and water shortage is a common occurrence here. (27 April 2014)

Water tankers such as this one come to the rescue (at a price, of course) when residents run out of water, and water shortage is a common occurrence here. (27 April 2014)

Alas, the high cost of living too… (front page of Daily Graphic, Wednesday 30 April 2014)

Alas, the high cost of living too… (front page of Daily Graphic, Wednesday 30 April 2014)

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