This post is long overdue, but I hope you all find it entertaining and interesting. Some of the facts aren’t so fun or happy (sewage and disease) but others I think you will find quite fun. I hope you all enjoy this little window into life in Winneba.
1. People dye their chickens to stop hawks from identifying them and so they can distinguish their chickens from other people’s chickens. Ever seen a hot pink chicken? It is fascinating.
2. There are open sewers everywhere. Beyond being a bit smelly and gross to look at, open sewers cause a problem specifically during the rainy season (now) when they flood. The sewage gets into the water supply and makes everyone sick.
3. There are constantly goats, dogs, cats, rams, and chickens running around. Baby goats might just be the cutest things I have ever seen (they are also competing with tiny puppies an kittens).
4. The power goes out at least 4-5 times per week. There is also very little wifi, and when there is wifi, it goes out with the power.
5. Water generally stops running for about a day at a time a couple times a week. There is also no hot water.
6. Cell phones are used for pretty much everything including internet, advice, and really anything else you can think of. There are no cell phone “plans.” Instead, you buy credit on the street that you program into your phone to pay as you go with every service essentially on the same cost plan.
7. Shared cabs essentially act as buses within Winneba. It is just like it sounds. They run a “bus route” essentially, and the cab continuously picks up passengers until the cab is full. Passengers then direct the cab driver to wherever they want to be dropped off along the route.
8. There are no washing machines. Hand washing is harder than it looks. Very small children have schooled me multiple times, which is incredibly humbling.
9. The tro-tro takes you farther distances outside the town. They are small vans packed sardine-style. They do not have any signs as to where they are going, so you have to listen to what location the bus driver is yelling when he stops at pick-up points.
10. The food you take for granted really doesn’t exist. Chocolate and cheese are MIA, as is real coffee. All food surrounds dough made of cassava or maize, small fish and chickens, pineapples, bananas, mangos, eggs, onions, coconuts, peppers, some tomatoes, groundnuts, and combination all-spice. That is all. You don’t realize how much you miss certain foods until they are completely unattainable: aka cheese.