June makes way to July and the summer rainy season is still in full swing. The rains, come in short, sharp and heavy bursts roughly every forty eight hours.
The heat and regular cloud bursts has turned Accra into a sea of lush green. Looking out from the balcony at work a canopy of palms and fruit trees obscure the sight of the Nkrumah ring road and much of the city beyond. Were it not for the giant, and astonishingly ugly, president’s residence on the opposite hill you could be forgiven for thinking that Asylum Down is a small town marooned in the forest.
On street level green is also evident everywhere at the moment. Every square inch of spare earth has been hand sown patches of sorghum, millet and maize. These West African staples all grow at a phenomenal rate. In the twoish weeks that I was away two metre high Sorghum plants had appeared next to where I train for rugby at Cantoments.
Less happily I also came back to find my best suit in a coat of white wispy mould. It appears that a hint of sweat on cotton soon supports an ecosystem here so I have taken to washing pretty much everything after I wear it.
Rather than paying someone else to do this, I do my own in a bucket after work. I sometimes wonder if my shirts come out dirtier than when they come in but at least I do get a warm glow about my new found frugality. The only financial outlay for a week’s washing is a 25 peswas bar of sunlight soap and, if I have spilt red-red over myself, maybe a bag of OMO pre soak. (This means we save enough money to buy a big plate of Jollof rice and fried chicken each week- my Friday treat!)
After soaking, lathering and rubbing my collars, sleeves and pits together I put them into a fresh bucket of water and in wine making French peasant styleee, I pound the contents of the bucket with my feet as I shower. After washing I hang out to “dry” over night. Come six am I usually wake to the sound of a new storm rolling in. Some shirts are on the line for a week.