Accra is a great bustling city located in West Africa on the Gulf of Guinea. The WUSC office where I spent my first week of orientation is located in a suburb of Accra called Haatso (pronounced hawtcho) and our temporary accommodation at the Suma Court Hotel was a just a short but sweaty walk away. In our second week we joined the rest of the GEDP Project Team at the project office in East Legon, another suburb of Accra located not far from the University of Ghana campus.
Transportation from Haatso to the project office was the first big hurdle I encountered in Ghana. Although Accra does have a modest public transit system, it is not a viable means of getting around. The other more common options, in order of increasing cost and convenience are the tro-tro (privately owned passenger vans seating about 18), share cabs and charter cabs. The trip to and from typically involved two of these three forms of transport and took well over an hour due to traffic congestion and challenges finding a vehicle not already full at each transfer. Another volunteer kindly walked us through a trial commute. But, after a week of braving the commute, another volunteer colleague and I relocated closer to work in East Legon. We are now one tro-tro ride from work going against the rush hour traffic. Yippee!
There is a price to pay, however, for living near work. East Legon is a wealthy neighbourhood and accommodation is both expensive and hard to find. I’m living at Catters Hostel which provides a room with bed, bath and fridge. This allows for a little self-determination in the preparation of breakfast and lunch. I generally eat dinner out. At $900 a month the rent is expensive by Ghanaian standards because few people can afford to live so close to the centre. But furnished apartments are very hard to find, especially for a 6 month stay. So, for now, I’m a happy cat at Catters.