Friday, 30 June 2017

Tamale Survival Guide

The hustle & bustle of Tamale market
Team WOSAG have crossed the halfway point and we are currently working hard in our seventh week of Ghanaian and charity-based fun. We have our large community sensitisation coming up and will be working with women's charity Days for Girls tomorrow, learning about and packaging reusable pads which will be sold to women in the markets.
Having been here nearly two months, it is inevitable that we would pick up a few hints and tips along the way. We thought about all the things we have learnt and which of them we wish we knew at the beginning of our journey. Here are eight lessons we have learnt in order to survive life in Tamale.
Doing things the Right way
It is a common belief in Ghana that the right hand is the 'clean' hand and the left is 'dirty.' In the politest way possible, this is because Ghanaians all use their left hand when they go to the toilet... So, get used to passing things with your right hand as quickly as possible. No one wants to end up getting shouted at in Dagbani or think they are being asked to turn their torch on and shine a light into the eyes of a poor Ghanaian who just want his money placed in his right hand. 

Props expertly handed out from the right hand
It's real. 2 of our team have had it. All the UK team leaders except 2 have had it. Bring deet with you if you are out after dark and always sleep under that mosquito net.
You get taxis everywhere. It's wild. Line taxis follow a certain route like a bus, and will be between 1-2 cedis. Drop taxis will take you to a direct location but you should agree a price before you get in, as to avoid paying too much.

 Taxis not only take you places, 
they make excellent photoshoot backdrops

The Bolga Road
Locate this bad boy as soon as you get here. All the best stuff is along the Bolga Road, including the VRA swimming pool, Don's pub, Wooden, Oasis and the smoothie cafe (cheapest smoothies in Tamale.) Catch a taxi from outside Club Enesta rather than the taxi rank and haggle the price before you get in! Which leads us to...
Money on my Mind
Straight up, if you live in Tamale you will spend your month’s allowance within the first two weeks. Aside from water, lunch and data, Tamale is filled with so many wild things to buy and exciting activities that you won't be able to say no (and you won't want to.) Make sure you haggle for your fruit, souvenirs, taxis and everything that isn't a set price in the supermarkets or restaurants.

Every. Where. You. Go. This will be whispered or shouted or said at a regular volume to you everywhere you go. It translates to 'white person or foreigner,' (which is exactly what we are so fair play to them).

Just a bunch of silimengas hanging out
and looking inconspicuous

If you think we mean the commonly used time-keeping method 'Greenwich Mean Time,' you would be mistaken. Ghana Man Time is the name for the unbelievably chilled attitude that the entire Ghanaian population have to all things time-related and punctuality in general. While us Brits are sticklers for being in the exact right place at the exact right time, Ghana is just too hot to be worried about that and because everyone knows that time is a flexible concept, no one minds!

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