A Visit to Another Mine-site

Trip Start May 04, 2011
Trip End Feb 20, 2014

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Where I stayed
Camp A
What I did

Flag of Ghana  ,
Sunday, February 26, 2012

I'm now a couple of weeks into this swing. Last week I enquired with the staff at my company’s other site in Ghana about taking a visit over there and fortunately they had an audit scheduled that I could participate in. It was short notice and I left on the bus for the 5 hr trip there last Saturday. I jumped at the opportunity because I have had 3 former attempts to go and all have been cancelled or postponed to times when I couldn’t go. I’ve now been coming in and out of Ghana for a year now and still hadn’t been to the site which my current project is modelled on. So, after several drinks Friday night, the bus trip was looooooooooooooooooooong and all I wanted to do was sleep, but getting bounced around on these terrible roads is the worst thing possible for a semi-hangover.

The audit experience was good and it was great to be back on an operating site after a year since leaving Boddington. I felt re-engaged with my job and fascinated. During the community component of the audit, we visited various local towns/settlements and I was the only white person. So of course I was keen fascination for the local kids who stared at my skin, hair and every move I made. The couragous ones would say "Hello, how are you" with pride in their faces that they were communicating with the white guy, whilst the non-courageous ones would do the typical thing of yelling "obruni" (white person) and then running away or hiding. I would dread getting out of the car at times because of this. Maybe I would interact with them more if I liked kids, but I worry that if I interact too much they will mob me as I have seen with others. That is a terrifying vision for me.

The mine is busy and most nights I ate by myself which was actually a good thing. The main thing I hate about being in a camp is that everyone eats together and of course the topic of conversation is work and/or the same topics of malaria, weather and food. Bores me to tears. So, this was a pleasant change of scenery. Although lunch was packed and I’d eat across the table from the Ghanaians eating their smelly fish or some local dish. I do enjoy eating lunch at my desk like we currently do at Akyem and don’t look forward to being crammed together in the mess hall when it is built. I also had the best sleep I’ve had yet in Ghana thanks to the thick walls of the accommodation units over there compared to the paper thin stuff I have here. But there was no top sheet on the bed and that bothered me.

I’ve been busy planning my next break and then my 30th bday break. Next break is USA and I’ve decided that I’ll fly to Los Angeles first to meet up with my friends who’ll be in town for a conference, and then head to Niagara Falls for Easter, before finishing in Washington DC where I’ll get my direct flight back to Ghana. As most people know, I am not that interested in the USA from a tourist/travel perspective, but I’m keen to see Niagara which funnily enough the best part is on the Canadian side. And I am interested in seeing the White House etc although I looked into tours and u can’t do them since the Sept 11 terrorist attacks. I haven’t booked anything yet, but intend to book flights tomorrow.

The July bday break with Mum is a lot more booked. Start in Istanbul, Turkey, where I’ll spend my actual bday and then Rome, Normandy, Paris, Edinburgh, hire a car to explore the English country-side, London for the Olympics where I have tickets for basketball and beach volleyball. I’ll take my 1 week allocation of annual leave for a 3 week break and any other time-in-lieu days I can squeeze in. Big schedule, but will be awesome!

Interesting Ghana Observations:  customer service is not their strong point; when they knock on a door some people knock whilst saying out loud "knocking, knocking"; driving whilst thinking/talking is a no go zone – I had to ask someone to pull over so I could drive because he was telling me a story and doing 15kmh in a 30 zone and bunny hopping with the accelerator resulting in borderline whip-lash.
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