The Harmattan winds came in a couple of days ago bringing with them a cool breeze and a fog of red dust. There are two seasons in Ghana – the dry season (cold) and the wet season (hot) with cold meaning lows in the low 70s F! Harmattan is the other name for the dry season. It starts around November-December and runs trough March – April. The Harmattan winds come from North Africa, picking up sand particles from the Sahara Desert and dumping them on us. Everything gets dusty and visibility is severely reduced.
Obviously, during the dry season it does not rain. So the water bodies of Ghana dry up. Most importantly, Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world created when the Akosombo Dam was built, runs low. The Akosombo Dam provides electricity to all of Ghana in addition to neighbouring countries. So with low levels, electricity is rationed and we are on rolling blackouts, otherwise known as light out.
So yesterday, while busy watching Tyra Banks honouring inspirational moms on her show, out went the lights unexpectedly. Unexpectedly, because apparently, the powers that be decided to let Ghanaians have an uninterrupted Christmas, New Years and Eid, and were now rudely reminding us that the holidays were O-V-E-R!!
We gathered around talking at each other in the dark. Nii was out with some mates, so I was the beneficiary of his parents’ stories of life in Ghana when they were kids. You know, the ones that start with, “we didn’t even have slippers to wear, we would wake up at [insert some ungodly hour here], sweep the compound/work on the farm, then walk 10 kilometers to school”. Ha-ha! It was actually pretty cool.