After eight days of hotel life, we finally moved into our new flat. A last-minute change of plan meant we moved to the residential suburb of Dzorwulu (pronounced ‘jo-WU-lu’) rather than West Legon. Nearer the city and school, but still an unknown quantity.
The house and flat, hidden behind black iron gates, were dark as the school bus driver let us in. He sped off quickly, and we were alone in what would be our home for the next two years. The flat was big and looked nice, but felt strange and empty. Outside, it was very quiet, the streets deserted. The TV didn’t work. We didn’t have our radio. The silence was becoming increasingly oppressive as we sat together on the sofa, both feeling a bit lost and a long way from home.
Five minutes later came a knock at the door. Joanna, our new landlady, marched in and sat herself down. A big smile and she started chattering away and asking us about how we liked the flat. We were both relieved to have a visitor, and the conversation followed in a typically Ghanaian way, where our questions were half-answered each time.
“Is there a shop nearby?”
“I’ll take you shopping tomorrow, to the supermarket.”
“Ah, is it near here?”
“It’s much cheaper than the Mall, nearly three times the price there!”
“How does the washing machine work?”
“Charity, our housegirl will do your washing, no problem.”
“But just in case she is busy…”
“She can clean the flat too, just call her.”
Conversations take a bit longer, and you are never quite sure if you have found out what you needed to, but on our first night we were grateful for a talkative guest in our strange new surroundings.