Monday, September 20, 2010

Map of Wiamoase, Ghana

There was a point, and I could not tell you the exact moment, but gradually this village of Wiamoase became so familiar that we started referring to it as home. From the open sewers to the potholes to the mannerisms of the neighbors, by the end of my stay I knew them personally. Google maps might not know them, but I do.

It was not always like that though. It was scary to go outside alone and overwhelming to even buy a loaf of bread. About a week into my stay Rachel Morse and I decided to go about a mapping project to met friends and get more settled. We met up with Kye Bafour (Kwasi) and his friend George at the Cocoa House and asked if they would show us the important places to know. They agreed without hesitation and walked us through Wiamoase with a local perspective.

The first map I threw together in the field had about half of the buildings now listed. On it was were the buildings Kwasi and George showed us, but now there are a few more personal additions. My first map was beneficial for a few reasons, but the main one being the gray areas—what was not mapped. When I could see what I did not know, it was then that I knew what areas I needed to explore.

1. My House- This is the compound I stayed in with the Baffour family with Maggie, Chase, Ava, Myra, Shelley, Akua Obruni, and Nate.

2. Kofi’s House- This three-year-old boy made my day more than once. He would always storm into our compound and play with our family. His house was always noisy and full of life.

3. Deborah’s House- Deborah was a good neighbor, and even taught us to make a cake one time. Her daughter was named after a previous field study student. Every time we walked by she would ask us to give her food.

4. Naked Neighbor’s House- Need I say more? Awkward greetings daily.

5. “A Certain Woman’s House”- I never met the “certain woman,” but we became good friends with the house tenant, Rose. This house was the mansion of Wiamoase, and even had a second floor. It was where the Baffour family parked their cars.

6. Police Station- The police station was where we always told our taxi and tro-tro drivers to drop us. The police were very friendly guys. This spot also reminds me of the death of two children during my stay in Wiamoase because the bodies have to be taken there to confirm the cause of death.

7. Other Compound- This was where Rachel Morse, Rachel Morrison, and Danielle stayed with their landlord Akua and the neighbor Gina.

8. “Where Are You Going House”- The woman at this house never failed to ask us where we were going.

9. Presbyterian School- These buildings were for the Primary and the Jr. High School kids.

10. Field- This football field was where we used to meet new friends, do homework, and watch the sunsets over the jungle.

11. Salvation Army Church- This is where Esther, my landlord, went to church. There was always loud music going on all night on Sundays.

12. Water Stand- This is where we could buy water sachets if we were lucky and did not have to climb the hill. If you came here early enough you could also get what we called morning bread. It was the best tasting bread in town.

13. Salvation Army School- This was the Salvation Army Jr. High and Primary School. This is where Akua worked and I observed (or tried to observe) some literature classes.

14. Dua’s Garden- This was a farm for the Salvation Army School, cared for by one of the teachers. By keeping a farm they could raise more money to improve their school.

15. Pretty House- This abandoned pink building was Myra’s favorite building in town. No one lived there. It served no purpose. It was just photogenic.

16. Mosque- A bumping place on Friday’s, this was where the Muslim community would hang out.

17. Credit Stand- This was the place where Monica and her husband would play Wallie. There was also a stand nearby that sold rip off phone credits.

18. Noisy Smelly Center- It always smelled in this corner because of an open cement slab where people could relieve themselves. It was also very noisy because there was a mill or a saw type device constantly running out front of a food shop.

19. Juice Store- On special days, or on bad days, we would head to this lady’s store where she sometimes had juice.

20. Cocoa House- This was the social spot for our group. We would always come here to meet new people and play games. This is where we met Kwasi and George who showed us around town.

21. Typhoid Corner- A very important food shop that we stopped and got rice and beans for 40 peswas (about 28 cents) almost daily. No one got sick, and thanks to this place we were no longer hungry after dinner.

22. Becky’s Store- This place was where I would buy my notebooks and water if it was sold out down the hill. They also had a TV and we all watched the World Cup there a few times.

23. Post Office- I never went in there, and I never knew anyone who used it, but there it was.

24. Library- This old building was supposed to be changing into a library. “Maybe in a few years,” was what Kwasi said.

25. Internet- This was where we could go and get some unreliable Internet on good days. The one on the right was where I went most of the time until I discovered a better one right next door.

26. Orange Stand- The woman who sold oranges here always gave me one free orange when I bought from her.

27. Tro-Tro Station- This was where we went to purchase our tro-tro ticket into Kumasi.

28. Nyame Nsa Womu- A great rice stand in the square recommended by Kwasi and George.

29. Hard Fried Bread- The woman who owned this store sold Coke in cans to bring to my sick friends as well as a supply of crunchy fried bread. This was my life source for most of the time I was in Wiamoase.

30. Agnes’ Store- This was the main store on the block. Agnes had everything you could ever want (well, as far as Ghana goes). She was also really sociable and always remembered my name.

31. Credit and Corn Stand- This is where I would buy my phone credits and splurge on a charcoaled corn on the cob after stopping at Agnes’ shop.

32. The Center- I refer to this as the Square at other times in my notes, this was the main shopping center. If we needed last minute supplies, this is where we would go. It was also where we caught taxi's.

33. Okonfo Ankoye Secondary School- Thirty minutes up the dirt road out of town and you would reach the school that I spent most of my time at.

34. Fanice Building- This is where we bought our fanice, fanyogo, and fanchaco’s. This was essentially the ice cream of Ghana.

35. Market- On Thursdays this corner was packed with people and venders for market day.

36. Wiamoase Town Park- Kwasi and George showed us this field, or dirt flat area, where everyone meets to watch football matches. It is also where funerals are held once a month.

37. Kente Cloth Store- This was the place where kente was sold in the village.

38. Teresa’s Shop- This is where I bought my packages of Maria Biscuits. I must have eaten hundreds of these cookies. Teresa also helped me with my Twi whenever I came to buy them.

39. Grease Ball Stand- This is where we could buy the soft fried bread, what we called grease balls. The woman was always very friendly, and there was nothing like a grease ball for a good healthy breakfast.

40. Dress Shop- This is where all the girls in my group got our dresses made.

41. Clinic- The closest thing to a hospital in Wiamoase.

42. Christy’s House- This was where Maggie used to go visit. I never went during dinner because they always served fish.

43. Jesse’s Shop- Jesse was Nate’s tailor. He was a good friend and made great clothes. We all switched over our business to him by the time we left.


(Field Notes 10.9, 19.3, 42.18)


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