Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Of current and currencies....

So our second four day cycle load shedding has started. If the first cycle was anything to go by we will be without electricity for nearly 2 of the 4 days!

On Monday we had our electricity turned off promptly at 6:00 a.m. Didn't complain too much as this was scheduled. Got back home at about 6:45 p.m. and it had just been turned on again. Settled down to watch TV and do the usual stuff when it went off again! Calmed myself with a shot (or was it two) of good ole' Jamaican rum and went to sleep. Suffice to say when I was leaving for work on Tuesday morning it wasn't back yet.

Then got a call from my neighbour updating me on the problem. Apparently thieves broke into the sub-station in Tema and cut a power cable. In the process one also got electrocuted. Now in order for the ECG guys to turn on back the power, they are insisting that the body be removed - a fair enough request I think. Up to 6 p.m. it hadn't returned. Could it be that the body has yet to be removed? Heaven's forbid. Am also wondering if the authorities will deduct that from our present rations - hmmm, doubt that.

Finally at 7:30 p.m. there was light! Am trying not to wonder too much what happened to the body.

Got a note from a friend asking me about the value of the Ghana cedi. To be honest that does deserve a post in itself, but the rough conversions are:

1 USD = 9,250 Ghanaian cedis
I Euro = 12,000 Ghanaian cedis
1 English Pound = 18,000 Ghanaian cedis

It's a common joke here in Ghana that people can become instant millionaires just by changing one hundred euros, but with bread at 10,000 cedis a loaf you soon see that this disappears quite quickly. Going to the supermarket becomes a test in counting in multiples of 5, 10, or 20 thousand notes, not to mention fitting the bills into a regular sized purse!

The largest bill is 20,000 cedis and so going to the bank becomes an experience in itself. It's the only place I have been where your money is given to you in a polythene bag! (i.e. scandal bag for my Jamaican friends). All that will soon change though as the cedis is about to undertake a major currency revaluation come this summer.

This will be the second currency change Ashes and I would have experienced as we were around for the change from the guilder to the euro. Curious to see how that will go - am sure will have more posts in future.

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