Friday, September 16, 2005

Odds and Ends

On the list of things I'm not sure you know, I'll put that we don't have mail delivery. There is no mail delivery to homes- if you want mail you must get a post office box to use. It's kind of nice not to have to check the mail and especially nice not to get junk mail. When we have a bill come due (water, electricity, garbage, etc.) they send someone around to the house and leave it at the gate with the security guard, who brings it to the house.

Now, the security for our house. That takes a little getting used to, at least for us. We have 24 hour security- two shifts of twelve hours each, one guy on days, two guys on nights. When we come and go, they open and close the gates, if someone comes to the house they speak with them outside the gate and then accompany them to the house if they have legit business. Most of the time they just hang out, though. Expats in Accra with few exceptions, and quite a few Ghanaians, have 24 hour guards. Most people have a house-specific set of rules to suit their family, but we have only two rules:

1. Use the bathroom in the boys' quarters (otherwise they'd just pee on the wall)
2. Make sure the dogs aren't outside before they open the gates.

It's strange to have people at your house all the time though. The guards try their best to be invisible and they are very kind and friendly, but having someone around all the time is a weird feeling. We are intensely private people, and we have had to get used to having our movements and habits noted by the guards and Mac, our 'outside man'.

We also don't have landline phone service. Our neighborhood simply doesn't have phone lines available, so we don't have one. We use my cell phone as the main house line- and we don't need an answering machine here because the house phone is always with me! The cell service here can be spotty, but it's fairly reliable, all things considered. Once we leave here, if you are talking to me on the phone and we get disconnected, don't be surprised if I don't call back just out of habit- we have gotten very used to being cut off and if the conversation has covered the important points already, we just leave it at that!