Kumasi Shopping

Paper Towels and Can Openers

Calendar Menu

I find it interesting and a little perplexing that you can buy canned goods but not a can opener and bottled wine but no cork screw.

We’ve been here in Adiebeba for three weeks now and are getting a feel for where to buy most things. We know where to buy drinking water, fresh fruit, vegetables, bread and eggs. We’ve discovered a handy neighborhood supply of locally made tofu for only 1 cedi per 8-ounce block or $1 a pound.

It’s only a short list of essentials that continue to elude me. The aforementioned openers are two. Even the tiniest shop sells canned goods yet none sell a can opener. When I spotted a can opener on the counter of Mr. Daniel’s Dimples store on the corner of Roteng and FF Antoh Streets, he said he didn’t sell them but promised to pick me up one next time he went to market. This was a couple of weeks ago and he kindly expresses his apologies each time I walk past his shop or stop to buy pasta or tomato paste.

I check for one at the Melcom, the big grocery within walking distance each time they receive a new shipment but they can only tell me they are “finished.” I’ve checked both times we’ve taken a taxi to the Palace Hyper-Mart for bottled water and receive the same story. It took us awhile to figure out that “finished” means that they used to stock them but now they are out. Must be a country-wide can opener shortage because last week the woman at the Melcom told me “We ask but they no come.”

We bought a bottle of wine the other night while waiting for the Moti Mahal Indian restaurant to open and decided it might be nice to have a before dinner drink so I went back into the liquor store to buy a wine opener. No the man behind the counter said sadly, we don’t have. But he generously offered to open my bottle of wine after fishing around behind the counter to locate his opener and the five of us sat on the curb, glugging red wine from a beige plastic bag.

Also, why can’t I find paper towels to buy? The dirt that sifts in though the window screens stains every towel I use to wipe the counters and the floor. Even bleach will not remove the stains and I have tried. I’m thinking a damp paper towel that I can compost later will help keep our towels clean. Something to pick up the dirt before I dry the counter with that nice white towel.

Since Bob, Jeremy, Lauren and Justin are involved most of the day with project associated work, I offered to cook dinner for the five of us Monday through Friday. I generally wait until Bob gets home to open any cans I might need for dinner with his Swiss Army knife.

I cannot find a calendar either so in the mean time, I’m taking it one week at a time with the help of a dry erase planner I found at the Melcom. Which I must say is a good pace for me. Life is simple when all I need to accomplish is a meal and perhaps some laundry.

There are enough differences in each day to keep things interesting. Yesterday Lauren and I stopped in a dress shop where I bought a dress which looks as if it were made for me. Today Bob and I are taking a taxi into Adum for our first trip to a Ebenezer’s Health Food Shop. Perhaps today will be the day we find a can opener!

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.