Where’d that money go again? I thought after my first look at the Ikando house.
Pictures might be worth a thousand words, but those thousand words might not always communicate the truth.
Before deciding on Ikando, I looked at pictures on its website and Flickr. I wanted to make sure that I’d stay in a decent living space for six months. While the pictures I saw of the bedroom and grounds of the accommodation were nothing to perform cartwheels over, they did satisfy my need to know that my money would help place me in a well-kept place.
If only the last statement was completely true.
If Ikando walls could talk, they would probably tell you that they wish to be scrubbed down with soap and water. The walls hint that they were once blindingly white because some spots are brighter than others. But, if you slide your finger on a wall, you just might get the dust collected from volunteers past on your digit.
I touched a wall in my room as a gesture to tell myself “You’re in Africa! People in movies always touch walls as some sentimental moment.” But, a grimy-feeling hand was what I got instead of some spellbinding, surreal moment.
So much for my movie moment.
The living and dining rooms aren’t too shabby, but they could also be tidied up a bit.
The cushions for the sofa have definitely been sat and slept on as permanent dents are part of the décor. I’m sure part of the reason why the cushions look so worn is because the housekeeper, Adiza, sleeps on the sofa almost every night.
I am concerned about injuring my behind while sitting on one of the unsteady wicker chairs. Only two of the six dining room chairs don’t wobble or make you feel like you’re too heavy once you take a seat.
The cluttered dining table is so high that it makes me feel like a kid sitting at the grown-ups table for Thanksgiving. Soap and water have also been distant cousins to the table because my grey shirt was smeared brown marks after resting my elbows on the table.
Stepping into the kitchen is like stepping back in time. The refrigerator, gas stove and pots and pans remind me of my late maternal grandmother’s kitchen from the 80s, except there is no strong smell of beach or vinegar. Plus, I’m pretty sure that my grandmother would’ve asked one of my uncles to fix her kitchen sink if she had to place a bucket underneath the pipe and turn knobs under the sink to make water run.
There’s a box atop the refrigerator that monitors the temperature of the refrigerator. If you leave one of the refrigerator doors open, you’ll hear a beeping sound. This is much different from my ice-making refrigerator back home. I have a feeling that I will miss ice, especially in my iced tea.
The stove looks like a modern gas stove of the 80s. It is tiny, and it requires you to light a match to start a flame. This is very dangerous for an accident-prone person like me. I’m positive baking won’t be a common practice during my stay.
Is This Camp?
My bedroom accommodates four people. I was a little surprised to see bunk-beds because the pictures I saw online were single beds with canopies covering the. Oh, well for the accuracy of the website.
I’ve been on a firm mattress or two before. My mother loved firm mattresses. However, the bed and pillows here are the hardest I’ve ever touched. If Bedrock were a real town, the mattresses and pillows here would definitely be a few of its products.
There is only one working shower out of two bathrooms. You have the choice to take a shower in the bathroom with the working shower that has low water pressure, light and toilet. Or, you can opt to brush your teeth in the bathroom with only a working sink. Decisions…
Should you ever run out of water for any reason, don’t worry. Two water bins occupy each bathroom to help you take a bucket bath.
Yes, I’m living the highlife in Ghana.
Where are the People?
On the Ikando website, about nine staff members are listed. Of those seven, only one, Kwesi, is actually here. What happened to the other six?
Kwesi lives full-time at the house, and his role does match what is one the website. For my first few hours in Ghana, he was a pretty good guide. Hopefully, he’ll be as helpful for the rest of my stay.
We have a security guard here who I’m sure is beyond AARP age. He has no gun. No baton. No mace. But he does have a newspaper, a lawn chair and eyes that enjoy taking pleasure in siestas. I will certainly die should a crazy person lurk around Ikando.
Apparently, we have a new housekeeper, Adiza, who is not featured on the website. I find her to be a bit of an oxymoron since she is a messy housekeeper. Whose four pair of flip-flops are scattered around the dining room floor? The housekeeper’s. Whose toothpaste is sitting in the windowsill? The housekeeper’s. Whose dirty dishes are in the sink? The housekeeper’s. I hear she’s a good sweeper.
There’s a staff member who answers e-mails and manages the house. I’ve only met him a few times, but I can definitely say that he is a well-dressed man who likes silver pinky rings. I am certain that some of my placement fee went to something on his body instead of the broken entrance door handle and kitchen sink. But, I’m just speculating.
Directly across from the Ikando house is an abandoned house lived in by a family. A lady who makes fufu and okra stew has recently opened up shop in front of the abandoned building, and it looks like there is another shop or restaurant that will open soon right next to her.
Less than a minute’s walk away is one of Ghana’s top newspapers where I initially wanted to work. I’m still not sure what the whole story is behind my nonexistent placement there. Other major, local businesses also share office space with the newspaper.
Should I ever need furniture or a seamstress, I can mosey right on down the road to see a carpenter making coffee tables and a seamstress making dresses with kente cloth.
If I should need eggs, African art, a haircut or grilled plantain; all I have to do is visit the local shops on the corner. Almost everything can be found on the corner. If not, I can just walk a few minutes up to Nima market and buy a whole meal for less than $10 USD.
The Ikando house could definitely use some improvements, but I am mindful that I do have some luxuries that many in the city do not have.
Accra is a city on the rise, but issues from lack of resources can make the quality of life less than desirable.
77.6 percent of houses in Accra have indoor toilets, but only 30 percent have flushing toilets and only 20 percent have indoor plumbing.
While it will be harder for me to wash my thick hair with poor water pressure, I’m appreciative that I can flush a toilet.