November 14


Things to do on a Saturday

Making oxygen

I am in Ghana, it’s really hot, and I am working with the Tropical Lab Initiative during the week. You probably think I sit by the pool all weekend sipping Star* beer,  right?

Not quite. Some months ago I was sitting in a restaurant here in Kumasi. It’s called KRB, but we call it KGB. Anyhow, I noticed another Obruni** reading an Ian Rankin book. As the only 2 people sitting in the place, it would have been rude not to have introduced myself. It turned out Tehran (as in the capital of Iran), came to Kumasi from San Francisco, is really fun to be around and runs a literacy group on Saturdays for some of the local children. The following weekend I went along to help out and surprisingly, enjoyed it! The activities vary from just reading together, playing word games, and yes, I even taught chemistry. ‘Taught’ makes it sound much more structured than it really was. In practice, I bought a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, Tehran agreed to be bled (she didn’t let me take a piece of liver), we mixed the 2, and made oxygen. We also managed to blow-up a latex glove using vinegar and baking soda.

Very exciting. We normally finish by playing a game. For rounders, you just need a tennis ball and a shoe and the children bring the enthusiasm.

Saturday is also the chance to cook after the children have gone home.  We are both have Italian parents(s) and eating pasta and drinking wine, well, it’s genetic isn’t it?

*A Ghanaian brand. Treat with care. Even a small bottle can give you a headache the next day.

**Obruni. In the Twee language it means white person and confers something akin to minor celebrity status here. I am not entirely sure why.