Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things in Bags

Ghana has an obsession with bags. After living in the States where stores are trying to reduce waste by urging people to bring their own reusable bags, this has been quite an adjustment. I am used to going to a store with my backpack and loading up the groceries or simply carrying a few items in my hands without a bag. Ghana has a slightly different approach. If I buy a loaf of bread and some cut up pineapple from the market, I end up with usually 4 plastic bags – the bread in one, the pineapple in another, then an extra one just in case it leaks, and the two items then go in a larger bag.

Despite the negative impact of all the plastic waste on the environment, I have developed a slight obsession with some of these items that come in bags.  First, the fresh fruit bought off the street always comes in a bag and is amazing. The fruit sellers are experts at cutting pineapple, papaya, and watermelon without touching the inside of the fruit, and there is something so satisfying about squeezing the extra ripe fruit from the opening in the bag and drinking the juice at the end. Then there is pure water – sold in water sashays and available off the heads of many sellers all over town. These sashays are filled with 500 ml of clean, refreshing water that you drink from a corner after biting a small hole. It is so handy to be able to buy a small bag full of water on the street wherever you are.

But by far my favorite item in Ghana that is consumed from a bag is FanIce. This amazing creation is essentially ice cream in a bag, but it really is so much more. It is a cold, sweet treat that momentarily sends you to a place far away from the hot scorching African sun. The sound of the FanIce seller’s horn gives me a similar sensation to that of an ice cream truck from my childhood. For a while, this was a daily indulgence for me, although I have cut back now to just a few times a week. I’m really not sure what I am going to do back in America without FanIce - I have even considered starting my own FanIce business.
So delicious, so refreshing, so FANtastic

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