But there were always days when, buried in the blur of culture shock, we all longed for a ‘taste of home’. There was a small Lebanese grocery store called Kwatsons that we'd visit, at the top of the Osu main strip, just admiring all the expensive imported foods. And once in a blue moon I’d buy a little block of cheese, or some real butter (as opposed to the cheap and readily available, non-refrigerated mystery bread fat), a jar of jam and a fresh baguette bread.
Kwatsons became Koala over the years, though I assume it’s the same family who owns it. They’ve grown and expanded and today you can pretty much buy anything you might want. And these days I don’t have to look longingly, I just get on with the grocery shopping.
Accra has a big mall now, up the other end of town, through throngs of traffic… but I still prefer the family run Koala. They really try. Last December, in the blazing heat, they set up a fake snow machine outside the door, so when you were at the check outs looking out, it appeared as a blistery winter’s day in Canada. (Now THAT’s trying). They acknowledge each holiday – from Easter to Eid and of course Christmas.
It could be said that they are just capitalizing on the season. That there’s no authenticity, no heart. That maybe the staff who string these things up have no clue of the cultural significance…
I was in Koala on the weekend, and noticed they’d put up a Christmas tree this year!
I just had to take a photo and share. Here it is (and no, I did not stand on my head to take the picture):