Odenbach’s room is filled with flowers, beautifully bound books, his grandparents’ porcelain, and framed botanical drawings made by his mother that, sadly, have become moldy. Beside the bed are dog toys brought from Germany for Turtis, who has acquired a taste for expensive European pet accessories. Höller’s room is more ascetic: virtually bare except for a large wooden bed and a table bearing his laptop and camera.
Life in Ghana has gotten easier in the years they have spent there. Tourism has increased as the economy has grown, imported food is more available, and a farm has opened near their place, selling milk and yogurt. Höller and Odenbach buy fruit and vegetables from a local market, and they tote “emergency supplies” of coffee, jams, and olive oil in their luggage, along with Turtis’s favorite German sausages and candy for the housekeeper’s kids.
They spend several weeks a year at the house, often with friends. Odenbach is usually accompanied by his partner, the jewelry designer Rudolf Klein, but occasionally goes there alone to work. Höller generally times his trips to escape to the sun during the European winter. “In Sweden, everybody has a summer house, but the summers in Stockholm are wonderful,” he says. “I love the idea of doing it like the birds, migrating here for the winter. Coming to Ghana to see how the place works is always very fascinating—even though you know you will never truly get it.”