“I Blog so hard I gotta broke clock”
Dear family and friends, I don’t want this fun to end.
SO much has happened in this past week. I feel so lucky to be able to experience such amazing things each and every day. I hope it doesn’t end! My group is filled with wonderful people with great hearts and I’m enjoying getting to know all of them. My U-Pals (Ghanaian volunteers) are incredible, too. One of them, Achu aka sneeze name, is my next door neighbor, and is majoring in Dance. His dancing and rhythmic skills are ridiculous, but his personality and attitude is even more impressive. I’ve known him under 2 weeks, but he has already managed to motivate me in many ways. He is truly inspiring, and I’m excited to live next to him all year. He has scheduled two dance sessions where he is teaching a bunch of us an African Dance. It’s super fun to learn, even though most of us feel like idiots trying to do these moves. It’s quite the work out! Imagine African Zumba….but done in a Hot Yoga room!!! I’m sure you don’t want to imagine the odor it generates. After our 2nd rehearsal, some of his friends/colleagues came and performed. They were a trio of two drummers and a floutest/recorder. The band was really good. They played some Charlie Parker cover and were rockin out. The most impressive part was when the guy was playing the flute out of his nose!!! He was hitting notes, too and it sounded good! I could NOT believe that!! He must’ve had to practice that a lot….then he took it out of his nose and stuck it right into his mouth and went on. Kinda gross, but hey…it’s AFRICA!
Yesterday our group went on a tour of Accra. We drove for most of it, and it was very cool to see the city. We went to Kwame Nkamu’s grave (the first president of Ghana), which was cool. There we saw a bunch of little school children that were so cute. They kept running up to us and wanting to slap high fives and saying “Hello Obruni!” which means “white person/foreigner”. It’s the equivalent to “Gringo” in Spanish. The kids were so cute and funny. Some of the kids we run into act all excited but then ask you for money. So, now, whenever I run into little children I’ve started asking THEM for money before they ask me. It’s a fun game to play.
We also passed by the poorest area in Accra. Hearing about their living conditions really put things into perspective. Some houses are as small as one room and can be the home for 8 people or even more. They use public bathrooms, and the lines to use them each morning can be up to 40 people long! I saw a man in a towel going to or from the bathroom walking across the street in the middle of the day amidst people. It’s crazy.
Ghana is 2-0 in the African Cup! Watching the games here is CRAZY. It reminds me of Badger Football games. Some of the cheers are quite funny. “GO AWAY (clap clap clap -Clap) GO AWAY!” When Ghana scores a goal, EVERYONE goes crazy and jumps up and down for about 10 minutes. No joke. 10 minutes. The bar that I’m at played music after their goal and everyone started dancing in celebration. I was sitting next to a Ghanaian girl, a friend of mine, and every time other team started advanced the ball far enough that you could even see the Ghana goalie she would scream at the top of her lungs as if she was giving birth to triplets. My ears didn’t appreciate it. After the game vs. Botwana (I think) Ghana won, I was ready to party and celebrate, but apparently Ghana was the big favorites and everyone was bummed they didn’t win by more goals.
Everyone here is so friendly. Just on a simple walk, you can meet 4 or 5 people that say hello and want to chat and hear about your story and why you are in Ghana. In America, if you make eye contact with someone for more than a second, I feel like you normally walk past each other. Sometimes you might think the other person was staring you down or giving you a dirty look. Here, if you make eye contact, most of the time they’ll say hello or ask how you are doing. It’s funny being referred to as “Obama’s people”.
I played basketball with the Ghanaians the other day. It was real fun. They weren’t playing full court though. It was half court 3 on 3, games to 3. Losers begin with the ball, and the team that calls “next” and plays the winner has to ref. As soon as I played I heard some of them yelling “Oh! Obruni good passer! Obruni dribble nice!”. It was semi-competitive. On Sundays the players from the team come and play, and sometimes players from the National team show up as well. Not sure if I’ll be able to get in that pick up game but I definitely want to watch. It’s crazy to me that the Varsity team here practices on an outdoor court in the open with people everywhere. I asked someone about trying out for the team or coaching and they said they don’t have “tryouts”. Here, the varsity coaches recruit players by watching the games between halls, and if they think you are good enough they’ll ask you to play. It’s basically as if Coach K from Duke were to choose his team based on intramural games. The basketball team was chosen first semester, but I really want to talk to the coach and see if I can help out by coaching.
Oh yeah, last week the water went out for a day or so. It actually went out while I was showering. I was only about half way done, but I guess someone else decided it was time to wrap it up! Then, the next day I took my first bucket bath! It wasn’t that bad. I still felt a little dirty afterwards, but I knew I was going to get sweaty in the next hour anyways so I didn’t mind. It actually was quite relaxing. I felt good about myself for conserving water, and I felt it made up for brushing my teeth with the faucet on growing up! haha.
I briefly met my roommate. He moved in some of his stuff but then left for the weekend. He’s Ghanaian, and he said he lives about an hour away. His name is Michael. He seems pretty shy, but we’ll see. He is very neat, hopefully he cleans up my stuff, haha. I don’t want to jump to conclusions but he has striped pink cheats and a pink pillow with a large heart on it….haha not sure what to make of that! J
Yesterday it was laundry day! No one has laundry machines here, and even if they can afford it and buy them, the electricity isn’t sufficient enough to use them….so I had to get my hands dirty to get my CLOTHES CLEAN! With the help of my Ghanaian friend, Hannah (what an ANGEL!), I learned how to hand wash my clothes. Man did I suck at that! I had no idea what I was doing. I couldn’t squeeze all of the water out. Had I done it by myself, my laundry probably would have taken 4-5 hours and my clothes would have been 50-70% clean. But, with Hannah’s help, we got through it in an hour and half-ish and now I’m waiting for my clothes to dry. I could never be Amish, that’s for sure! Hand washing your laundry was the only thing here that made me think “I could never get use to this”. Bucket showers, loss of electricity and water, eating with your hands, I could live the rest of my life with that. But….hand washing my clothes….I donno!!! So in my African dreams of living here forever, I guess I’ll have to find a wife who doesn’t mind doing my laundry! haha.
Ghanaian men are VERY persistent. AKA….CREEPY! I’ve had to save some of the girls on my trip a few times from some locals that demand numbers. This how the typical conversation goes: question 1) “Hey Obruni! What’s your name” 2)what’s your number? 3)where do you live? some of the American girls aren’t quite use to that. The white girls on my trip get proposed to once in a while. Once I get my confidence up, I plan on proposing to strangers that I see on the street. When in Ghana, do as the Ghanaians do.!!!
aight…I’m going to the beach now, so I gotta bounce. Big day today! Stay tuned!
PS please comment. I will do my best to respond to them! I want to know your thoughts, opinions, concerns, and life aspirations.