The ADVENTURE, continued….

(continued)…

When we got to our hotel, it started to POUR! We waited for it to settle down, but it didn’t. So, we headed to the Cape Coast Restaurant to get wet and to meet Tom’s friend. When we got there, we learned the drum rehearsal was cancelled due to the rain. Then, to our surprise, Tom found out the guy he was going to meet there was already in the states!

Tom had persuaded us to come with him to Cape Coast for the sole purpose of meeting this guy, and he wasn’t even there! We felt angry, stupid, and sad. We decided to go back to the hotel, grab our things and head back to Accra before it got too late. We had traveled ALL THIS WAY, 5 or so hours, to see someone who was in the United States. What a waste!

FOOLED YA! That’s what might have happened if we were close-minded turd heads who can’t deal with a little inconvenience. I didn’t go to Ghana to do activity A by myself and then go home. I came to Ghana to try to do activity A, and along the way do activity B, C person D, buy item E, get in a fight with person F (and be like what the F?!) , and eat dinner with person G’s grandma.

I recently got into a verbal argument with my friend who told me that an Apple was the best fruit because “A is for Apple”. I agree that Apple is the best fruit (it does keep the doctor away), but I told him that A is really for Adventure.

Feeling adventurous, we walked along the . We wanted to swim, but it was still raining a little and getting dark.

At the restaurant, we met an old man who has clearly been taking drugs for well over 25 years. He told us he wanted to have a chat with us, and began lecturing us on a world history lesson that seemed to make little sense. He said he likes Cape Coast because they have a great library. (DO THEY?!) He also said Jimmy Hendrix use to go to Morocco because they have the best Heroine there. It was hard to follow ANYTHING he was saying, but his Australian accent made it kinda funny to listen to.

We made a   at the restaurant. Some Rastas named Wonder Boy and Ben! We were warned to be careful of Rastas because they: ‘lie, steal, and smoke weed.’ These guys seemed to be nice guys though. One claimed to be the best dancer in all of Cape Coast. Another was deaf. Luckily, our renaissance-man friend Tom SPEAKS sign language and was signing with.

We got a few beers to lighten the mood, and asked our friends where we could go and get some good food. On the way there, they took us to their friend’s shop, where they tried to get us to buy his things. My friend Ryan and I are negotiating with a 60+ year old Rasta man for these hats, and next thing you know he breaks out into singing a Reggae hook, Tom starts beat boxing, and I start free styling. At one point I was rapping to the old man about the hats that we wanted to buy:

“please you must reduce the price, these hats are cool but they’re not very nice, don’t try to rip us off just because we are white”. I don’t remember many of the lines but he responded with….“Brudda please give me money to support da yout (youth), cos I need to make some money to support da yout”. It was hilarious. We settled on a price and bought the two hats. Then, he supported his youth!

On the way to dinner, Tereza called me and asked where we were.

“Mennim, y3b3 didi, I don’t know, we are going to eat”.

“Where are you going to eat?”

“Um….mennim. Wop3 se wob3ba? I don’t know. Do you want to come?”

“Yes. Where are you?”

“I don’t know.”

On the way to dinner, we continued our musical performance as we walked down the street with my friend Tom beat boxing, I was rapping, and then our friend Wonder Boy whipped out a flute from his backpack and was jamming. Everyone we walked past stared at us like we were the walking circus.

With the help of Wonder Boy and Ken, we got some banku and Tilapia for dinner at a street grill right neat Wonder Boy’s house. We ate in Wonder Boy’s kitchen, which was a pitch-black room probably 4 wide and 4 feet long with just a sliver of light coming in from outside streetlights. Wonder Boy ordered enough food for all 5 of us, even though the three obrunis were the ones who paid. I’ve never eaten in the dark like that….and with my hands! It was a challenge to pick through the tilapia with our hands and try ti pluck out the meat in the dark. Wonder Boy introduced us to his little brother and told us that if we gave him money he would go out and buy us what ever we wanted. He did just that. He was like their little delivery boy. It was pretty funny. He got us water whenever we asked. He didn’t seem to mind at all. He actually acted as if he was glad to be out delivery boy.

Tereza, my gf of the day, met up with us during dinner, though she refused to eat and didn’t really talk much either. She probably thought we were all crazy. Why wouldn’t she? We appeared to be in Cape Coast for no reason with no plan, we were dancing in the middle of the street, , rapping, talking to random strangers in Twi, and had been following around two random strangers we had just met a few hours ago. And, I had met her the day before on the back of a bus and asked to hold her hand because I was scared of a movie! I guess we are crazy. Yet, somehow, in Ghana, as a foreigner…all of those things seemed pretty normal to us.

We walked to a local bar and danced our pants off. Yet, Tereza was practically silent the whole time and wouldn’t even dance with us. Wonder Boy showcased his talents (he did say he was the best dancer in all of Cape Coast), and taught us a few moves. Tereza had a friend , and she happened to be Wonder Boy’s ex-girlfriend (funny coincidence).

When we were sitting at our table, Tereza scolded me, “You haven’t offered to buy my friend a drink yet! You are being rude!” I was pretty thrown off. She was speaking her mind at least. I didn’t realize it was my responsibility to buy her friend a drink (who I didn’t even invite), but I did anyway (I’m a pushover). Her friend didn’t really talk to us or dance either. After trying to get Tereza to dance like 10 times, she said she had to go give her mom something but that she would come right back. She demanded that I would give her money for her cab. This could have been because she is poor and has no money. It could have been because she sees that I am white and assumed I am rich. Or, it could be because I was  her boyfriend so she thought it was my job to pay for everything. Or, it could be a combination of those. Or, I could be completely wrong!

Anyway, I did pay for her cab, since she’d be meeting up with us later that night. I offered to go along with her so she didn’t have to take the cab by herself. I said, “I should come with you? It is not safe for you to go alone”. Her response caught me off guard. “If you come it will not be safe for you. My father is home!”

That being said, she left and even promised me she would be back with us shortly. We walked to the next bar, which was on the beach. Unfortunately, when we got there, it was closed. We learned that the bar closes when it rains. We chilled on the beach for a little, and then headed back to our hotel. I called Tereza over 10 times, and I couldn’t get through to her. Not all real life love stories have happy endings…. :-(

The three of us slept side by side in a king side bed, content with our days’ journey. We were all surprised Tereza would just ditch me like that. I wasn’t, though. We made plans to meet up with Wonder Boy and Ben the following day, though we had NO IDEA what we were going to get into…

<<<The adventure continues….Don’t leave your computer screens!>>>

ONE LOVE!!

Jeremy Kwabena Ginsburg

Hello all,

Sorry it’s been so long. It’s been a rough/interesting adjustment back to “Yankee” life (as Ghanaians may call it). Though I definitely have great stories back here that remind me of Ghana and would be fun to write about, I first need to recap the last trip I made while I was still in Ghana (seems like forever ago, doesn’t it?!).

It was about 4 weeks ago, I’ll do my best to be as detailed as possible, but just like everyone’s old grandparents, the vivid memories I have are getting smaller and smaller by the day.

For my last ADVENTURE in Ghana, I traveled with two of my friends from my trip (Tom and Ryan). It’s always nice to travel with just guys because…..wow too many reasons to even name. Just kidding, it’s nice to travel with the guys on my trip because we are all capable of being alone for long periods of time, and we’re essentially down for whatever (except meth).

My friend Tom had planned out a trip to go to Cape Coast so he could meet a Ghanaian drummer that he is working with this summer. That was the main purpose of the trip. Though, like a lot of things when you are abroad in Ghana, random opportunities are thrown your way and don’t have a choice but to follow the Ghanaian brick road (careful of the open gutters).

OKAY! SO……we got a taxi around 10 in the morning to make our way to the station where we would catch a bus to cape coast. We decided it would be worth the extra $5 and 2.5 hours to take a taxi over a trotro. On the way there, there was A LOT of  . Since this was my last trip and came toward the end of my stay in Ghana, I brought along a few items that I intended to trade away and see what I could get in return.

On the way to the station, I stuck my items out the window and attracted traffic vendors. It was a great success! I traded a broken watch that I got for $2 in Benin for an iPhone case, and the guy was so elated. I sold my belt to my taxi driver for $3 (it didn’t fit). Everyone who saw me sticking items out the window thought I was giving them out as a gift. WRONG! I realized no one would pay for my headphones so I just threw a pair of broken fake beats to a guy on a trotro holding his hand out. I’m sure he’s never seen an Obruni who did that before!  Here’s two videos of my trying to sell stuff out of the window. (Ryan Delvin on Camera).

When we got to the station, we got on our bus and left within ONLY 5 minutes. IT WAS AMAZING! On the bus, we happened to be sitting next to a girl that we all thought was pretty cute. I was sitting next to her, and I began making small talk in Twi. Although I’m very proud at the amount of Twi I’ve learned in such a small period in time, I was still limited.

I asked her what her name was, where she was from, and I told her that I was a student. She said she was born on Tuesday (Twi name Abena), I told her that I was also born on Tuesday (Twi name Kwabena)! WHAT DO YA KNOW!?

I told her that I liked to eat fufu and that she should call me. I gave her my number as we preceded to watch the Ghanaian film showing on the bus. I told her that the movie was a bit scary for me, and I asked if she would hold my hand to comfort me (smooth, right?). As I held her hand, I smiled and winked at my two friends who were both thinking the same thing. “Jeremy’s SUCH A PIMP!”

I wish. They were thinking, “We’ve got a tour guide for the afternoon!”

When we got off the bus, our new friend asked us what we were doing. We had no plans. I asked her what she was doing, she had no plans. So she decided to join us. She took us to get some Kenkey (that was actually gross….and I LOVE KENKEY!). We  and looked for new foods to try and cool stuff to buy.

Tereza (her Christian named) walked with us and kept asking me where we were going. She seemed very surprised each time when I told her we didn’t know. We had about 4 hours to til until Tom was meeting with his Drummer friend. I bought some cool hats and a colorful backpack and a tie of the Ghana flag. Every time I bought something Tereza offered to carry it. Not offered, insisted. I didn’t think of it as much until she asked if we wanted to go meet her mother and see her batiking shop. This was getting pretty seriousy pretty fast.

We had nothing better to do and had no idea where we were, so we went and . At this point I assumed I was on “meeting the family” stage, so I tried to give a good first impression. We left my ‘future mother-in-law’, and we headed to our hotel so we could make it to the drum rehearsal in time to meet Tom’s friend. Tereza said bye and asked what we were doing later and said she wanted to see me again. :-)

Relationships move fast in Ghana. I had only known her about 5 hours, and I’m pretty sure she already thought that I was her boyfriend…

<<<<<<STAY TUNED>>>>>

Jay-Kwabz

Hello,

You are Welcome.

The dance, Azonto, is HUGE in Ghana. Since I was there for several months, I managed to learn a few moves. I decided to practice them out in public and see how Ghanaians responded. Here’s a little video I put together. ENJOY!

Love,

Jeremy Kwabena Ginsburg

aka “Azonto Boy”

So…..

I may be back in the states, but my heart and mind are still in Ghana. So, I’ve decided to let my mind pour out some more thoughts on my experience while it’s still fresh!

Aside from the tribal and local languages prevalent in Ghana, English isn’t the only other spoken dialect. In fact, a language spoken more commonly between males on campus is called Pidgin. Pronounced like the bird, Pidgin (known as West African Pidgin) is a vernacular of broken English combined with certain vocabulary of the local language. Pidgin usually develops in high school, or SS as Ghanaians call it, and is spoken mostly among males.

During my first few weeks in Ghana, I did my best to learn Twi so I could talk to people and integrate with Ghanaian culture as much as possible. When I learned about Pidgin, I became so fascinated with the language that it became the language that I wanted to learn. Pidgin took the highest priority, and Twi, Ewe, Ga, English, etc. took a back seat.

On campus, most of the guys speak Pidgin. During my time coaching the UG basketball team, I noticed the guys spoke pidgin exclusively, except when they were talking to an Obroni. It’s a language with no books or written rules. Girls don’t really speak it. I’ve been told that on average about 1/10 girls speaks pidgin, and I’ve noticed my experience on campus that most girls don’t even understand it, either. But, it differs wherever you go. It’s spoken but it has no grammatical structure, yet people still can understand each other easily and seem to know the structure with out realizing it.

You can find more about it yourself at

.

After writing this, I also realized one of my friends was writing a thesis on Pidgin, and she has a 26 page report on it. I don’t have that off hand, but I did find this site written by one of her professors. http://archive.lib.msu.edu/DMC/African%20Journals/pdfs/Institue%20of%20African%20Studies%20Research%20Review/2002v18n2/asrv018002006.pdf

If you’d rather just stay on this page and learn from what my small brain has gathered, here’s what I’ve been able to pool together about Pidgin and its history.

West African Pidgin came to be when the Europeans came to Africa during the Atlantic slave trade, as Europeans communicated their negotiations with local chiefs. Pidgin developed as the primary language spoken between the Europeans and the Chiefs, as combination between English and the local languages spoken. Africans who were able to learn Pidgin were the ones who could succeed in trading with the Europeans. West African Pidgin exists in Sierra Leon, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, and most West African Countries. Each region has a different Pidgin with different terms, though a similar structure.

In Ghana, Pidgin vernacular changes as you visit different regions. The Pidgin spoken on the UG campus is different then the Pidgin spoken up north. My friends tell me that even every High School has its own Pidgin. It’s a form of broken English, so it’s mostly spoken by the youth or of people that aren’t deemed as “educated”.

 

(NOTE keep in mind that ‘R’s in pidgin aren’t really pronounced)

In Legon, Pidgin includes some Ga (since Ga is the tribal language of Accra) words, such as Gbekeh (night) and hia (need), some Twi words, such as “koraa” (at all). Other words stem from no language….they are just “Pidgin” words.

Some examples: “ebola”=Big, “barb” =understand/catch, “chow” (like cow with a CH)=a lot, “chop”=to eat, “Choo” (rhyming with low)= food. So…. “I chop choo chow” means, “I ate a lot of food”.

Aside from words that stem from tribal languages, there are other English words that take on different meanings or have their own abbreviations. Some make more sense than others. “Bof” means to bath. “sati” means satisfied. “Booze” = to drink alcohol. “suck”= to drink, “figa”=think. “Rydee” = Right now. “hung”=hungry. “tiya=tired”. Other words seem to stem from English words, but are still used differently. Sake of= Because.  Fit= can. Wedge=to wait. “queer” means a little, and “crosh” means to meet up.

There isn’t really any set “rules” for Pidgin. I have no idea how similar Ghanaian Pidgin is to other West African countries, but I learned as much as I could about the Pidgin spoken around me. Being back in the states, I just met up with a friend from Cameroon, and we could understand each other’s Pidgin almost perfectly.

Pidgin Structure and Rules:

There are tenses. Present test includes “De”, which is similar to a “to be” verb. I de chop= I am eating. (but to chop someone is to sleep with them!) I de hung = I’m hungry.  “I de go bof” = I’m going to go shower.

However, “Dey” is also used as the verb “to be”. I dey my room = I’m in my room. The pronunciation is slightly different.

Without De, it changes to passed tense. I chop already = I ate already.  “I go market” =I went to the market. “I bed” = I slept

For future tense, you add, “go”. I go call you = I’m going to call you. We go jam waa = we’re going to party a lot.

For commands, you use “make”. Make I come plus you? = Can I come with you? Make we link up = Let’s meet up. There aren’t really any prepositions or articles. Make we go Mall = Let’s go to the mall. I de go campus= I’m going to campus.

For negations, use the word, “no”, and it always (I think..) comes directly after the subject. I no barb what you de talk= “I didn’t understand what you are saying”. If you change it to I no de barb what you de talk, then it means, “I’m not understanding what you are saying”.

So here are some examples:

I de chop= I’m eating

I chop = I ate

I no chop = I didn’t eat

I go chop = I will eat

I de go chop = I am going to eat

Make I chop= Let me eat/can I eat?

Make we chop= let’s eat! (you are invited to my food)

For more words and phrases: see Learn Pidgin.

If I don’t know how to say it in Pidgin, I follow 3 simple rules.

  1. Start with “Chalé”, (or Charlie., how it’s spelled in Africa)
  2. Instead of using articles or preposition, add “de” whenever it seems to be appropriate
  3. Add “oo” to the end.

For example, Chalé I de want learn dance azonto oo” = Yo, I want to learn to dance azonto.  Chalé I chop too much den I de get fat oo = Yo, I ate too much I’m getting fat. Even if it’s not REAL REAL Pidgin (no such thing as “proper” Pidgin), Ghanaians will understand it.

Ghanaian Pidgin differs depending on where you are. When I went to cape coast I was speaking Pidgin to some Rastas and they had some different vocabulary, but we could still communicate. Some of the Pidgin used around campus is taking from other Pidgin English, most often from Nigerian Pidgin, or Patwa, Jamaican Pidgin. I hear my friends using expressions from Nigerian Pidgin and Patwa such as “How Far”, (Nigerian Pidgin) and Wogwan (Patwa). Both mean “what’s up!?

I have some favorites that I like to use consistently:

wey tin man no see before= what ever happens, happens

Chalé day break! =good morning

man tiya woman no no= I’m fed up (literally…man is tired and the woman don’t even know)

you fuck up= you’re kidding!/you’re funny!

we go crosh=  see you later/around

yo muddah = your mom’s %*$$&

safe = be safe

one = one love

make we link up morrow = let’s meet up tomorrow

I booze rough = I drake too much

I make fine = I’m drunk

 Masa, that thing/level no dey oo = Man! You’ve taken this too far/ That’s enough

you de bore me saf! = you’re really pissing me off

why you dawg me sof? = why are you ignoring me?

you make I make sad = you’re making me sad/you messed up my day

I de hung baaaaaad! =I’m SO hungry

My Obroni friends and I make up our own Pidgin.

I de go vom = I’m going to throw up (vomit)

Yesti I make diedie = Yesterday I had diarrhea

Make I blast your head ?= Can I poop on your head?

I de wan go chop something tantalizing = I wanna go eat Luisa’s food

I de go pop pills = I’m going to take my malaria medication

It’s so f*@#ing hot = I’m so fu@#ing hot

Charlie you de swag oo = you’re all swagged out/dressing nice!

So….if you wan speak de Pidgin plus me…just make I know sake of I no go forget Pidgin oo!! I go teach you… no yawa!

One!

Jeremy Kwabena G.

This is a song I wrote and performed at the CIEE farewell dinner. I managed to record it on my laptop….but if anyone knows any legit producers that wants to make a better quality track. let me know! Enjoy! Sorry if you haven’t been to Ghana and don’t catch all the references. Actually, I’m not sorry…

https://vimeo.com/43408354

 

xoxoxo

 

Jeremy Kwabena