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Published: August 31st 2010
Hello all! So I have officially been in Ghana for two weeks today, and I am starting to feel more at home. My roommate Sharon has moved in, she’s a senior and has lived in Accra her whole life. Classes have begun which are going alright so far. It’s a little difficult to understand the professors sometimes because they have such thick accents and speak very fast. Today I walked into my math class at 7:30 a.m. and was the only white person in the whole lecture hall. Everyone was staring at me and someone shouted out “Hey Obruni, are you lost?!” (Obruni means white person or stranger). I just smiled and laughed along with them. Back home it was so easy to blend in with the crowd but here I stick out like a pink elephant.
Last weekend there was a welcoming dinner at the University that we all attended. There we got to watch and even participate in some traditional Ghanaian dancing, food, and music. I tried a traditional Ghanaian dish called fufu which is a thick paste made from boiling these starchy roots and then pounding them down. It is a staple dish in West Africa and is usually served in broth with some kind of meat. I tried it with goat, which I immediately wanted to spit out. I don’t think I will be trying that again anytime soon… After that it was our USAC director’s birthday party so we all headed over to her house for more food, drinks, and dancing. Then there was an after party for all the international students at a nightclub in Accra so we all went to that and danced some more!
I have found this little community school to volunteer at where about fifty children share this tiny classroom. They are all so passionate about learning and like to ask me questions about life in “Obama land”. I usually work with the younger kids (ages 4-6) on spelling, reading, and their colors, and help the older kids (ages 7-12) with multiplication, long division, reading, and grammar. There are often a couple babies there that are some of the student’s younger siblings. I asked a 5-year-old girl named Patience why she had brought her 18-month-old sister with her to school and she told me that she had to or her mother couldn’t go to work because they had no money for daycare or a nanny. The responsibility that is placed on these children is amazing. In the States we would call child services but here it is completely normal.
This weekend is the trip to Northern Ghana and I’m very excited to go on Safari and do some exploring. It will be good to get out of the city and see how people live in the rural areas of Ghana. Hopefully I will get to see lots of animals and beautiful landscapes! Well I’m off to class, I will be writing soon to tell you all of my adventures up north!
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