Ghana- Week 5 Continued: For Better or For Worse

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February 18th 2013
Published: February 18th 2013
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Kindergarten ClassroomKindergarten ClassroomKindergarten Classroom

During Morning Assembly
My internship, which I had stated previously, was what I would be counting down each day until the last, could have been seen as a small part of my stay here, if I were to ignore what was happening and just be in the school environment versus actually living within it. Instead, I have decided to do the adult thing, and take everything I witness at my internship as a learning experience of the Ghanaian culture. So with that decided, my internship with not only be a huge part of my time in Ghana where I will go happily there, well that is after morning assembly (where most of the caning is done in public) but where I can understand the future generation, with not only a business mindset, of consumer mentality, but on the level of psychology. That is, in the idea that what happens within the education system contributes greatly to how the country is actually developing.

I actually came up with this little observation research project when I was speaking to a teacher, at the school I work at, on the topic of caning. I was impressed to see that he wanted to know my opinion(s) and was even more excited when he mentioned that he understood that caning was just a scare tactic to get the students to listen, so instead of hitting them, he always just holds the cane when he needed their undying attention. He vowed that he never hit a child at the school the entire time he’s been a teacher. I was so happy to hear that, that I thanked him for being so honest and open with me. Post that conversation, (after meeting the two classes that I would be teaching English to) I went back downstairs to my Kindergarten class and taught the kids “I’m bringing home a bumble bee” song (Thank you, summer camp job)!

I was content after my second day at my internship; I even got the (shared) taxi driver to drive me closer to where I wanted to go for about a nickel because I paid the last woman in the taxi the change that he owed her. So I was in a win-win situation, if I do say so myself.

And then the next day came around and I went to the company: Trashy Bags, for field research for my Ashesi class, and got to see the entire production line of how the company gets hold of used sachets/plastic and old banners to make into bags and other cool products. And then I left the University at around 7pm after writing and emailing out my Creative Writing homework and proceeded to FALL INTO A HOLE. Yes, I fell into a hole, just casually of course and twisted my left ankle this time around. But because I wasn’t in that safe of an environment like last time, instead of sitting down in the dirt where I was, I got up right away and continued to walk to the bus stop to get on a Tro-tro and get myself home. It was only when I got home when I saw that my knee was bleeding and that my ankle really hurt. But with my fingers crossed, I just went to bed hoping that I didn’t need to go to the hospital (and I have yet to gone back there).

Saturday, the sun rose and the chickens and roosters chatted away. I got up to go to my Host Mother’s nephew’s wedding that she had just asked me the other night to go to. Overall,
The Confetti The Confetti The Confetti

During "Popping the Champagne"
I have to admit the wedding would have been seen the typical American Bridezilla’s WORST Nightmare. The wedding was unorganized, the focus was more on the church than the couple themselves, and it was quite tacky. But when the singers sang, everyone stood up to sing and dance and celebrate the love that was inside the church. Nothing else mattered for the couple, besides being officially married, as they were handed a license in a big envelope and a random plastic bag to mark their marriage instead of sealing the deal with a kiss.

My Host Mother’s son who went as well also mentioned that the wedding was a sub-standard wedding and that he didn’t actually enjoy the wedding at all. It was different to have the reception follow the ceremony right after in the same venue and be sent off with bagged take-out food to leave the Bride and Groom at the church, versus watching them drive away first. The entire wedding lasted about 5 hours, and we showed up an hour late. It was definitely an interesting experience to observe and take part in when nothing that was being said I understood, because it was all preached
The ChampagneThe ChampagneThe Champagne

...that was "Act" (Fluoride) pink...
in Twi (besides the word “sex” when talking about the bible… of the story of Adam and Eve as I found out a little after the fact). And because of the chaotic atmosphere, I am sure that it will be an event that I never forget, so thank you Mr. and Mrs. Abbey for allowing me to sit in on your wedding day and sneak my face into the picture for the Groom’s side of the family with the newly married couple.

Then my day of rest came on the good ole’ Sundays, where nothing really happens and I got to just speak with my Host Mother about life, the family, and how some children’s minds work due to certain life changing events. I was glad that she found my perspective on a few situations within the household to be helpful and I was appreciative to the fact that she opened up to me to really make me part of the big family that I had just met the day before. By now living with my host family for a month, I can honestly say that it is not just a place that I reside in when in Ghana
Typical SundayTypical SundayTypical Sunday

playing paper futbol
but a place where I call home. And I know in the future I will continue to keep in contact and see my Host Mother, at the very least (I mean, she did just ask me when I was graduating. And when I asked her if she would come to the graduation, she said that that was exactly what she was thinking when she asked when it was.). So family in the US, be ready to meet my Ghanaian family when they surprise me on their next visit to the States.

So all in all, it was a great week besides of course the tramatic realization of caning and falling into a hole. I got to learn and see a lot during my 5th week in Ghana.


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