Ghana- Week 8: Relaxed Celebrations

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Africa » Ghana » Greater Accra » Legon
March 11th 2013
Published: March 11th 2013
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This past week was a relaxed week due to not going to my internship and having Wednesday, which is normally my full day of classes off because of Ghana's Independence Day holiday. Without doing really anything significant this week it ended up being a great week for my body to decide to get sick.

I was sick when I woke up on Monday morning. I had the shivers and was sweating more than I normally do. I had a headache and my stomach hurt. It was definitely not a good day for me. So while thoughts of the possibility of me having Malaria flew through my mind... I just ignored it and tried to tell myself that sleep would cure me. The next day I felt 10 times better, still had a few symptoms but I had to ignore it so that I could get myself to campus and go to dance class.

I had a Dance Exam, based on the first dance that we learned called the Damba, which is from the northern region of Ghana. So even if I felt horrible, I had to go because it was a group dance, where if I missed my time slot, it would not help my grade that's for sure. With nausea on my mind, butterflies filled my belly as the clock ticked closer to my group, “I”s turn. I had a stick in hand, ready to dance with it but all of the moves of the dance escaped my memory. I just wanted to get it over with. Once I got my number, 6, pinned to my shirt, I got my game face on and started getting pumped. Pretending that it was just like a track race, I started jumping and doing my mini on the line routine before stepping into the blocks on the track.

Everyone thought I was crazy, I’m sure if they noticed me, but I was too in the zone to care. I stepped into the center of the dance studio with the rest of my group and BAM! The music started and I was lost within the beats of the drums. I don’t remember at all if I danced well or what mistakes I might have made, I just know that I was smiling and my body moved with the music. As one of the dance instructors says, “I boogied”.

Then the following day was Ghana’s Independence Day. The country’s 57th year of independence was celebrated with a parade in the Independence Square where the president spoke and during the week school students marched in their area, if not in the actual parade. I watched the parade on the TV, which was nothing too special, but it was definitely nice to not go to school and just sit around the house. I ended up going to a place called TK Beads the day before (that I forgot to mention…) so I had a good amount of beads that I got to use to bead some necklaces and bracelets with. That is at least I got to design the jewelry, because I didn’t exactly have proper string, and so I spent a couple of hours with my host mother sitting at the dining table playing with beads. It was a simple bonding moment with her and something that I won’t forget.

The next day schools were closed, so I didn’t have to go to my internship again during the week and so I slept in and then went to dance class. The following day I just went to class and then back home to sleep… SLEEP is soo nice sometimes, especially when it’s so hot…

Then the weekend came and the Weddings started to roll in. For a wedding that was supposed to start at 11am, didn’t actually start until after 1pm…and it wasn’t even the ceremony it was just for the reception. The couple decided on a very simple gathering, where they went to sign the marriage papers at the office to return to a celebration of friends and family. It was Atsu who had invited me and Robbie to the wedding, and we were welcomed as the Americans, as always. For the meal, which was being given out in takeout boxes to other guests, Robbie and I got pulled aside and taken to the back of the house where the food was cooking and was offered Banku and Okra stew instead of the plain rice and simple tomato stew with chicken. They wanted to give us the real Ghanaian experience with one of their well-known dishes…and the odd part of all of it was that we were sitting in the alley way of the house…eating Banku while the wedding party was dancing in the front of the house.

Above us the clouds stirred and the rain started to fall, and a stampede of cows ran by the house, what was peaceful became slightly chaotic as everyone tried to find shelter under the tents that were up. And then I went home to continue to eat dinner, and I ended up eating FUFU! Which I have to admit, I ate like a pro this time, and fell asleep to only wake up to attend yet another wedding.

Wedding number 2 consisted of a Ceremony in a church and a Reception in a Hall. I got a shout-out by the preacher during the ceremony and just awkwardly waved to the bride and groom who I hadn’t actually met yet and said “Medasse” (thank you in Twi) in a microphone to get the entire audience to cheer for me… it was interesting. And overall the wedding was extremely long…because right after the ceremony we went straight to the reception, and while this wedding was more of a “typical”/”standard” “American wedding” it would have still been seen as a chaotic mess. But as always the couple was having a blast, ignoring all of the mishaps and just danced away any trouble because, they were in love and now married, so why worry about anyone/thing else?

And when I got home, I ate once again, and went straight to sleep at 6pm…not waking up until the next day… Celebrating others’ celebrations, in marriage and independence and finding time to rest, to slow all of the excitement down, ended up worthwhile week.


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