Ghana Blog: The First 24 Hours

June 19th, 2016

Our first full day in Ghana: Mrs. Margaret, who we are staying with, told us just to wake up whenever and from that moment on I loved her. Well I take that back, after our first dinner the night before, I decided that she is truly an angel sent from above. Ellen woke up Jordan, Aniya, and Jessica up this morning around 9. Jordan and I are sharing a bed, but I truly don’t mind it because the room the four of us are staying in is so much nicer than I anticipated. After breakfast, George—one of the workers of Mrs. Margaret who is our age, took us on a walk around the town and to Dr. Anderson’s other home where the other 4 out of the 12 of us girls are staying. It was so gorgeous. Having just us 12 girls is so great. No makeup and not a care in the world about appearance. I walked by the mirror today and was frightened by my reflection, but hey, ignorance is bliss, so I'm going to avoid mirrors the rest of the trip. 

            Walking through the town is so entertaining because everyone is out and about and they will yell ‘Obroni” at us, which means white person, but it doesn’t have a negative connotation, it is more of a hello. Some of the kids especially have never seen a white person in their lives so they are just entertained by us and “our scary blue eyes.” Though the national language of Ghana is English, the majority of the people speak Twi (pronounced ch-wee). Despite the language barrier, I have not felt unwelcomed or in danger at one point of the trip.

            When we came back, Jordan and I took a long nap while the rest of the group went for another walk. My white skin is struggling so close to the equator and all of us have been dripping sweat even walking around the town at 8 am. When Jordan and I awoke, a huge party was going on in the patio of our house. Dr. Anderson’s friends from high school were having a get together that they do at least once a month. Mind you, these people are in their mid-40’s and continue to meet up with each other once a month. That super impressed me, but also, at how hilarious they were.

            A woman told us how to eat fufu—which is the most traditional Ghanaian meal. It is a pounded plantain cake served in a sauce with meat. We ate it the way that Ghanaians eat all their food, with your right hand only. You use your index and middle finger to separate the a small piece of fufu, then your thumb to grab it and dip it in the sauce, and then to eat it, you swallow it whole. DON'T EVER EAT WITH YOUR LEFT HAND. It's a social no-no. The woman teaching us to eat was super entertained at our attemps to be Ghanaian. It was definitely an experience. I love eating adventurous food though, so I also ate all the rest of the food there, including an entire fish, the eye included.

            The dancing was probably the most entertaining part. The common dance that everyone does is essentially grinding, but it doesn’t have a sexual stigma like in America. It was really fun dancing in groups with the girls too and after hours of dancing, they moved the party to another location where it continued for hours. A man actually asked me if I had a Spanish background, to which I replied 'have you seen how white I am.' But he said it was because I was such a good dancer. Let me tell you people, that was the pinnacle of my life. Never did a compliment from anyone mean so much to me. I felt like I made it in the world. 

            I didn’t have a lot of expectations going into Ghana, but it is so amazing so far. The dirt roads are coupled with some of the greenest foliage I have ever seen. The people here are SO welcoming; they just give you their babies to welcome you. That is my kind of place.  The bucket showers are taking some getting used to, not because of the bucket part, but just cold showers in general are tough. I love it here though and I’m amazed at how quickly the girls have bonded. We are still waiting for Madison and Kendall to arrive because their plane got struck by lightning before they boarded (casual, right?), but the other girls have quickly become close friends and I can’t wait to see the shenanigans we get into in Africa over the next month. Stay tuned, folks.

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