Week Two of my Ghanaian escapades commenced on Friday August 10th with a workshop that I knew would be traumatic, yet proceeded to attend anyway: African Dance. Look. I have a lot of traits working against me that hinder my ability to dance properly, including but not limited to: self-consciousness, awkwardness, low confidence, and being a white boy. All of that combined resulted in so much limb flailing, stepping on people’s feet, and a general transformation into an impossibly gross-looking boy. But I guess everybody came out of it looking like we just attended a Hot Yoga session. I mean, at least I can say that I did it, that I didn’t hide/run away like I normally do when faced with an uncomfortable situation. Progress!
Also, Ghana has a really sick and twisted version of the “Trust Fall” that is beyond dangerous. Just don’t do it.
We were taken on a “tour” of Accra the next day. I put tour in quotes because we didn’t actually see much of the city other than Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park where we were led by a highly passive-aggressive lady through Ghana’s first post-independence leader’s final resting place. Seriously. The dude’s had like 3 burial sites. That’s about 2 too many.
After being swiftly led through the museum we boarded the bus to the W.E.B Du Bois Center where we saw…nothing. We got off the bus and back onto it within 5 minutes. Not really sure what the deal was with that. Along the way we were taken to Osu for lunch. I and a few other people ended up eating at a Thai restaurant where we met this wonderful man, Daniel, who’s from the U.S. but moved to Ghana so he could retire earlier. He believes in “following the wind.” I really like that. He also drove us back to the bus! I’m not used to randomly coming across great people, so that lunch was really refreshing.
That night was our official “Welcome Dinner” at Chez Afrique, a really fancy restaurant that serves chicken gizzard on a skewer. Yeah. I ate that. Cause I’m so adventurous and all. But if you’re wondering, it’s kind of nasty. I was also coerced into dancing again. This is probably the first and last time I will dance two days in a row. Nobody should be subjected to that.
My lazy Sunday started with me attempting to do laundry. Having never hand-washed clothes before, naturally I Googled “How To Hand Wash Clothing” and just followed the directions provided by WikiHow. Probably not the wisest method for acquiring instructions, but after 2.5 hours I’m just happy my clothes came out of it relatively unscathed.
Afterwards a few of us boarded a Tro-Tro to a market where we thought we could bargain for some fruits/vegetables. To our horror we were forced to spend the abominable price of
about $1.50 for a few items (mango and apple for me). We were so pissed, thinking those evil ladies overcharged us. We later found out that we were charged a reasonable price. Oops. Sorry ladies!
Monday was the Big Day! Classes were finally beginning, and I was really excited that morning ahead of my first class, Politics of International Economic Relations. I was even alright with the professor showing up 20 minutes late. After we all introduced ourselves the professor ended up just reading the course description and syllabus, and…that was it. Except for the fun moment when the professor called on me to answer a question, a really easy question that I would have been able to answer if I had any communication skills. Here’s how it went down:
Professor: “Matthew, what is a multinational corporation and can you give me an example?” Matthew (in thought): What? He already has my name memorized? That’s crazy! Why is he calling on me out of everybody here?? Wait, what did he ask? Oh God. Help. Why can’t I open my mouth? Professor: “Matthew? Can you just give an example?” Matthew: “…………..Nike.”
So yeah. Not my finest moment, and probably not the most ideal first impression. Oh well.
We didn’t really do much in my other classes either, so I guess next week is the real first week of class. Also, Twi is going to be an issue. Why must there be 7 vowels? 5 is more than enough for any language.
I was in (extremely) rare form Wednesday night during the celebration of a friend’s 20th birthday. But hey, I have no classes on Thursdays and Fridays so I lacked any real excuse to not participate in festivities. I proved that I can be social and do normal young people stuff when I actually feel like it, which is basically never about 90% of the time. But I drank wine out of a random person’s bottle, took a shot of some poison vodka (Russian Bear? Seems like an odd beverage name), and had a beer at the beach while waiting for reggae to be played (never happened).
The beach was really beautiful (and freezing). Being in the Atlantic Ocean from the opposite end was strange but I liked the familiarity of it. Also, I was offered some pot from a strange Ghanaian man. I only hesitated for about a second before turning him down. I’m not completely insane (yet).
All in all, this has been a great week. I’m looking forward to things picking up next week and hopefully starting my internship at the orphanage! Here are a few final thoughts:
- Being perpetually dirty is something that I’ve had to quickly get used to. It’s just unavoidable. Especially my feet. It also doesn’t help when the water isn’t working for an entire night. Thanks, Africa.
- Speaking of feet, the inhumane amount of walking required to get to class at this massive school has left me with many blisters. I know you all wanna know that.
- These water sachets are a life saver. And extremely cheap. 30 bags of these cost about the equivalent of $0.75. Mind-boggling.
- I really need to work on eating healthier. I’ll probably continue getting pizza every Tuesday, but maybe I’ll cut back on the amount I shove down my throat at one time. And I’ll have to live without the chocolate crepes from CoffeeCue or banana chocolate chip muffins from the
crazypossibly unstable muffin lady who more or less lives outside the dorm.
- It’s probably an issue that I haven’t officially registered for classes yet. I’ll get to it.
I really cannot stop listening to this song. Why is Beyonce so perfect?