As I sit down to write this, I genuinely can’t believe that another week has passed. One would normally associate speedy days with busyness, but I can’t really use that as an excuse here. Maybe I can a little, but still. It’s been 11 weeks already. That’s just ridiculous.
Here are Bossman’s “Gems of the Week”in Sucks That Y’all Were Born in Ghana:
- “Teachers aren’t professionals.” Uhh…then what are they?
- “Can the Japanese guarantee that there will be no stones in their rice? Can we (Ghana) guarantee that?”
- “Do you think Africanization would be better than Westernization? You like the witch camps? Let’s be frank.
On the bright side, he finally decided to discuss some negative aspects of globalization.
Later that Monday night, as I was enjoying my $0.30 dinner of groundnut soup with rice balls at the Night Market, I was joined by Kwame, this seemingly-pleasant Ghanaian man. Obviously I would have preferred to have been left alone (we know how I feel about most human interaction), but he wasn’t being too bothersome. He asked me how I was liking Ghana, how I feel about Obama/Romney, what my favorite Ghanaian food is, etc. Nothing too out of the ordinary, right? But since this is me, I can’t have normal interactions with
anybody strangers. I should have known things were going south when he started talking about how crappy Ghanaian clothes are, and when he asked me what the cost is for a good pair of pants in the US. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but here’s the gist of it: “I really need an overseas contact. You’re not going home for a few months, which is plenty of time for me to start to trust you. I hope we can become friends and you’ll buy me pants when you’re back home. What’s your room number?” I don’t know why I was surprised by how quickly our conversation devolved; I mean, I’m the person whose earphones were nibbled on by a homeless man who didn’t know he was supposed to put them in his ear, and who had newspapers thrown at him by a different homeless man (DC really needs to do something about its homelessness situation). I don’t know. There’s just something about me that attracts these kinds of exchanges.
I think I need to start wearing one of these pins.
Not much happened on Tuesday besides a Twi test, which I think went well. I also created a potential schedule for next semester (International Economics, French, Psychological Anthropology taught by this beautiful silver fox, French, Cultures of Latin America, and Global Health and Development). What I really want to discuss is Wednesday, the day we got our exam grades back in Colonial Rule/African Response. Here’s an excerpt from my journal entry that night, when my feelings were still raw (Note the difference in quality of writing. I try to keep things classy on the blog, but my journal lacks these constraints): “FUCK. What the actual fuck? I want to punch whoever graded these, probably my dumbass TA, in the esophagus.” Sure, I got a 15.5/20, which I suppose isn’t so bad, but there are some really intelligent people who got a 10 or 11/20 and that’s just not acceptable. No explanations were given for why an answer was wrong, and if you didn’t write exactly what the professor wanted, you were screwed. If that’s what you wanted, then you should have made it a multiple choice exam, buddy. For example, one question asked to explain the legacy of colonization’s social impact. I wrote about how the re-drawing of boundaries/splitting up tribes/ethnic groups has led to ongoing ethnic conflict. That was apparently wrong. Here’s another journal excerpt: “WHAT?! Are you fucking retarded?!” That must be it because the professor also said that slavery has no relevance to the course…entitled Colonial Rule and African Response. Good grief, man. Good freakin grief.
The University of Ghana really needs to get its shit together.
I started the day at Beacon House Thursday morning by reading a story to the kids about mermaids and evil sharks. I don’t really remember the details, probably due to a combination of a lame plot and tiredness. Next they practiced adding numbers only by 2 to help them memorize answers. Timing them in solving 100 problems seemed to be a really effective method. I don’t remember how I was taught basic adding/subtraction, but since I eviscerated my classmates in timed math drills back in the day, I’m sure similar methods were applied. Later that morning Zilda “taught” some more French and had the kids draw themselves. Daniel A. decided to draw me instead:
In the afternoon, I “helped” blow up some balloons to make into hats for the children. This is not an easy task for me, as evidenced by this picture from Summer 2011:
Thankfully, the kids were really understanding and patient as I pathetically struggled. Wait. No. They were the worst. They all crowded around me shoving balloons in my face that they wanted me to blow up for them. “I want one as my own!!” they repeatedly whined at me. More reasons for why I shouldn’t become a teacher became clear when all I could think about was saying back to them, “Yeah? Well I want you to shut the fuck up!” (Teachers: Do you have these thoughts/do you hate yourself for having them?). It’s probably a good thing that I had to leave by 5:30 that day.
Thursday was a friend’s 21st birthday, and I decided to act like a normal 20 year old and go out and celebrate with her and some other friends. It was also my half-birthday, and since I’m sure my actual birthday won’t be worth talking about, at least I’ll have October 18th to look back on! Our first stop was this Irish pub/restaurant in Osu, the place where all the nice restaurants and clubs are located and therefore a place I never go to. Everything on the menu was horrifyingly expensive by Ghanaian standards, so I settled on a $7.50 burger and basically cried over some beautiful garlic bread. I felt like I was experiencing one of Survivor’s ridiculous food auctions. The menu had 2 pages of food and about 6 pages of alcohol to choose from. (MOM: I recommend skipping a couple paragraphs lest your image of me/my “purity” be tainted by some alcoholic escapades)
The good thing about being alcohol-illiterate is that I have no aversion
yet to any type of booze, so everything looked equally unappealing. I settled on a Wicky Wacky Woo, partly because of the name, and partly because it contained a mixture of a lot of crap (vodka, gin, rum tequila, some juices). It tasted as good as I expected it to, (meaning it wasn’t really good), but there’s more drinking to discuss! I had a shot of B52 (Baileys is involved, whatever that is) before leaving the restaurant, and we were off to the next bar!
Along the way I’m pretty sure some man commented on my “fat ass”, to which I say, Thanks for noticing!! We arrived at the bar and I had a double shot of some poison gin (will always call gin poison). Around this time we were joined by a local man known by people in the group as “Sexy Monkey.” He has a crazy potty mouth, but he is also responsible for providing the group with this giant graduated cylinder-type tube of beer:
I’m not sure if I was drunk by the end of the night or I was just tired, but by 1:00 AM I was pretty much donzo. Beer is nasty. I’m just happy that I didn’t have the same reaction as Buffy did after consuming a substantial amount of it:
I don’t think I’ve ever been sadder than I was when I woke up at 7:30 that morning. I dragged myself to Beacon House and silently praised God when I saw that there wasn’t any class that day. I spent a lot of that morning laying on the couch trying to not fall asleep. I’m glad I didn’t because otherwise I might have missed this question from Ben: “Are there black people at your school?” Do all kids ask questions like this? So ridiculous. Of course my CIEE supervisors pick the day that I did the least amount of work to come check in on me. I was literally sitting on the couch reading while the kids were outside washing their clothes when they arrived. Now they probably think that’s all I do there. Perfect.
That afternoon the rain came and it was probably the most torrential storm I’ve ever witnessed. To put it into perspective, the rain was heavy enough for the kids to bath outside in it. Unfortunately for me, persistent heavy rainfall meant that all the kids were forced to remain indoors. And scream and jump all over me. Needless to say, I didn’t stay for dinner that night.
Saturday marked the first of probably many Solo Ghanaian Adventures to Bojo Beach, supposedly Ghana’s most beautiful beach. I debated for a while about whether I should do this by myself, but then I realized that my alternative Saturday activities would have probably consisted of reading for class. So many times in my life I’ve used school/work as my scapegoat out of doing something spontaneous and * gasp * fun. Also, the thought of travelling alone appealed for reasons I’m sure I don’t have explain at this point. Honestly, I do love adventure, probably more than most things. I just need to learn how to carve out some time for it during non-summer months.
I left at about 8:00, and it took 2 tro-tros and a taxi, finally arriving at around 10:15 (travel time skewed due to helpless wandering while looking for the right tro-tro to take). As soon as I stepped out of the taxi, one of my sandals fell apart. This wasn’t too upsetting; that sandal had been on life support for weeks, and it served me well for 80 days here.
Bojo Beach is pretty much a sandbar on the outskirts of Accra. On one side there’s a river, which you have to cross by boat to reach the sandbar/ocean. When my feet touched the sand at about 10:30, I was instantly stunned, first when I saw that there was nobody else around, and then by how unbelievably, breathtakingly beautiful the beach was. For starters, it was clean! Granted, my only prior Ghanaian beach experience involved trash everywhere and a man trying to get me to put a snake around my neck, so to see the sand and water refuse-free was wonderful. I left by 2:30, mostly because I didn’t feel like dealing with getting back to campus in the dark with one usable shoe.
As I hobbled around Accra’s Keneshie station, a man saw that I was struggling and led me to a shoe repairman! For $0.25, he fixed my sandal in 2 minutes with some crazy glue and thread.
I really love Ghana sometimes.
My feet and nose may be sunburned now, but I’d say my first solo outing was really successful. I only have 60 more days here, and there’s so much of Ghana that needs some exploring. When classes end the first week of November, there will be plenty of time for that, hopefully. I just need to see some elephants again.
I’m fairly certain that President Obama is more beloved in Ghana than in the United States, evidenced by this NSFW song/video tribute. WARNING: Strong Sexual Content and possible references to Bestiality are contained in the lyrics: