Some Days…..Time is Time

I have probably decided in my mind a half a dozen times that I have experienced quite enough of Ghana, thank you very much, and have been ready to pack my bags and come home.  Today is kind of one of those days.  I came back to the University from Cape Coast where aside from the sacrificing of the bull part of the festivities ( a quite gruesome affair I assure you) I had a nice time. 

–A side note here I was just emailing my lovely hubby the other day about hearing a goat bleating from the kitchen downstairs and that I was not sure how I felt about that, only to have a local tell me that the goat was most likely sacrificed this weekend also in gratitude to the old gods for life’s blessings.—I eat meat and realize that in order for that to happen that animals die so it is just a cultural thing here. And they do eat the meat of the animals that are part of this tradition and the animals are treated probably much better than in western meat packing plants.

Anywho I came home only to discover that the same power surge that had melted the plug of my electric tea pot to my outlet last week probably destroyed all the RAM on my laptop this second week of the school semester. And because this is Ghana and they live by the credo “Time is time” (meaning there is always more time so no hurry), I seriously doubt I will get my computer back in the next three weeks.  So I am currently waiting for my prescription glasses to be fixed (they broke the second week here and should be ready any day now). I am also waiting for the electrician to come fix my melted outlet, but the porter at the hostel tells me the electrician is having ‘many troubles’ (not sure what that means).  And now am waiting to hear how bad the damage is to my laptop.  I think the great life force has a lesson for me here about time and patience.  So I smile and kindly, say no worries and remind myself to check my privilege and count my blessings even though inside I kind of want to have a hissy fit just to get it out of my system.  So now I head off to the showers (providing the man I keep seeing go into the women’s washroom to pee is not there) for my very quick and very cold shower.  No hot water is a great way to cut down on long showers by the students 😉 As Scarlett O’Hara said, “After all, tomorrow is another day”.

Peace to you my friends,

T

P.S. this is the lovely bull moments before he was taken to the shrine.  I have no photos to commemorate the goat.

Pringles in Ghana!

Why yes I did pay 30 cedi for a can of Salt and Vinegar Pringles and it was worth every pesewa. In US terms that is nearly $7 but man do they taste good. After two and a half weeks of eating food cooked in red palm oil the taste of those Pringles, which I would normally never eat back home, is bliss. To be honest I was so shocked to see them and they reminded me of home so much I would have paid more. I did finally get a small fridge for my room (also worth every cedi and pesewa) and the fresh mango, papaya, pineapple and other produce is plentiful and delicious and gives me a great deal more control over my culinary experience. Things I am already missing while here….

My family

Soft toilet paper

Beef jerky (I have no idea why I am craving this)

Ranch dressing (Again I do not know why but I would kill for some Hidden Valley Ranch)

Trail mix with M & M’s

Salami (I actually dreamed about salami the other night)

Cheese

Salt and Pepper being readily available

Mustard

The program directors are taking us on a city tour tomorrow where we will be shown places to shop at a grocery store versus the Night Market right near campus, so hopefully I can find some good ingredients to keep myself fed with salads and what not from the local produce. We will also be seeing the DuBois Center (W.E B. DuBois lived here in Ghana for sometime), the Artist Alliance, Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum (He was the man who led Ghana to be the first African country to declare independence from colonial rule), and Art Center/Circle where I hope to find some items to take away the ‘couture de prison’ feel of my white walled dorm room.

Things I love about Ghana so far…

The pineapple is to die for, so are the mangos

The cleaning girl at the dorm sings while she cleans, it is lovely

Awakening to the chatter of Twi (the local dialect) and laughter from the Night Market right outside my dorm room each morning

The splashes of bright colors everywhere

I have access to fresh produce just yards from my door

Origin beer (a cross between a hard cider and beer, kind of fruity but not too sweet)

The Coke here all has real sugar, not HFCS (I have only had one but it was pretty good)

Classes begin in earnest next week, and I look forward to seeing how the college experience will be here. I am most excited about taking a textile class where I will be learning about dying fabric, making batik designs, motif prints and silkscreen fabric. I have also spoken with a teacher here and am arranging to be taught weaving from a local artist in my own time. How cool is that!

That is it for now my friends, until next time..

Peace to you,

T

 

The Ghana Vortex

I did actually make it to Ghana 🙂 I started my day leaving the house at 10am (CA time) on the 8th and did not get to the dorms at the University of Ghana until 11:30pm (Ghana time) of the ninth.  With the exception of today the program directors have had us running 15 hour days since we landed.  I would not recommend the pace but would definitely recommend the destination.  Some of my highlights have been a trip to Cape Coast to visit Elmina Castle (built in 1482) which was a major center of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  I have walked on a very shaky and tenuous feeling, 350 meter foot bridge, 40 meters above the rain forest floor (wayyy up in the tippy tops of the trees) in the Kakum Rain Forest. I have taken an African dance and drumming class that nearly killed me. I have visited a village where they weave Kente cloth.  Our class was greeted by a school of children with a drum and dance performance.  We also briefly attended a memorial/funeral preparation/celebration of life for a very important family leader in a village not far from the weaving (Imagine a lot of black and red clothing, a huge crowd of people, music, and a speaker the size you would see at a Gun’s and Roses concert announcing the arrivals to the festivities). I have visited two different local hospitals.  I also went to Kumasi which is about a five hour bus ride from Accra (that is if you hurdle down the highway at breakneck speeds and are not afraid of veering into the oncoming traffic lane at regular intervals).  Keep in mind folks, I have only been here 11 days.  I have also attended hours and hours of lectures as this first month here is an intensive 3 unit, upper division class.  There have been other things here and there.  Lots of dinner/lunches out trying different foods, museums, night life, market shopping, etc.   I would love to share some pictures with you but as I am technically challenged, and the tech here is not quite what I am used to, it is a miracle that I have managed to post this.  I have a classmate who is a whiz at this and he said he would help me out so hopefully soon.  I have managed to post on Facebook and Instagram if you would like to see a few photos.  I begin my regular classes this week so things will slow down significantly for me and I will update as I can.  Until then, peace to you 🙂 ——T

The Journey Begins

While I have been working on this trip for over a year, I am now two weeks from departure to the University of Ghana.  I will be there for 10 months, living on campus in the International Student Hostel with fellow students from all over the world (most of whom will be my children’s age). I began my anti-malaria meds today and suddenly this feels all too real.  The application process, the essays I wrote, the interviews I went through and the endless hoops and hurdles over the last year are finally coming to fruition.  I am excited and terrified all at the same time.  While at times I wonder if I have lost my mind most of the time the mix of terror and anticipation is a pretty good place to be.  So I hope to use this space as a chronicle of my journey and as a space to process an experience that I can hardly fathom.  I sure hope I am up to the challenge.