Sunday, July 13, 2014

Beans, Poptarts and Ice Cream

That is what I have eaten today in an attempt to find food somewhat familiar to my body.

Today is Sunday, so the canteen on the bottom floor of our hostel is closed while the street market only opened up after lunch-time. I was 'home' sick with some variant of food-poisoning this past Wednesday to Friday and have been trying to get back into eating Ghanaian food. It's hard when the only place nearby to get food on a Sunday is the market - which is the very place whose food I became sick from. At this point I will only touch the egg sandwiches (which are quite delicious).
Our hostel

Nkrumah statue head

the university

However, a  much needed trip to the mall yesterday resulted in a great find - frozen vegetables! We had been severely missing vegetables here as the local ones, for whatever reason, don't mix well with our immune systems. Sarah and I bought a bunch of frozen vegetables so today I feasted on cut green beans boiled in a pot on a rusted, old hot-plate. I am really looking forward to having an egg sandwich for dinner though.  I have been eating a looot of rice, which is a staple food here.  Jollof rice is delicious - spicy, but delicious. However, after a while it's nice to have something different.

This morning I had my first experience at a church service here - the church on campus called Legon Interdenominational Church (LIC). It felt so good to be at church and worshipping Jesus within the Ghanaian context. The service was pretty similar to services I've experienced in Canada - but with more dancing and hymns and warmth! I particularly love all the church clothing - bold and beautiful patterns that I can't wait to wear myself. I can't wait to visit some other churches and hopefully find one that I can call home while I am here.

This weekend has been particularly chill because a lot of us have been feeling a bit under the weather - although one in our group has had a more prolonged health complication. She is getting medical attention though so hopefully she will be better soon. Some of us did go to a jazz bar on Friday called +233 - and that was a really great experience! It was a more expensive place - with a 20 cedis cover charge, a patio lit by torches and pretty expensive fare, but the music definitely made it worth it. The live jazz band was amaaazing. I will try and upload a video of some of it on Facebook depending on the internet connection. I have a feeling we will be going there again.

I am sad that I have missed three days of work this week. Working at the Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) is really good - the staff and other interns are friendly and like to have a good time, but are also clearly dedicated to the human rights work that they do for their country. I am currently working on a report  in collaboration with another intern about remand prisoners - prisoners who have been languishing in prisons for extremely long periods of time (some up to 16 years) without even having a trial to determine their conviction. It's been really interesting learning about Ghanaian laws and trying to put together a list of recommendations on what next steps should be taken to protect remand prisoners and their rights. I am looking forward to getting back into it on Monday!

All in all, despite being sick and what I suspect is a bit of culture shock, I have been enjoying my time here. It's an adventure every day, and the people are generally really warm and friendly. I am learning about Ghana, about cross-cultural living, and about myself as I navigate my days here, and that is truly a priceless experience.

Much love from Ghana,

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