Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Palm Trees and Hip Hop

Finally, after a few rocky weeks of being sick off and on, being overtired, and secretly and sometimes not-so-secretly wishing to go home, I believe I have finally adjusted to life in Ghana. I don't know the exact time or reason why the transition happened - but I'm glad it has. I am really loving it here now.

The people around me have been really friendly and fun, work has been both fun and educational, and I'm getting used to all the sights, smells, and daily experiences that previously made me uncomfortable. Like crossing extremely busy roads at random without pedestrians having the right of way - that really freaked me out when I first came here. Now, not so much! It's just the way things are here.

I've done a few fun things since I last posted here. Last Friday my organization took all of us on a retreat to Tills Beach Resort for the day in order to bond, have fun, and brainstorm together. The drive up was really nice because it was my first time getting out of the city and seeing the lush greenery that makes up so much of Ghana. It really is quite beautiful, but sometimes the city can be overwhelming and feel inescapable.

The retreat was soo much fun! The beach was beautiful - lined with palm trees, fresh coconuts and completely empty except for us so it was like we had our own private beach. The waves were very big so we couldn't "swim" but we went in and steeled ourselves against the waves and tried not to topple over which is tons of fun. We sunbathed and ate a delicious lunch of Ghanaian staples - tilapia, jollof rice,  banku (though I'm not a fan of this - it's basically like mushy potato that you don't chew - you just swallow it :/), salad, pasta, jerk chicken, and beans. The tilapia was soooo good.  I am also proud to report that I am significantly darker skinned than when I first arrived - success!

On Saturday some of us interns went to Labadie Beach which is a lot closer to us than Tills Beach, but not as nice. I mean, the ocean is nice but the beach is busy with fishermen as they try and pull in  long nets via ropes, small, long boats and people selling all sorts of tourist-y items like masks, paintings and statues. As obrunis (white people) we stand out and are constantly bombarded by people trying to sell us things - it got a bit frustrating but it's improving my ability to say no and be firm, so that's good! We were so tired from being in the sun all day that when we got back to our hostel around 3PM we all took naps. I'm finding I am a lot more capable of taking naps here than I am when I'm in Canada. After our naps, we took a taxi (cramming all 5 of us into 1 as has become the norm) to Mamma Mia's - an Italian restaurant in Osu. We ordered the Seafood Platter and I was basically in heaven - grilled lobster, grilled prawns, calamari, fish, and fries! I lovee seafood so this made me prettty happy.

After Mamma Mia's we had planned to check out another jazz bar but we decided to be adventurous and check out The Alliance Francaise instead as they were having a special event that night. The Alliance Francaise was overflowing with people when we got there. It is an open venue with a stage and stadium-like seating but much smaller. The event was a hiphop/rap concert with a bunch of Ghanaian artists - but we were so surprised to find out that Sarkodie would also be performing! Sarkodie is a reallly famous Ghanian hiphip/rap artist and super talented! If you youtube him you can hear some of his crazy beats, though you probably won't understand what he is saying as most of his stuff is in Twi (the more dominant local language). The energy in the place was crazy and it was such a good experence! When Sarkodie came out people went crazy and despite how fast he raps almost everyone knew alll the words to his songs. I really recommend looking him up on youtube so you can hear a bit of what I was experiencing! :)

Yesterday was Monday,  meaning a return to my 5AM wake-up call, which is always difficult. However, work was really fun as we took a longer than normal lunch break and ended up making some great memories together as we laughed, talked and bonded. I love the people at my work and getting to know them and spending time with them is a huge highlight of my time here. I was told by one of my co-workers that I have an open and welcoming aura that makes people feel like I want to be their friend and that they will be safe with me - how sweet is that? It made my day.  :)

Now it is Tuesday and it's time to get into the swing of work again. I hope everyone back in Canada is doing well and I miss and love you all. Keep me in your prayers!

Also, for the record, my Ghanaian name is Akosua because I was born on a Sunday. It's pronounced "Akoseeya" though.

Much love from Ghana,

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