Monday, 21 July 2014

Puppies, bread making, gaining street-cred in Accra, and getting’ hitched!

Well, it’s been an interesting week, filled with many things that will make my overall Ghana experience pretty colourful. To make this update a little more exciting, I’m going to deliver it in a Stewie Griffin-style ‘Compliment Sandwich,’ where I tell you some happy things, throw in a subtle not so fun thing, and then end on a high note! This is far different from my usual way of spilling the beans on something less than ideal, which usually consists of me telling some obnoxious fact about myself that is untrue, and then following it up with the real bad news! So, let’s see how it goes…

Puppies! Who doesn’t love puppies?! I certainly do. And we have been fortunate enough to have two litters close by. The living arrangement for the five of us is done so that we are divided into two different houses. Three of us live in the main homestay, while the remaining two live a house down from us. It is at the other house that these puppies are living. The first litter consisted of seven puppies, while the second one had five. They are all pretty freakin’ adorable, as I’m sure you can imagine! A few of them look like German Shepherds and I’ve taken to one in particular (he’s super rambunctious, but also the most precious little creature ever!). I was informed that to purchase one would cost me approximately 20 cedis, which is the equivalent of about $7 or 8 Canadian. So, Scott, you may have a four legged friend heading your way…

Now, at this same house, the Mama of the house makes and sells bread – and it’s quite the production. I, being my mother’s daughter, therefore making me a bread maker, decided I’d like to give it a try sometime. I was really excited and felt fairly confident going in, but that quickly disappeared as how I make bread and how they do are quite different. Despite this, we had many good laughs, and I’m certain they were thankful when I was called for supper. Each time they make bread approximately 200 loaves are baked, and their production level was surely slowed with me on the assembly-line! Mom would have been thrilled to witness this!

Warning: the following tale is a tad frightening, but being as I am writing this, I am more than okay. As the title of this post suggests, I’m going to tell you shortly about getting married (and no, this is the “tad-frightening” part I was warning you about!). To get to the wedding, we had to switch trotros in Accra…at night. The driver was kind enough to offer to escort us to the trotro we needed to be on, but warned us to keep close. We had also received an email from DFATD (Department of Foreign Affairs) warning anyone in the Accra region that there has been a rise in theft, particularly at night. So, with this in mind, away we went. But, it didn’t take long before a young man was telling me he wanted to come back to wherever I was from with me. And from there, he put his arm around me, basically preventing me from moving forward, while 2 guys searched my pockets and another grabbed me by the hair (upon reflection later on, I’ve come to realize that they made it further than most of my past boyfriends, so there’s that! Also, sorry Mike, Scott, Grammy and any others who probably didn’t want to know that fun fact about me!). Luckily, all I had in my pockets was a cedi (30ish cents Canadian) and my cell phone. The whole think lasted maybe 2 or 3 minutes, and as you can imagine left me pretty shaken up. The unfortunate part of this was that that phone had pictures I hadn’t been able to transfer from my final weekend with Mom, and of childhood memories we decided not to hang on to from when we were selling the house. But, they are in my mind. And the cell phone is just a cell phone. I, on the other hand was not harmed in any way (which could easily have not been the case being as I had my pocket knife in my backpack!). This, I think, earned me some street-cred.

And now for the leaving on a happy note!

With three weekends remaining in Ghana (yeah…you read that correctly…THREE weekends, which have now turned into TWO!), we arrived in Winneba to attend our friend Fred’s wedding. Fred was the first Ghanaian I met upon my arrival, and I felt delighted to not only have been invited to his wedding, but to be in attendance. Okay, so maybe not so delighted after hour two, verging on three of the ceremony, but it was still quite the experience, and despite the length, I was pretty excited to be there!

The ceremony was scheduled to begin at 10 am, which means it actually began closer to 11 am, and included a lot of dancing, singing, and even an offering (which made me feel uncomfortable, as to me, it seemed really inappropriate). Aside from that, I felt the process was pretty much the same as what we’d see back home, except for the fact that he invited about 300 people, but about 800 showed up! There were so many people in attendance that there weren’t enough seats at the reception. But, lucky for us obrunis, we were provided with VIP indoor seating and a “fast track” to the buffet line! Thanks, Naana (I know you read these!)! My freshly made dress fit, the food was good, the weather perfect, and the BP oil logo even made an appearance in the program, making it an all-around good day!

The remainder of our time in Winneba included a lovely chat over tea for about five or six hours with our group and some other volunteers working in different parts of the country, but from the same organization. In the morning I went for a walk to the nearby beach and took in the sights. Like my first experience in Cape Coast, there was lots of garbage in the water and intertwined amongst the sand, but the smell and sound of the ocean was not unlike what I’d get back home. This made me fill with an awkward mixture of pure joy at the thought of home and seeing so many of you lovely people that I miss so much, and utterly sad at the thought of leaving this beautiful, garbage-strewn country.

There is still one big adventure left before I depart for Canada. I am hopeful that this will make my experience here go out with a bang! But, as I reflect on the past two and a half months, I am amazed by what I have learned, the mistakes I have made, and the amount that I have grown. If only I were able to tell you every detail and have you all truly grasp what life has been like for me while in Koforidua! And, as things begin to wrap up, I am most certain my opportunity to ponder and process all that I have been exposed to will only add to the tales I will tell you once I return home.

-the Orange Canadian

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