Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Celine Dion, Jesus and a host of other topics

So, for all of you who thought that coming to Africa I would lose a lot of weight...If I do anything it will be gain. All i eat is carbs carbs carbs and that's three times a day. I feel the pudge coming on. So no worries, I won't return skin and bones, i will probably come back 10 pounds heavier haha. It actually rained today, which was exciting. The weather has been warm, not hot, and a little overcast. Two people in our crew have come down with Malaria..no good.
So enough about me, lets talk about Ghanaians.

First, Music preferences. Delilah (you know the soft rock queen) would be quite content with the amount of listeners she would draw here in Ghana. In bars, restaurants, the political science department, tro-tros and taxis, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Shania Twain, Tim McGraw, Lionel Richie and a host of 80s/90s soft rock and R&B blare. Celine Dion seems to be a favorite and it is totally appropriate to sing along, especially the men. Beyonce, Jay-Z, Sean Paul, Tupac, and Neyo are also played frequently.

Second, Jesus. Ghana is like 90 percent Christian, and they are quite proud of this. On tro-tros, you can read scriptures, taxis have names such as Lord our Savior, Have you prayed today?, and He died for you. Shops incorporate their christian identities in their titles: Blood of Jesus hair salon and Lord the Almighty car parts. Its kinda intense actually. But quite interesting...

Third, transportation. Ghanaians don't like to walk. Hence the extensive tro-tro and metro bus service. I dont mind walking, but there is a tro-tro that runs from near the ISH to the main gate for 1000 cedis (10 cents). Its only like a ten-fifteen minute walk, but you hardly run into a Ghanaian, especially a female, walking the path. I think this could be due in part to the fact that they wear heels to class. Today a woman got on a tro tro with a chicken and a goat. They put the goat in the back and she held the chicken in her lap. That was interesting. But tro-tros are actually a great idea. They go everywhere, and they come every few minutes. Sure, I have gotten on the wrong tro-tro before and ended up somewhere I didn't have intentions of being, but that's how you learn the system, right?

Fourth, I would like to offer you a view into things I have noticed that are acceptable here but would probably be taboo in the states.
Men holding hands.
Someone harassing you on the street to buy toilet paper.
Going to the bathroom with the door open.
Drinking beer at breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. (but public drunkeness is only accepted at funerals and weddings, i think.)
Singing along with Celine in public places, especially if you are a guy.
Walking in the street (but running over pedestrians doesn't seem to be taboo, so its best to be careful)
Cutting in line.
Hissing, snapping, and making kissing sounds at females.
Cell phones in class.
Fifth, Classes. I have had three so far. The first, international conflicts and resolution, was a class of 100+ and was addressed by the TA. Everyone was talking while he was trying to explain. Then everyone was shouting. Then everyone was raising their hands and then they were talking. I was very confused, because A) I couldn't hear the professor and B) I couldn't understand him. My second class had 150+ and went something like this. I got there fifteen minutes early but still had to sit in the back. Then the people who got there on time had to squeeze into the desks that were already occupied. SO it was hot, sticky, no power (it was out all day yesterday), and squeezed in a one person desk with two people. not to mention, everyone was talking while the prof was, he wrote stuff on the board, but I couldn't see it at all, so i doodled and copied the girl who was sitting next to me (who couldn't hear either). People also answered their phones during class. Today's class was a lot better...40 kids, I sat in the front, and the prof spoke clearly and slow and it seemed like the students respected her more, as they shut up. The content of the classes is kind of disappointing...each class is offered once a week for two hours and there is only 13 weeks of teaching, so not much is really going to get taught. I have also learned alot of what the courses are proposed to teach.
So far, I am having a great and interesting experience. I will continue to try to convey on here what I see everyday. AND quit harassing me about pictures. I am in a third world country, lest you forgot. I am working on getting pics up!

1 comment:

anna said...

Dang...don't get your panties in a wad about "folks" asking about pictures. You'd think that cause you are way over there you'd be excited about sharing pics of what it's like in a third world country. Anyway, I am glad to see the you've published one pic though (is that your room?).

Your blogs are a blast. I can pratically 'see' the stuff you are writing about and it provides me with an experience of almost being there when I read them.

Keep'em coming. Nuf said. Later.