Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cultural Exchanges

So this weekend was interesting but pretty low key. On saturday I went with two of the Norweigan girls to this hair salon where they met a woman last weekend who invited them to a festival. At the hair salon I taught the Nords a little bit about black hair ("why do you need to put so much product in there??" "Does it hurt to get it straightened??") They have been having a hard time finding someone to just cut their hair without putting grease in it (haha). So we met the lady, who turned out to be the daughter of a former Ga king. The Ga is the largest ethnic group in Accra. anywho, we went to her house and sat in a living room on a couch and sipped pineapple coconut juice and watched a thai, indian, and ghanaian films. then she brought us a sampling of what would be served later that night for dinner...some sort of palmnut soup with fish. This is when I figured out why I don't like Ghanaian food...it is very bland but at the same time very spicy. There is no flavor really, just spicy burnt mouth. Then we went down to the party and sat and watched funny dancing and got hit on by old men and young boys alike. It was a strange and interesting experience. I think that the Nords got invited because they are white, and they were most certainly a novelty at the party (people kept coming over to them, surrounding them while they danced etc). It is a weird experience, because I feel like I am not Ghanaian but I am not white, so I am not really paid attention to.
Sunday, I went down to my friend Tasha's room (rasta chick with cool dredlocks) and met her Ghanaian roommate. she said that she would cook for us, so I was totally down with some free food. Then she preceded to ask me a lot of questions about America. First, she said she was very surprised that we were dark skinned like her. She thought, based on movies and music videos, that all black women in America were light skinned. She was also suprised we had similar hairstyles as Ghanaians, and that we weren't "crazy" (which I think has to do with style of dress) and that we are very suprising to Ghanaians because we don't look like the stereotypical black female. I then proceeded to explain to her why light skinnedness is looked upon as better than black skinnedness in the states. She and her Ghanaian friend said I was beautiful (good for my big head, eh?). The food that she made was the best I have had since I have been here. She made some fried plantains (i wanted to start crying they were so good), a dish with a ton of veggies, tuna and pasta and chickpeas in a tomato sauce. I wanted to jump for joy, it was so tasty.
Last thing, I am at my internship now. I started today, but they haven't really given me any work. I am picking up where this girl left off on a project called "Ghana at 50." Ghana's 50th anniversary is next march, so CDD (Center for Democratic Development) is sponsoring a conference to discuss how far Ghana has come in regards to poltical, social and human development. I think my job will be to fundraise with international agencies and research possible topics for the conference. It seems pretty exciting, but like I said I haven't started or been assigned anything. I am just happy to have quick internet. This weekend we are thinking about traveling to the Volta Lake which should be fun (its on my top three list of places to visit while I am here, so i am looking forward to it).
P.s. classes were supposed to start on monday. No, they haven't. But its all good, I don't want to go to class anyway.

3 comments:

Anna said...

Justine,
That was great and funny reading! Thanks for sharing your experiences.

WHERE ARE THE PHOTOS???

Perugia Paige said...

i love that ghana is about avoiding food and men. what do you think i'm going to italy for? just kdding... your internship sounds pretty sweet. i like reading these because I actually learn things about ghana!

kwbena said...

hey! Man i wish i was still back there, it seems like a different lifetime now. Its weird to be thrust back into the hustle and bustle of western life, everyone's too busy and unhappy it seems here. How I miss the friendly Ghanaians!

Enjoy every moment of your time there and keep up the blog, I really enjoy reading it!