Thursday, September 21, 2006

Development, Hezbollah, Obrunis

Thanks everyone for all of the lovely comments. I really feel special that people take time out of their days to read my blog.
Last week was an eventful one of sorts. I was invited by one of my fellow interns to a cocktail at a German NGO's office (FNF). It was very classy...waiters bringing you drinks and little hors d'ourves. I munched down because it was free and A) wasnt spicy and B) very tasty. The organization, FNF, supports and partners with organizations in Ghana that want liberal government. Liberal, p.s., means something completely different here than it does in the states. Liberal means privatization of businesses and the economy, de-centralization of the government, democracy. Conservative, on the other hand, is equal to socialist. To explain further, conservative means keeping the status quo. The status quo in Ghana has always been socialist, authoritative regimes. Liberalism means change from the status quo. You can apply these simplified definitions to the US as well, just the opposite (the status quo has been capitalism, privatization). Anyway, the reception was nice and I met some interesting people. A lawyer who studied at Tulane told me that she thinks that Ghana should be able to play a larger role in its development. She complained that when the West comes to "develop" Africa, they send over a consultant who tells the governments what to do, then takes 10% of the "development" budget. Though this may be an exageration, it made me think. I have become increasingly discouraged with the idea of Western Development. A) I don't want the world to be like the US. B) What right do we have to tell another country how to develop? C) who determines what is development? Honestly, I don't think we should play a role in it at all. The only problem is we have all the money. And you do need money to do things. Its a tough dilemma, but i have decided that i don't want to do international development as a career. I don't feel right telling people how to live their lives or how to become developed.
Friday night I hung out with a South African fellow who is working at CDD also. He taught me some Xhosa (the clicking language), how Christianity is totally different there than it is here, how he got to hear Ian Smith speak(former white leader of Zimbabwe during the War of Liberation...yes I was telling him about my SURE research, oh i am so proud! ), good African books to read. I also tried palm wine, which is huge in West Africa. It was a bit sweet and unlike anything I ever tasted before.
Saturday started with a bang...literally. 7:30am, there is singing and yelling and chanting outside of the hostel. Then there is someone shooting an air rifle. It was startling because i had no idea what was going on. I look outside and there are 30 guys trying to get into our hostel, yelling something about Hezbollah, dressed in traditional outfits and shooting the air gun. Sound scary? Well, its actually kind of funny. The group, "the Republic," is infamous for their renaming of new buildings. Since our hostel was new, they had to "christen" it and the recently re-opened Night Market. Our hostel was named Torog, a cocaine dealer prominent in Ghanaian news, and Night Market was named Hezbollah. They name buildings on campus, and require that every student only call the buildings by those names. So that was my wake up call. Everyone was outside watching these crazy kids. Then a Christian parade marched through our hostel. They were singing and playing trumpets and other instruments. Then a man stepped forward and began to preach about how even though we are international students, we can still accept Jesus.
So, my saturday morning was extrememly eventful. Since we were tired, we decided to just chill on saturday and visit...MaxMart. Yes, I said it. I went to the dreaded Western grocery store. And, some of the items I saw...they made me very homesick. Like Duncan Hines blueberry muffin mix. Salsa. Cheese, real cheese like cheddar, sliced and shredded. Ben and Jerrys (get this...$10 a pint, good joke!). We went to the coffee shop and had cappuchinos, sandwiches with vegetables and mozarella on wheat bread. It was the greatest. But it was kinda depressing because it was only Obrunis (foreigners, mostly white) in the whole place.
Saturday night we went to a bar that was opened up by a friend of a friend's. It was a very nice establishment in Osu. Then we went to a night club that apparently only lets in Lebanese or non-African people (the friend we went with, TJ, wasn't allowed in until the owner of the bar (an Asian guy) told them he was with him). It was kind of strange, but I met the co-owner of the club who was African and she studied in London and wanted to be our friend. Everyone in Ghana wants to be my friend. haha. Crap. the purpose of this blog was to talk about the hospital visits of this week. um...I will write one on that tomorrow. haha.

1 comment:

Anna Davis said...

Hi Justine,
As I mentioned to you b/ write well. I can see and feel your experiences. You know what would be nice? For the journal of your travels to be published into a binded keepsake that you can share with your children and other family in the future. Yeah, that would be nice... :-)