Saturday, 10 April 2010

I love Ghana because...

1. ..there's one great experience after the other.

In my dreamier moments, I fancy myself a bit of a Surrealist who sees the marvelous in the everyday. And then to cap it off, I took a class in my final semester at university that was all about experiencing the city in different ways. Such bliss. Suddenly I was enjoying my tube and bus rides more, deliberately flashing random smiles at strangers on the street, mentally enjoying their baffled reactions - and I swear I could almost see the point at which they decided that I was nuts - and then being genuinely surprised when some of them smiled warmly back. Okay that would leave me a little taken aback, because nobody does blasé better than your average Londoner.
I became a fan of Dali, and even chose his painting 'Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man' for my French oral presentation. Pretty tough stuff it turned out, and it didn't particularly help that my tutor loved the painting and so was firing questions in rapid-fire French that left me almost wishing I'd chosen something more low key. But that's another discussion entirely. So yes, I'd got to a point where I was doing Surrealism better than Monsieur Breton.

Which is why I loved my first Ghanaian experience.

After the plane landed we all shuffled out into the shuttle bus. I was looking for something to grab onto when the bus lurched, throwing me backwards into someone. I landed rather ungracefully on him, and was completely mortified. But he brushed away my mutterings of 'I'm sorry, so sorry..', and we started chatting.It turned out he and another friend with him had come from Norway, and were in Ghana for the paragliding festival at Kwahu, which apparently is the place to be at Easter. It was their first time in Africa, and I marveled at what must be a dramatic change in weather conditions. Norway is hardly Ibiza, after all. As I spoke to him (the one I'd fallen on), I noticed his friend bringing out a camera and training it on me. 'What are you doing?' I asked, slightly alarmed. For a brief moment there I wondered wildly if I'd become fodder for paparazzi- oh haha Davida - but his friend eagerly explained that he wanted to capture everything about their visit. Everything. Oh well in that case, I didn't want to stand in the way of a photographer and his dream. I surreptitiously turned a little though - no way was I going to let those very obvious sleep marks on my left cheek show in this picture. As we got off the bus, they asked me what they could expect from Ghanaians. I didn't hesitate. I knew they'd receive the legendary Ghanaian hospitality and warmth, more than their fair share of stares, a little nosy probing (none of that each one for himself crap in Ghana, no sir), and a wonderful African experience.

As a parting shot, I told them to always bargain when buying something. 'Even at the market?'they asked anxiously. 'Especially at the market!'I exclaimed.

2. ..you can always have a laugh

Ahh..me and my trotro stories again. I took one from Circle to Kaneshie. It was during the evening rush hour, so the queues were long and winding, but finally a trotro heading in my direction arrived. And the careful line that had been formed suddenly deteriorated, and in the rush for seats, I didn't make it into the trotro in time to claim one for myself. I must be losing my steely determination to ALWAYS get a seat in the trotro! Anyway I ended up standing for the duration of the journey. As usual, this came with a salesman peddling his sachets of de-wormers. I was bored, hot and uncomfortable. So imagine my surprise (and amusement) when the salesman called out to me, saying, 'Ghana 'obroni' wo pe sen?' (How many do you want)
He was the type of persuasive and cajoling salesman who would refer to the passengers as his sisters, brothers, mothers etc. So no, my amusement wasn't that he'd called out directly to me. It was rather that he'd called me 'obroni', which is variously used to mean white or fair-skinned person. Ghana 'obroni'! Me?!' Hahaha. I was extremely tickled by that. It was still a couple days since I'd been back, so my skin was probably looking clearer or something. The blazing heat soon rectified that though, bestowing a fair smattering of heat rash too. I'm definitely way browner than your average Ghana 'obroni', but his comment certainly made the journey more pleasant.

I have another trotro story! Seriously, at this rate I'm practically on first name terms with all the mates. So many stories to tell!

Very simply I love Ghana because there are so many unscripted moments that I re-live over and over again.

To be continued...

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