Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Even the dirt is colorful! -Alexis Brown

It’s beautiful here. Even the dirt is colorful! We’ve just finished up our one week’s stay in Accra. An average day began with eating homemade food from next door. A lot of us ate either chocolate crepes or ham, egg and cheese sandwiches. Then, the trek to class - 20 minutes in mega heat until we’re all dripping with sweat. It’s the test that showed just how good natured all of my fellow travelers are! We were very lucky to be the avid pupils to Dr. Justice Bawole and Charles Fosu Gyamfi.  Dr. Bawole is the type of man we found ourselves writing down quotes of. His example is one that I can tell will be a reference point for the rest of my life. After class each day we’d hit home and head out to one excursion or another. Once we went to ABAN (aban.org), another time the art market.

The art market was quite the experience. From the moment you walk in people follow you. Then in the individual stands, where some combination of masks, carvings, beads, drums etc. are sold, more people implore you to buy. Implore is an understatement. They put any American salesman to shame. It was fun though! When we were finished shopping we joined an impromptu dance circle at the front of the market with 20-30 children. The music was loud, and though we were sweaty we were having too much fun to care!  Many locals took pictures and video of the Obronis (foreigner and/or white person, "oh-brew-knee") dancing.

Though I may be an Obroni, I am very much enjoying the food here! As I mentioned, everything is colorful. The food doesn’t lack personality either! Most everything has a kick… and probably a few bones so watch out. Here, you get to play with your food: banku is a ball of dough you eat with. You tear off a piece and either shape it into a spoon for okra stew - my favorite so far – or dip into various sauces. Red Red is also great, it’s a spicy black eyed pea dish served with fried plantains. The plantains really cool off the kick; it’s good. Fish, rice - with “gravy” a spicy red sauce - and chicken are also staples. 

We’ve met the warmest of welcomes in Accra! I’ve loved trying out our working knowledge of Fanti on the locals. It definitely gets some Julia Roberts smiles out of people! In fact, just a smile and a wave time and time again puts a quizzical person at ease and evokes a smile. The welcome we’ve gotten from our extraordinary partners at the University of Ghana, our “big brothers” - who constantly help and protect us - and the locals in general makes me hope that Americans at home are, in return, extending a warm welcome to other travelers.

Bree and Sam walking home with Samuel (our local guide) from class.


Dr. Justice Bawole pictured here accepting a name plate embossed with the Grand Valley State University - Frederik Meijer Honors College emblem.


A shot of our dance party at the Art Market in Accra.

All the best from all of us in Ghana!! ~Alexis Brown

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