Monday, February 6, 2012

Inching Along...

For anyone who knows me, I love a good to-do list. I have been known to add something to the list simply so I can cross it off. The act of drawing that line is just so satisfying.

When on Ghana Time, a to-do list is always overly ambitious. A Ghanaian shared this with me the other night, "A European has the watch, but a Ghanaian has the time." I do not think I have heard a more accurate statement while in Africa!

My friends and I set out early this morning to finish registering for classes, we needed to visit three departments. We have visited each of these departments at least four times previously, all in vain, and this morning was no exception. We had planned to spend a majority of the day volunteering, but returned to campus early in hopes of finally having a concrete academic schedule.After another hour or two revisiting the departments in the hot, afternoon sun, we were mostly successful! VICTORY! The Ghanaian version of a thumbs up is the peace sign, so feel free to throw up a peace sign for me as you read this.

As of now, barring any unforeseen and entirely possible changes, I will be taking the following courses this semester:

History: Ghana in the 19th and 20th Centuries
Religion: Islam in Ghana
Sociology: Poverty and Rural Development
Music: Music of Southern Africa
Dance: Intermediate Traditional African Dance Technique (Speaking of ambitious...time will tell if I should have gone with the beginner class...)

I will also be taking a Twi class, one of the main native languages. Even if I master Twi, and I certainly will not, there are over 40 other languages spoken in Ghana! 

In other news, my roommate has finally arrived! Ann is from the eastern region of Ghana. The youngest of eight children, she is in her final semester here as a Linguistics and Psychology major. Psychology, imagine that! She told me the psychology professors here are "very stingy" with grades and was happy to hear I was taking other courses.She brought a mini fridge, microwave, and rice cooker, I don't even know what to do with myself!

I don't have much more to share on the roommate front, however, I was awoken very early this morning by Ann's gospel music. I have really lucked out with roommates in the past, so I am a little unsure how to proceed in terms of compromising/coexisting on issues like gospel music in the room before the sun comes up.  I will take a moment here to express how excited I am to live with Emma and Sarah senior year and have my own room again, YIPEE!

Running with the gospel music, I have found women my age in Ghana to be particularly religious. Ann, and the Ghanaian roommates of my program friends, sleep with the bible directly next to their pillows. They also carry a version of Our Daily Bread with them in their purses. The men do not appear as outwardly religious, but several of the guys in my program have had their roommates ask some very personal questions about their religious beliefs.

Religious phrases and symbols can be found everywhere in Ghana, from taxi windshields to shop names to huge billboards. I say found, but you really don't even have to look. Sunday church services typically run a solid three hours! I had the opportunity to go to a Ghanaian friend's Christian church a few weekends back. It was an interesting cultural experience and it was very apparent that the church is an extremely important part of a Ghanaian's life and sense of community. While the majority of the country is Christian, Islam and African Traditionalism have a very strong following here as well. I really enjoyed my introduction to Islamic culture in Turkey, and I look forward to my religions course here.


  1. i love your blog!! seriously, i log on everyday just to see if you've posted anything new. It makes me want to come to Africa to see everything for myself.