Thursday, October 25, 2012


This week has been a pretty normal one, so I'm going to post some fotos that
give you an idea of how our week normally goes.
Tomorrow (Friday) we start on our ten day trip to the northern region of Ghana.
If all goes well, I'll have plenty of cool fotos to share when we get back.
For now, however, take a look at some of what we do and see in a normal week.
(note: two of these have been posted before.
If you've seen earlier posts, can you tell which ones?)

Let's start off the week in church.  This is a congregation on campus.
It is one of the churches we attend with frequency, but we check out
many other churches in the city as well.  A short church service in Ghana
is 2 1/2 hours.  It's not unusual for them to go between 3 and 4 hours.
Everyone, even the children, just see this as normal.
Much of the week is spent in the dorm, or what in the British
tradition are called halls.  This is our hall, home to
18 obrunis (that's us - white foreigners) and hundreds of Africans.
A shop under the stairs.  Our students have made good friends
with the women and girls who sell here.
Now you are starting to see why I said hundreds of Africans live here.
this is the front of a huge square, four story hall.  BTW, I'm sure you
notice that it looks quite nice.  It is.  But it's not perfect.  Students
rarely have running water in their rooms.  They have to walk down
the hall to the common room and fill buckets to take back to their rooms.
Sometimes that have haul water up 3 flights of stairs.
Here's the inner courtyard, taken from a student's room.
Yes, it's pretty nice, but again, not perfect. There are no nets for tennis
and no rims on the backboards.  Notice the little kiosk in the
far right corner. That's "Tickles," a little restaurant that
our students patronize with some regularity.

Monday thru Wednesday we spend a lot of time in in this
classroom.  Students take African Literature, People and
Culture of Ghana, African Politics, Culture and Ethnography, and
a class in Twi, one of the local languages.

On Tuesday nights we have a group supper in my flat.  Rotating groups
of three make the supper every week.  To make the food we're used to,
and that we know how to cook,we often have to be creative,
because many of the standard ingredients are either not available
or way too expensive.  I did OK flour taco shells
for one dinner.  They were $10 for a pack of 8.  We each got one tortilla.

And this is where students buy much of their weekly supply of food.
It's called the night market, I suppose because they are open and most
active once the sun goes down.  You can get pretty much anything
here, except those ingredients for our own homestyle cooking.

Inside the night market, the evening line is beginning to form for supper.
Rice, a piece of chicken and a little salad costs around $2.

On Wednesday late afternoon and early evening, it's time for
drumming and dancing.  We have learned that African music is often
poly-rhythmic, which means there are multiple rhythms going on
in the same song.  For example, one person plays in a four beat,
another plays in a three beat, but you never hit a note at the
same moment.  For us it's very hard. Africans, on the other hand,
grow up with it, so it's quite natural for them.

After an hour of drumming, it's two hours of dancing.  Again,
different movements and different rhythms.  When we get it, it's
a lot of fun. It's also some pretty major exercise in a hot room.
The skin is glistening in short order.

On Thursday and Friday, students leave the campus to engage in
service learning activities at some Ghanaian
NGOs (service organizations).  Three of our women work at ABAN,
which is dedicated to helping at-risk teenage girls develop
skills (social, emotional, spiritual, and vocational) that will give them
a better chance at a decent life.  Many of the girls already have
children, some of whom you can see here.
Here's Anna talking with one of the girls. Anna is learning
about the girl's story, what she's like as a person
 and what her hopes and dreams are.

This is Lea.  She works at Challenging Heights, an organization
that rescues child slaves and helps them toward a better start in life.
With children, much of the work is about education, and Lea is helping
the children with their schoolwork.
 Finally, we get to Saturday, which is unscheduled, unless of course
we have an excursion planned, which we do about half the time.

Come back and visit the blog around November 10.
I bet you'll find some great images and stories from our trip up north.

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