Greetings! We have been in Ghana for over a month now, so I thought I would share some of the more interesting aspects of life here thus far. It sometimes feels like a different world.
-Greetings are cultural must. When you pass someone the respectful thing to do is to greet them (the younger person always greets the older one first)
-Machi (Good morning)
-Wo ho ta sen (how are you?)
-Me ho ya (I am fine) –na wo nso e (and you?)
-Me ho ya pa (I am fine also)
This ritual is practiced probably 20 times a day depending on how far you walk or leave your house..
-Funerals are a BIG ole deal. Chris and I learned firsthand by taking part of one via our bed. There was a funeral here last weekend, that happened to be in our back yard. The music started blaring at 4:30 in the morning and our room vibrated from then on. Funerals are no joke. They dance and drink spirits and celebrate the life for three days.
-Running water isn’t common in our village or really in any of the rural villages in Ghana, so we have learned to bathe, wash, clean, cook, and rinse with a series of buckets. Everyone is quite resourceful and creative here!
-Most homes have latrines for when you need to use the restroom. These are typically outhouse style with a deep pit. Once they are full, you cover them up with dirt and they will decompose.
– Most people (women actually) cook outside over coal or propane stoves. We have been learning the same! We helped our host mom cook the other day and Saturday we had a Peace Corps Cook-off. My team happened to win with delectable vegetarian bean burgers with guacamole and tomato topping along with yam fries cooked in coconut oil! It was yummy, but so were everybody else’s dishes. It was refreshing to see the variety of things we will be able to make here with local ingredients. So far, most of us have just been eating the Ghanaian dishes our moms have been preparing, but sometimes we miss our American tasties.
-Electricity is only on about 40% of the time. From what I understand, this just started occurring within the past two years. Apparently, Ghana’s government is selling some of their electricity to neighboring countries.
-Ghanaians or at least our village of Ghanaians is made up of hardcore morning folk! And by morning folk I mean a giant bell goes off at 4:30 a.m. 2-3 mornings a week to wake people up for church. Shortly after, if the power is on music starts playing or the roosters start doing their thing and everyone is sweeping their porch, making breakfast, fetching water, going to church or having services in the courtyard (we also listened to three services via our bed again this week ) all by like 8. At that point, the place starts to quiet down again. The positive side of this is that we have become morning people (the 6:30 am type not the 4:30 to be clear) and I can no longer be classified as a “light sleeper.” In Florida, we slept with a massive fan, earplugs, and sometimes an eye mask. Now we sleep with zero fans, several roosters, several goats, bells, blaring music, animals giving birth, preachers on radios, animals being slaughtered and oh so much more..
-The women work hard here. Gender roles are a very real thing in this part of the world. That’s something that’s been a bit of challenge, that I didn’t see coming. Here, it’s expected that I do all of the laundry, cooking, sweeping, cleaning, etc. We have tried to explain that in America sometimes it’s the man that does these things or that some couples (like us) choose to do chores together or split them. Even so, we are constantly asked why Chris is doing chores with me. When our host mom is around she tries to insist I do them myself. Guess it will be something we have to repeatedly explain and also just laugh about cause that’s how we dooo.
-The culture in Ghana is quite collective and communal. Up to this point, all I’ve known about collective cultures has been through textbooks. I used to idealize them because I love how everyone is everyone’s keeper, how everyone does everything together, and the low levels of depression/anxiety found in these cultures. In the short time we have been here, I’ve already been able to see some aspects of living in a collective culture that I didn’t quite understand before. Im looking forward to continuing to exploring this aspect of Ghana over the next two years.
-Today we were told by some of our trainers today that when we get to our sites that we need to ask questions like “is it ok to whistle after 6 p.m.? Which woods are bewitched? What areas do I stay away from and during what times? We learned that Ghanaians believe in witches and can be quite superstitious. So this will be another interesting aspect of life that hopefully we won’t need to blog too much about!
On that note… We love and miss everyone! More pics to come, the internet is super slow right now
These two cuties are training to be like their moms. I’m constantly amazed at how the women can carry such large buckets on their heads full of water, produce, or items that are for sale. Pretty sure I strained some neck muscles when I tried this..