Sunday in Accra

Ghanaians have a strong faith which they live every day, with approximately 60% of the population of Christian faith and 40% or so of muslim faith.  Here are some common sites you see around Accra,

God is good

and in Twi, a similar message (I think) ūüôā

Almost all taxis and tro tros have such messages on their reat window.  And many company names reflect faith,

And the same message in Twi, I think….

A final message for this post,

I hope you enjoy these images.  God Bless everyone on this beautiful Kwasiada (Sunday)!

Maureen

p.s. yes, it is now Monday however the internet also was resting yesterday! ūüôā

Three new sisters

Today during my Twi lesson I learned many things, one of which is my Ghanaian name…Adwoa.¬† This is good because as I meet people and tell them my name is Maureen, I can tell by their expressions that it is not a name they hear very often in Ghana,¬†if ever.¬† And so, this evening, as¬†we talk¬†to the seamstress to discuss some business, we are exchanging names when I tell her my name is Maureen.¬† As she hesitates, I add, “Some call me Adwoa.”¬†

This surprises her.¬† “Who calls you Adwoa?”¬† How should I answer this?¬†

And so¬†when reply, “God” …this also surprises her…I continue, “born on….”.¬† This is when she completes my sentence, “… a Monday!¬†¬†You are born on a Monday?¬† Me too!¬† We are sisters Adwoa!”

Yes, we are!¬† And so, with my new name, this is the¬†third time¬†today I have met a new sister and so I now have three new sisters – Julianna, Emelia, and Mabel…all Adwoa…all born on Monday…and the family grows in Ghana!

nna pa (off to bed, good night!)

The First Day in Accra: Smiling is the universal language

Akwaaba!  Welcome!

I must confess that my first day in Accra is a bit of a blur.  Our flight from Halifax to JFK left a half hour late and arrived a half hour early (which caused me to wonder if there are times we just stay in the air longer than necessary for no reason?).  If you have never been to JFK, I must say that it is a nice airport, well marked, and lots of healthy, albeit expensive, food choices.  They even have the new small single serving Hagaan-Dazs which I must tell you is an absolute favorite at the perfect serving size, however, I passed and had the three color salad with balsamic dressing instead Рmostly because folks told us to avoid the water based food like lettuce and if I was going for three weeks without salad, then I should fill up! 

As folks piled into the gate area with their luggage it piled up and it was clear that we were going to have a huge luggage challenge as it became apparent that few returning Ghanaians had checked their luggage.  It seems everyone had at least two carryons.  So we were a bit late leaving JFK because of the luggage stopped at the sky-check and further luggage removed from the passenger cabin when it did not fit..anywhere!  The flight was full of children as families returned to Ghana to visit family, and all the little ones did really well on the flight with little fuss or crying.  We met a mother who was taking her child home to see his grandparents for the first time and she was very excited, as you can imagine.  She pointed to her first child, sound asleep, who had been a miracle baby born at less then 2 pounds!  My seat-mate was going home to the small village of Senchi to visit his mother and do further work on improving the school in his village.  Once the school is improved he will be looking for volunteers to teach there.  Apparently, it is as difficult to attract teachers to the rural schools in Ghana as it is in areas of Canada.  I have checked the map and Senchi is such as small village that it does not appear, however if you are interested, if you ask around Ghana and venture to Senchi you can probably find your way to teaching there!

After the all-nighter from JFK, we landed in Accra in the morning, except that it was already noon hour here and 2:30 by the time we reached the hotel.    The Accra airport is easy to navigate although the luggage area was challenging with all the luggage, however everyone is so polite that even this is easy.  People help each other and everyone is friendly.  Ghana has been described by many as the friendliest country and after only three days here, it is easy to see why.  Relationships matter. Family matters.  Community matters.  People are expected to be polite and respectful. 

My new friend Stephanie saw a sign¬†as we waited in the¬†customs line….all visitors are welcome except pedophiles and other such criminals who are instead invited to turn around and go back from whence they came.¬† Now there’s¬†a clear value statement.¬† Yay for Ghana!

We were greeted at the airport by Thomas and Fred from WUSC who were very nice and showed us some points of interest as we drove to the hotel.  I took video to post for you to see but it is blurry, either from the bumpy roads or perhaps my blurry eyes, not sure which and so I will try again another day.  We travelled through the University of Ghana campus which is beyond huge.  My map friends can check this out but I am quite sure the campus is larger than the whole town of Middleton.  Oh, and the termite hills are many and I dare say some are over 6 feet high.

Upon arrival at the hotel, we were welcomed by Patience from WUSC and the other volunteers who were already in training since they will be here for 8 months to 1 year.¬† They had just finished lunch and invited us to go rest; however Stephanie and I were too excited so ventured out for a walk.¬† Travelling down the road aimlessly, we were in a residential area and turned around to walk back to¬†explore another road.¬† Almost to the corner, a group of school children started down the road towards us on their way home.¬† As we got closer, a littly boy got very excited….’Oburoni!’…which¬†is of course¬†twi for¬†‘white person’ …a greeting we can expect to here many times during our visit…no need to take offence, he is smiling and so we smile in return knowing we are welcome in Ghana.

Learn a language

Learn a language?  Sure.  In two weeks, hmmmm, actually, why not! At least enough to be polite and say that you only know a little of the language!

In Ghana, there are over 106 languages, all with multiple dialects…that’s a lot to learn!

At the intercultural training, my new friend Ernest (originally from Ghana) was teaching me a little bit of the two dominant language, it became clear to me that this would take more than the time we had.  I repeated the phrases and I thank Ernest for not laughing at me as I got bits of it horribly wrong.  It was an eye opening experience and I vowed that I would spend more time on to learn Twi.

Enter Youtube.¬† A¬†quick¬†YouTube search¬†and video choices to learn Twi (pronounced¬†‘tchwee’) popped forth.¬† A reason to love YouTube!¬† Hubby watched the first video with me and he was pleasantly surprised when I had replied with Twi for ‘thank you’ before being told in the video what it was.¬† That much I had remembered from the training! ūüôā

And so, I will work on my Twi a little bit everyday and in two weeks, who knows where I will be…hopefully at least at please, thank you and of course, have a nice day! ūüôā

13 days,

Maureen