ArchiveBlog 12Blog 12.1

One Month in Africa – My Reflection

Mosquito bites or zero water pressure no longer annoy me. They become a part of life that I have comfortably lived with during the past month. I no longer complain about how slow my work day is because I start losing the concept of time. It does not really matter what time it is. Everything belongs to a chaotic rhythm of Ghanaian life. And being early to anything is mere stupidity.

During the past month, I had a chance to visit different parts of Ghana and different communities in Accra, to experience Ghanaian night life and to be a part of such amazing experience.

I went to one of the most serene places on Earth just to learn about the worst crime in humane history: Slavery. It was a surreal feeling to be in such a beautiful place that also happened to be “the door of no return” to many people. The clash of pretty scenery and disgusting crime gave me chill. It was amazing to be able to touch ruined walls of Cape Coast and Elmina castles, especially when I spent so much time reading about slavery. At the same time, anger was boiling in my body. Sometime, I felt ashamed to be a human being.

I jumped on the bouncing canopy walkway that happened to be xyz feet above the ground (trust me, it was high). It was great fun to walk beneath giant trees of the rain forest, although my heart was about to stop beating whenever I looked down. And sweat ran like a never ending stream.

I took a deep breath before leaving the obruni bus and heading to central market in Kumasi. The biggest open market in West Africa and the second biggest of its kind in the continent (behind Ethiopia). I quickly realized that wearing shorts in the market was my biggest mistake. Old ladies slapped my thighs. Some yelled at me for holding a camera in hand. Some pointed at my mosquito bites and laughed at my shorts. However, those things did not prevent me from enjoying the most overwhelming walk in my entire life. People walked from every direction. I needed to look in front of me and behind me just to make sure that I wouldn’t hit my head or have my foot crushed.

Every section in the market had its own distinct smell and sound. The shoes section was covered by black dust, sparks of fire and the smell of leather (or faux leather? Plastic? Not sure). The spice section smelled like my grandma’s kitchen whenever she cooked her famous chicken curry. The fabric alley dazzled me with its colorful and vibrant textiles. Perhaps one of the liveliest thing that I have ever seen.I felt like being in horror movie while walking through the meat section. Dead cow hung above my head. Gizzard lay in front of my eyes. Ghanaian men sharpened their bloody knife when asking my hand for marriage. I was glad that I made it outside without throwing up (no regrets for walking in either). Standing at a market corner and waiting for Sonny our guide made me nervous because people kept staring at this obruni. After 15 minutes, I escaped to a nearby fabric alley. Although I didn’t buy anything, Ghanaian fabric ladies still greeted me kindly. I practiced my Twi with them and we laughed together. How I love being a rare Asian who tried to speak Twi in the middle of African market.

Living in a house with 14 other people, who were strangers one month ago, is now one of the greatest things I have ever done. Coming home to these familiar faces is my most favorite part of the day. Because I love each and every one of them so dearly.

I’m leaving Ghana in four days. Yes, I’m excited to go home, to see my family after two years. Yet, the counting down process is quite bittersweet this time because of fond memories I have had.

The people. The food. The creepers. The daily chaos. The tro tro. The mango lady.  Everything in Ghana and everyone in Ghana will be a permanent part that shapes who I am.