I miss the “ssss ssss” and the “kiss kiss” of people trying to get my attention. I miss the shouting of Obruni because I know it’s me they are talking about. I miss the Tro tro mate yelling “circ circ circ” or “Cra cra cra.” I miss the fruit stands that were on every street corner and never farther than walking distance from home and always had delicious mangoes, plantains, pineapples and watermelons. Why doesn’t anyone in the US carry things on their head? It is a very efficient way to carry things and also carry more.
I loved being in Accra. It was an amazing experience that I know I will always wish I could go back into and be in a certain moment again. For example, the Bass Awards, which was the most unorganized and strange award show I have ever seen but also an experience that put me, literally, in the middle of a cultural event I didn’t understand as many references made were confusing to me, and many interactions made me feel out of place. It was amazing to be sitting there confused about what was happening or trying to guess what Shatta Wale was when random people kept shouting it out. It also introduced me to the music that I would later hear being played on the radio and in the clubs, which I wouldn’t understand as well if I hadn’t gone to the award show. I wouldn’t understand that Shatta Wale was the Drake of Ghana and that it is a big deal that he will be playing at the local reggae night! These cultural experiences are the ones we want when we are abroad. And trying to explain this to people who were not there is difficult because I get a bit overwhelmed with the memories.
Every travel abroad experience is beneficial and unique. But of course since I was part of this program I think it is more unique and awesome and special. The things you experience in this program are very different than if you decided to go to a more westernized country. It is so crazy and amazing to see the interactions of the society and people in Ghana. Ghana man time is still stuck in my bones, and people are getting annoyed at my tardiness and nonchalant attitude.
I try to explain moments to people but I feel hopeless in the fact that they will never truly understand how significant a moment was with the group or with a co-worker. This is not their fault. I get lost in all the memories and interactions and I just want to be back in the moment. I get a little pang in my heart when I listen to Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale and think about all the times I heard this music at one time or another in Ghana. I get a little pang when I go to buy fruit and wish I had a little fruit stand that was right on the way home. I put on my flip-flops and still see the dirt that stained the white straps, and all I can think about is how much I miss the dirt that stained all my white things. People ask me about my trip and I just don’t know where to start. Eventually, I will be able to process what the trip truly meant to me and how it changed me and someday I will return.
But even though I am sad at times this was a very unique experience and the people I came to Ghana with have a lot to do with my experience too. That may be something that gets overlooked, but I could not have asked for a better group of fun, amazing, optimistic, uplifting, brilliant and talented people to enhance everything about the trip for me. It is already in a unique location and is a unique internship opportunity but it is even more unique because of the relationships I built with the people I came with as well as the people I have met at work or in the community that I was thrown into. The little interactions or conversations that I had that changed my whole perspective or viewing one act that gave faith in humanity or made me lose it. These things are the things we search for through out our life because of out innate urge to grow and better ourselves in any way we can. These people had been my family for the six weeks I was In Ghana and they will remain just that for the rest of my life. I think that being in this program and meeting all these amazing people has done that for me, and that is the best thing that I could have hoped for. I freaking love all of you people! The memories we have made are crazy blasphemy and irreplaceable fun. This trip exceeded ALL my expectations and I would love to do it again in a heartbeat.