August 1st, 2015
— The walk to work: Although I would get up every day at 4:30 a.m., I really enjoyed the purple shade of the early morning sky, which would then brighten out as I would reach my tro tro stop. Usually on my way to Nkrumah Circle, Ghanaian gospel music would play, which was quite uplifting to listen to — the sounds of trumpets, organs, and bass blaring out different melodies while accompanying a deep raspy voice was rather enchanting. I would then walk through a quiet and peaceful Nkrumah Circle (if you ever go through Circle in the late afternoon and nighttime it is absolutely chaotic) towards Kokomemle, where my office was. I will miss that dog that would follow me and bark at me every day as I would pass and weave through the car repair shop — according to the owners, they believe that the dog freaks out over me because he isn’t used to seeing people with lighter skin.
— Drinking and eating coconuts: I would hand over my one cedi and 50 pesewas, chug down the coconut water, and then eat the tasty coconut meat, which the seller would hack off for me. Delicious!
—Eating cheap market food: Fufu, rice and beans, and waakye were my favorites. Despite costing so little, it can fill you up for two meals. Back in college, I would cook lots of spaghetti and rice as kind of a base to everything, but I learned from eating waakye in Ghana that I can mix the two together!
—Attending Ghana Premier League soccer matches: I really miss being able to watch a game from up in the press box amongst the excited voices of commentators. Interviewing fans was also very enjoyable because of how eloquent and passionate they were about their teams no matter how terrible they may have been doing in the season. Press conferences were fun too. Seeing defeated coaches make statements that have the intention of calming upset supporters and attempting to assure them that they will take home a win next game was interesting to watch.
—Ghanaian pop music: Especially the one called “Selfie” by DJ Breezy. I also discovered Sarkodie here, and I intend to listen to him lots when I get back.
—My co-workers: They all very inspirational and talented. I learned a lot under their guidance, and they treated their interns with much care. They made sure that each one was making the absolute most of his time at Joy FM and was being challenged.
—Nicknames: In America, my name is Andy. In Ghana, people at my work would call me Kwesi, Obama Brother, Obruni, Okponglo, and the Fresh Prince of Okponglo. I also enjoyed their titles for me: Andy Field — Tennis Correspondent, and when the Wimbledon ended, Andy Field — Transfer Specialist. On the street, I was sometimes “China” or “Chinaman,” and was greeted with a “Ni hao” … which I actually enjoyed!
—How friendly and kind Ghananians tended to be: Strangers would greet each other “good morning” on the tro tro, which is not something I am used to seeing in a city environment. When I was first taking the tro tro, I would sometimes be talking to the mate and trying to figure out where I was supposed to get off, or if I was even on the right tro tro. When people would overhear me do this, it suddenly became everyone’s mission on the vehicle to see me get off at the right stop, and they would start reminding me when my stop was near. When I once took the wrong tro tro, they would tell me when to get off and the location of where to get a new one. I also saw an incident where a rider disagreed with the amount that the mate was charging for his stop, and people on the tro tro who also disagreed with the price joined in the conversation and helped persuade the mate to give more change. As was attempting to find a safe time to cross a busy street during rush hour, on several occasions I would get a little pat from the person next to me to let me know that he/she thinks its okay for me to cross, and we would rush to the other side together. Even in a bustling city like Accra, everyone seems to be looking out for other members in this community — even if it is a community of 4 million people.