Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Destination Damango

Hello from Tamale!! This morning we said goodbye to Accra at the ungodly hour of 4:30am and departed for the Northern regions of Ghana. We are currently in Tamale (pronounced TAH-mah-lee, not like the candy) waiting for the air conditioning to be repaired in the van that will take us to our eventual destination, Damango. While there, we will be working with a man named Abraham and his orphanage, the Children's Redemption home.

I am excited to get started. The air is so much fresher up here than it was in the city, and the people are friendlier and less adament about selling you random things. After the bustle of Accra, we are all relieved to enjoy the quiet of the countryside. It's not all cookies and cream though, northern Ghana is much more rural and we're going to have to adjust to the lack of ammenities and Westernized food. Neither the airport nor the restaurant we had breakfast at had any toilet paper, so I am not optimistic about the remainder of our stay.

Our last day in Accra was hectic. Leena and Beth arrived late Monday night and accompanied us to the market. The part of Accra we visited was highly modernized. We saw a lot of four-door SUVs (with big silver grills, the ultimate status symbol) and men walking around in three piece suits (while I broke a sweat in a T-shirt). The vendors there were relentless, note to self for any future Accra visits: never passively suggest that you find something a vender is offering "nice." You will be stalked. In the end I made no purchases. I will wait until up north or Winneba, where the things that can be purchased are cheaper and more authentic.

These past few days have also brought many interesting conversations about politics and gender equality. We met a woman named Mrs Awortwi who is the director of science and education for all of Ghana. It was very interesting to hear her take on government. She implied that there is a general lack of interest and participation in public affairs. Government in Ghana remains an abstract concept rather than something to be influenced for the betterment of the country. What a contrast to the USA, where the government is constantly under scrutiny.

Here are some interesting observations we have made:
- Even when arriving late, Ross and I were always served food before the ladies
- Practically every manikan I have seen is white. Whiteness is associated with sophistication.
- No businesses, restaurants, or otherwise will accept 50 cedi notes, because they cannot make change. We were only given 50 cedi notes. Way to go airport.

I have only four minutes of internet time remaining, so I'll finish here. On the whole, things have been great and hopefully will continue to be so!

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