Akwaaba- Welcome

It has been one jam packed day! Jenn, Austin, and I arrived in Accra last night and were greeted by the CareNet Ghana crew. The airport itself was definitely an experience. We got off the plane onto the runway and the air was comparable to a sauna. Inside, where we were checked by military personnel, was not much better in terms of heat and humidity. Once having our passports and visas checked, we walked into a large room that was termed ‘baggage reclaim.’ However, it was more like a bunch of people moving around not knowing what to do and instead following the person in front of them, who equally did not know what to do. We claimed our bags and continued to what we thought would be customs, except for we were waived straight through.

Since we arrived late, and Patrick (the director of CareNet) has work to do in Accra, we are staying at the Ecstacy Royal Hotel for two nights. Today, some of the people who work for CareNet were nice enough to take us around the city of Accra! We started our day by driving to the center of the city. On the way we saw a four car pile up at an intersection. Pretty rough traffic accident! The intersections in Accra have traffic lights, but it appears that very few people acknowledge them. When they are used, people stand at the intersections selling snacks and gum or beg for money. Another interesting thing I noticed on the side of the road was the Ghanaian flag painted on walls, everywhere! Even in just my one day in Accra, I have found Ghanaian people to be extremely proud of their country and heritage. Not only was the flag posted and painted all over the city, but so was the picture of the current president. I saw sights such as the Independence Square and the National Museum– all which celebrated Ghana as an independent country. 

The first stop on our tour of Accra was the art center, which was really more of a tourist market. We were brought into many stalls with beautiful carvings, beads, masks, and textiles. In the market, we met a Ghanaian man who could name every capital of every state in America, and he could even name state mottos and other random towns and cities in the states. Impressive! We then walked through the national museum and saw the tomb of Ghana’s first president. After lunch we checked out the national soccer stadium and the beach. Let me tell you, the beach in Accra is quite the popular place! Everyone was dancing and swimming and having an all around great time! Accra was definitely a cool place to see and compare to what we, as Americans, think of when we think ‘city.’ I don’t believe I have ever seen a woman balancing a basket of fruit on her head along the roadside in Los Angeles. But, the traffic was at least comparable!

Tomorrow, we will be heading to Akatsi, a village outside of Hohoe in the Volta Region. I am excited to begin my research and immerse myself in Ghanaian village life! I am unsure if I will have any access to internet while in Akatsi, but I will try my best to post any updates on my research as well as life in Ghana!

Some new words that we’ve learned…
Good morning- Undi’i
How are you?- eff’wei
Responding to ‘how are you?’- ehh
Welcome- Akwaaba

Stay tuned!