Obrooney or Rooney?

To clarify, the people mainly know that I am not actually Rooney. They are excited to see what they call a “Obrooney”(their term for white man) and that I also look like a famous footballer from a team that is extremely popular(Manchester United is very popular in Ghana because their games are played regularly on TV). It would be like if Berkshire had a visitor that looked like one of your favorite celebrities.

Powers out! As I’m writing this blog, I am not sure when it will see light because there is an insane thunderstorm. The last few days it looked like it would storm, but today it finally pulled through and in a big way. Power is out, as are wifi and water. It is quite scary as I’m now in a new hotel in Sefwi Bekwai writing this with my iPad being the only available light.

Sefwi Bekwai is about a seven hour drive from Accra(if you want to understand how big Africa is, go to google maps and route Sefwi Bekwai to Accra and zoom out of the map to see the whole continent and look at how small it looks despite being such a distance). The drive was a bit frightening, but also an adventure. We encountered grazing sheep blocking the road, two giant trucks flipped on their side from the uneven pavement, and games of chicken with oncoming traffic. The road would be beautifully paved for a long stretch, then it would suddenly change to uneven gravel that reminded me of a pothole-plagued Michigan road.
Finally, we arrived and were greeted by a welcoming party of teachers from Sefwi Bekwai High School. The Ghanaian people, especially teachers, are unbelievably friendly to visitors.

I was a lunch and dinner guest for local families. For lunch, I ate “red-red” which is plantains with beans and a spicy sauce. This may have been the best thing I’ve had so far in Ghana. I’m unsure why plantains are not popular in the US. For dinner, we visited a local college teacher’s house. We had groundnut soup with a rice ball. I also enjoyed this, but not as much as red-red.

Before lunch, our host teacher, Alex( fun fact..his childhood nickname was 7-up…. Another fun fact..nicknames are very common in Ghana)took us to the Ghana Bauxite mine. We viewed an in depth tour of the facilities for which they mine bauxite and aluminum. When wifi improves, I will post pictures that show this amazing process(Mr. Phillips and science teachers will really enjoy this).

While waiting to enter a cocoa farm, Rebecca(my travel partner) and I had an interesting altercation with local children. The children(likely between 5-10 yrs old) were hiding in the bushes watching us. We let them know that they could come out and meet us, but they instead ran away(likely unsure of what to think of the white man). Finally, they came a bit closer and I tried to get them to play stick baseball. They did not catch on so I went to plan B, stick sword fighting. The children really enjoyed this and began trying to ambush me( the video is below). Afterwards, I showed them a video of us playing. They laughed hysterically as watching themselves on my iPad was a riot to them. I can’t help but think that we left a longing impression on these children….I just hope they regard us as nice people…not ninjas:)

The monumental battle

In the afternoon, I had the opportunity to try a staple to the Ghanaian diet, Fufu. Fufu is made by crushing plantains and. In the picture below you can see me helping crush the vegetable. Fufu was very thick, starchy, and filling….and let’s just say it will not become a staple of my diet.

From the many responses…yes, I am enjoying myself, but what I’m gaining from this trip is much deeper than that. I will share with the class upon my return. I hope all is well!
To the classes following from Derby, I am glad to have your support!

100 thoughts on “Obrooney or Rooney?

  1. Maa ha Mr. Jackson! Eti sen? Eh ya. It is cool here in Michigan. Ghana looks fun. The video is funny. All the Ghanaian people look fun and nice. I would love to visit Ghana some day. Is the storm over? Did the power come back on? Did they know how to use electronics? If so, did you use it? If not, did you help them? How is the hotel?

  2. Hello Mr. Jackson! Those sword fights look very interesting. You looked like you were having fun with those kids! While it is storming there it is snowing here! I thought is was spring! Hopefully the weather is better in Ghana for the rest of the time your there, so you can enjoy your trip more! It’s also cool that in Ghana there are animals just roaming around even where the cars are, it would be kind of cool if it was like that here in Michigan. We will miss you, but have a good time in Ghana! Please keep us updated!

  3. Hi Mr. Jackson! I hope you guys are safe from the storm. It seems very terrifying. Think of it this way; while we are here in the snow, you’re in nice, warm Ghana. But you also look like you’re having a lot of fun. Sorry, but I think that Ghana beat the United States in this battle. If it makes you feel better, you were out-numbered. My grandma likes to make plantains and red-red for holidays, similar to the food you ate. I hope the storm stops soon!

    ~ Jilianne K.

  4. Hi Mr. Jackson, I thought the video you posted was very funny and it seemed to me that the children really enjoyed that battle.
    I wonder how the children felt when the storm happened but they wouldn’t be that scared compared to their battle with you, if that happened to me I would’ve been freaking out.
    How did you come up with your nickname? Also what was the coolest nickname to you? I think having nicknames are cool, I would like to have one.
    Have a great time in Ghana, I hope to see you soon!

  5. Hi Mr. Jackson/Rooney I liked your video of kids fighting you and I also got to meet your travel partner. I want to try red red. I can’t believe that storm. Also those pot holes and those trucks. I still can’t imagine living with no electronic equipment. I wasn’t to know how big the average house is. Keep blogging I like it. ps I want to know old those kids are.

  6. Hello Mr. Jackson I need to know where those real swords!? I think that battle was unfare it was two against one. I call rematch. You should of beat them your Wayne Rooney for crying out loud :). I think it is really cool what you are doing for those kids in Ghanna. Showing

  7. Hello Mr. Jackson,
    I’m just wondering how the host teacher Alex, got the childhood nickname 7-up. Also, how do you feel about not being known as Rooney? I’m sure that your trip to Ghana beats sitting in a classroom all day.

    Overall, do you like Ghanian food over American food? Because it sounds like you really like it. Enjoy the remainder of your trip.

  8. Hi Mr. Jackson,
    It sure looks like you are having a good time. It is awesome that you had a sword fight with some Ghanian children. The whole class cracked up when they saw the video. Is the food in Ghana better than the food in America? When you get back to Michigan I am going to call you Mr.Rooney… Hope your power comes back, so your IPAD is not your only source of light!


  9. Hi Mr.Jackson! That was a cool sword fight. You definitely won! The thunder storm sounds very scary.I hope your safe. I think it’s cool how you saw sheep on the road. The food fufu sounds very delicious. Red-red also sounds good. I would like to see a coca bean farm. I wish nicknames were common in this country because it would be fun. I think what your doing is great. You travel around and eat new foods and meet new people. I hope your having a great time.

  10. Hi Mr.Jackson,

    Did you win the sword fight?LOL
    We all miss you Mr.Jackson. How old are the boys that you were fighting with. How is the vaycay (vacation). Did your girlfriend go with you?


  11. Its nice for you to show how much fun you can be to kids who rarely see white skinned people. I feel king of jelous that I couldnt have a soward fight with you ;). You and Rebecca sound like you had adventerous but scary time to get from Accra to Sefwi Bekwai and seeing scary and funny sights like the sheep in the road and no matter how much you honk, they won’t budge at all. I hope you will bring back recipes on some of the foods there so we can try it ourselves insted of waiting another 10 years till we get to go and try it ourselves.
    What does Redecca look like? she seems like a nice person. COME BACK SOON!

    -Autumn πŸ™‚

  12. 3-25-14

    I think that it was very cute how the boys were laughing and running around.Did those boys say anything when they were running away?Who was the girl in the background?Also what is a plaintain?
    Where were you at in the video?Did the people in the car that flipped over okay?What do they do at cocoa farms?That’s all for now.

  13. I really like how you and the kids were sword fighting with sticks. I thought that would be cool to do! Did you know that it is actually snowing again in Michigan!! What a great spring so far(sarcasm). I looked at google earth and saw that Sefwi Bekwai to Accra is nothing conmpared to the size of Africa. Now I know how big Africa is! Was red-red better than any food in America or other countries? How was the tour through the Bauxite Mine? Was it fun in any way, because I think a mine tour would be fun.

  14. It sounds like your having a fun time in Ghana. The foods there sounds strange, but I’m sure they taste good. I watched the video and it looks like your having fun! I hope the thunderstorms clear up over there. Oh, and can you tell us who won the battle you were showing us in the video?

  15. Hi Mr. Jackson! I really liked the video of you and the kids sword fighting, they looked like they were having fun. I dont know if i would eat the red-red but it seems interesting. Today, it snowed pretty hard and it is 21 degrees. Pretty cold. PLEASE TAKE A SELFIE IN GHANA! If they dont know what it is, you should show them!
    – Olivia

  16. Hello Teacher, well the roads in Ghana seem very un-safe. Are all roads there like that? The food in Ghana sounds goody, yet different. Today it started snowing again so consider yourself lucky for the warm weather.

  17. Hi again Mr. Jackson! I loved the video you showed of the stick fighting. But I noticed how everything is so green and beautiful over there. Also, that part specifically look like a wealthier part of Ghana, is that true? I say that because of the buildings in the background and the machine. It must be scary having the power out over there when we barely have power outages here. The kids in that video looked like they were having so much with you, and I’m glad that even if they don’t have the best life they can still make the best of things. That food sounds…interesting, but kinda in a good way if you get my meaning. Have you seen any landscaping that has blown you away yet? That’s all for now, bye!

  18. Have you tried kelewele yet? (Not sure if I spelled that right. I only know the sound, not the spelling.) I think that was one of my favorite things to eat. I agree – not sure why plantains aren’t as big in the U.S. Maybe we should start a movement?

    How is Sefwi Bekwai different from Accra? How do Ghanaian student view education? In what ways is it different/similar to American students?

  19. That is cool that they find it exciting that they think seeing a white man is such a big deal. I guess power outages and using Ipads are universal! How bad are the roads they sound really bad but are they Michigan bad? “Red Red” sounds so good and strange you would never find plantains with spicy sauce hear. How many kids were there in the sword fight just the two or more? By the way you do look like a ninja. Fufu does sound bad, like really bad. Also how different was Sefwi Bekwai than Accra.

  20. You look like you are having so much fun. You have pretty nice swordsmanship. I have actually had plantains and my mom loves them. Me, not so much.

  21. Wow! That seems like a bad storm, over here it started snowing again… A coca farm sounds really fun. What was it like to eat with Ghanians? Did they do anything diffrent?

  22. Mr. Jackson,
    I am sorry for the unfortunate weather, did it force you to postpone other plans? Also, I noticed in your last post that the school didn’t have windows. Does that mean that after a storm, the school is soaked? If so, what do they ado about it? Would the kids still have school? Also, I think it’s interesting how they didn’t comprehend what you were attempting to do. Most boys here that find sticks automatically think “BASEBALL!”. I am assuming they are not provided the technology to get Ipads.What did they think about them?
    Thanks for your time,

  23. Hi, how are you? Things are O.K. here, could be better. You should bring in red red when you get back. Mr. Jackson the worst thing with the weather is happening here it’s SNOWING :(! The snow stop when you left and been melting ever since, but now it’s snowing. I wish we could have the thunder storm that you have. I love rain.

    I think that it’s mean that they called you Obrooney or white man.

    see you in 5 days!!!

  24. I thought very highly on how you had filmed if you were living like them. Is the FuFu good? Could you bring us some back

  25. It is very interesting that Ghanians have terms for white people. It is a funny coincidence that the name they have for white people, Obroony, happens to rhyme with your look-alike, Rooney. Africa seems like a very small continent, but when you think of the distance in time, it makes Africa seem HUGE! It is very interesting that you got a tour of the mine. I would love to do that. Also, I would love a cocoa farm. My mouth waters just thinking about it. How was the cocoa farm? How do Ghanians think of Americans? Do you like your Ghanian family? I can’t wait to see you!

  26. 3-15-14
    I didn’t know they had many paved roads there. Were all the animals on the road owned by someone that doesn’t care if their animals are run over or were they just wild? Do big storms usually happen in Ghana or is that storm completely surprising? It sounds like they have some good foods in Ghana. Did the kids do good at the stick fighting? Have they ever seen an Ipad before? would that make them go crazy? I can’t believe they would eat Fufu. It does not sound good.

  27. Hi,
    I hope you are having the time of your life. The kids in the video looked like they were have a lot of fun. I am thinking that they have never played baseball before.

    What did red-red taste like?

  28. Hey Mr. Jackson,

    The food in Ghana sounds good, especially the red-red. I’m glad to hear that people don’t think you’re Rooney anymore. How long did that thunder storm last? When there was no power what did you do and how were you typing this post? I hope you are having a good time in Ghana! Can’t wait to see the next post.

  29. 3/25/14
    Red-red sounds really interesting! (Love the name) Things in Ghana sound quite different then from what things are like here. That would be scary to have only one small source of light well there is a raging storm pelting at your window. Yikes. How do hotels in Ghana compare to hotels in America? Obviously they are probably not as big or expensive like the ones we have here. Another question: Do you miss American French fries and or burgers? I remember going to Korea for two weeks and right when my sister and I smelled butter from the pretzel store we immediately dashed to the source of that amazing smell. Also, have you seen any exotic animals in Ghana?

  30. Hiya Mr. Jackson,
    Hows your stay so far? Is this the first power out you had while you are there? So, with your “Red Red” was it like a meat and beans soup without broth or did it not have meat at all? But just Curious but after all the “Red Red” sounds really good. πŸ™‚ What is groundnut soup? I know what a rice ball is. Are you enjoying your stay how good are the house are they medium size or just small it would be really cool to go on a tour of the house if i went to Ghana you should try it sometimes, most times i think i talk to much but this time i am talking for a good reason. Talk to ya though the screen bye! πŸ™‚

  31. Hi Mr. Jackson! It is kind of scary that the power went out. Can you estimate how many power outs you had there? There probably was a lot. It looked so hot there and YOU WERE IN SHORTS! Your so lucky, I wish I could be there. That’s cool that your trying new foods. I love trying new things. Are you enjoying their food there or do you miss our food? I hope your having a good time! See you :D!

  32. Hi Mr. Jackson! I’m glad that you are having fun! You seem to be trying new things left and right! You said people mainly know that you are not Rooney…have some people mistaken you for him? I think that based on your description, I wouldn’t like Fufu! You never know though! πŸ™‚ I was wondering, are you going to teach a class in Africa, or are you just going to watch teachers teach, walk the school, or what are you going to do? And, if you are teaching, is Rebecca also teaching with you, or seperately? Or is she just like your guide? Are you having trouble learning a little bit of the language? I don’t pick up on languages easily! πŸ™‚ I hope to hear back from you soon! Good luck with the weather fairy!

  33. 3/25/14
    Mr. Jackson,
    it sounds like you are having a lot of fun in Ghana. It sounds like you love the food there. To me, the food doesn’t sound very good. Do you like the food in Ghana more or less that the food in America?
    I heard you had a lot of fun playing with the kids who were hiding behind the bushes. It sounds like the kids had a lot of fun having a stick sword fight. Were the kids better when they realized that you were nice?
    Lydia Rolf

  34. Hey Mr.J hows the weather like over there, I bet its better than over here because it snowed today , and I was so angry. But anyway where did you learn to fight like that, you were pretty good except for the part when you were running away πŸ˜‰ The book Iqbal that we are reading is pretty interesting, have you read is? so talk to you later and keep practicing on your sword fighting we might be able to fight one day πŸ™‚

  35. Hi Mr. Jackson!
    First, I want to say that I hope that you are the time of your life, and learning so much!
    Its hard to believe that those kids had just met you and your traveling partner. It looked like they had known you forever. Its also really hard to believe that at first they were watching you, running away from you, then playing with you like they’ve known you forever. One more thing….it snowed AGAIN! I thought that it was supposed to be spring……

  36. Hello Mr. Jackson!
    I hope you are having a great time? I have never try kelewee but it sounds good. Sefwi is a very small village while Accra is a big city.
    We just had a good talk about safety and bad words in rec, while lunch. So, do kids say bad words and are they safe?
    It was so cute to see the little boy having fun like that. I can compare that when I did not have a phone in France I was always playing with my older sister all the time while now I am just simple always on any kind of electronics.

  37. Mr. Jackson,
    It sounds like the Ghanian food is good. Would you say that the food in Ghana is better than the food here in America?
    It looks like the weather is nice there. Mean while, there is a blizzard going on and off here and it’s freezing!
    Have you made a lot of friends in Ghana? It looks like the kid in the video is having a lot of fun with you.
    Are the people in Ghana used to the weather being like that? That weather does sound pretty bad. It must have been weird to see sheep in the middle of the road. It sounds like your having a lot of fun in Ghana!
    Is the time different there in Ghana??

  38. Hey Mr J how are you doing I bet you are doing good. I’m just joking. How is it like to play with those kids were you guys actually hitting each other.

    Did you guys play any other games like tag or hide go seek. I thought that America against Ghana sword fight was funny.

  39. Hi Mr. Jackson. How is your trip? Who won that sword fight the American or Ghana? What kind of food do they have there is good tasting. Is Ghana your favorite country you visit. What hotel are you staying at.

  40. Hi,
    Fufu seems gross. I wouldn’t like it because it’s very thick, starchy, and filling. How bad is the storm? Compared to a storm here? They probably not used to it because it’s warm there. I would think that they would be nice and they are.

    Hope your having fun. See you soon!

  41. Hey Mr.J how was the Thunder Storm? Did you enjoy playing stick fight, or did you get hurt like the person said in the video. Was the Red Red sauce really spicy or mildly spicy, or possibly not spicy at all? Do plantains taste a lot different than bananas? Is the WiFi in Ghana good or was it a pretty poor signal? Have you seen any Jungles or Lions!? How is the food quality there, is the food cleaned and washed or dirty with dust and dirt? Have you done any activities like sightseeing? Is there anywhere you would like to go but haven’t gotten to go to yet? What kind of Insects and animals do you normally see around the schools and on your way to and from the schools? What didn’t you like about the FuFu besides it being starchy, was it the ingredients or the overall taste.

    Being Cool Mr. Money In The BANK$

  42. Hi Mr.Jackson,

    I hope you are having fun at Ghana. Now that you have done kelewee do you like it. Have you ever try sword fighting before. Did you like it when the kid beat you at kelewee? Do u think yo would take lessons on Hi Mr.Jackson,

    I hope you are having fun at Ghana. Now that you have done kelewee do you like it. Have you ever try sword fighting before. Did you like it when the kid beat you at kelewee? Have a good day at Ghana

  43. Hi Mr.Jackson! I liked how you taught the kids to stick fight. I also like how the kid was laughing in the video. It proves how the people in Ghana are always so happy. I hope the weather gets better. Than you might get better WiFi and light. It’s crazy how having little power is normal for people in Africa. Though they don’t have as much technology as we do her. Have fun!

  44. Wow! Thats sounds fun, I want to sword fight with sticks! Are the schools there in good condition? Also at that cocoa farm do they make chocolate? It also seems like the kids there are really nice once you get to meet them!

  45. Hello Mr.Jackson how is Ghana?
    Is the storm over yet in Ghana?
    Are Ghana’s foods better than Americas? and is the food restaurants that serve American food?
    Well I cant think of anything else to say so

  46. You look like you’re having fun! I like to play stick fights with my little brothers too sometimes! But I do think it’s kind of strange how Ghanians call white people “Obrooneys.” But I guess that calling people that in Ghana is better than what they do here!!

    Have a nice time!!!

  47. Hey Mr. Jackson! Wasupppppp! πŸ˜‰ I can tell that Ghana is fun for you. Is the place that your staying at in good condition?? Do you get sad when you see all of these with poor houses and not so wealthy family’s? I know that I would be sad seeing them like that! πŸ™ I looked on Google earth from Sefwi Bekwai to Accra. Its a long ways! Its really freaking crazy that people from derby are looking at your blog. True respect and true support! Peace!

  48. Wow, you truly are a master of the blade. The Ghanian kids seemed to be in charge of the fight though. Is red-red similar in taste to anything we have back here? It’s so cool that you got to see aluminum being produced. Did you see any wildlife that you would only see in zoos over here? It must have been very unlucky for the power to go out just as you were posting. How is the power produced? Is there anything that you have done that they think is odd?

  49. Hey Mr. Jackson Hope your having fun in Ghana we all miss you!! πŸ™‚ is it weird when they call you Obrooney? Was is scarey when the two giant trucks flipped on their side from the uneven pavement, and games of chicken with oncoming traffic? I bet it was… I would be scared!!! :/ The food called Red-Red which is plantains with beans and a spicy sauce that sounds really good I would eat it. That is funny that Alex nickname is 7-Up because we have a drink like that and that’s cool hes like a drink πŸ˜€ lol.Was it when you saw the kids hiding in the bushes staring at you It sounds like they were scared because they haven’t been around white people a lot before :/ and when you talked to them the got even more scared because they probably felt like there in danger… but we all know your not gonna hurt anyone πŸ˜€ Well cant wait to cya when you get back so bye for know cya soon Mr. J bye

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