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!