Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Normal Ghanaian Occurrences: Old Draft I Just Found

Normal Ghanaian Occurrences:

-Grass is "mowed" with a machete, sometimes this means a couple acres
-Hitchhiking is OK, I get free rides almost everywhere (i think being white helps) and i feel safer here most of the time than i do in the USA
-Utinsils are non-existant. normal dishes are usually a ball of starch in some soup. youd think there'd be napkins but those are also somehow absent
-You don't carry anything in your hands, only on your head and only babies on the back (women just use 2 yds of fabric and tie them on there) this is what makes me majorly stick out as a foreigner (aside from being bright white)- carrying a backpack
-having electricity for more than 3 hours straight is a pleasnt surprise
-it is the visitor's job to introduce themselves to the host
-using the same bucket to wash your clothes, take a bath, do your dishes and for setting out to collect water if its raining
-seeing pygmy goats, chickens, sheep(which look like gross nubian goats) and scurrying lizards (which are apparently evil and scary and their tails fall off when you are trying to kill the small ones running up the walls in your house)
-names of stores are generally something along the lines of "Jesus is King Electronics" or "His Everlasting Love Hairstyles" or "Heavenly Gifts Petrol"
America is almost equal to heaven in Ghanaian's eyes youll see stores called "New York Bikes" (the bikes are not from NY) or "Americal is Wonderful Fashions"
-no transportation has a schedule, you just wait for the tro to fill up, could be 5 min or 3 hours
-people go out of their way to help you and often will just take you to the place you are inquiring (asking is essential because there are not names for most roads)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

OBAMA in Ghana

I touched Barack Obama.
We shook hands.
He looked at me.
He said, "Kari Ann Benge, You are doing a great job."
Thats a lie.
He didn't insert my name.

But, he DID tell me I was doing a great job! :)

Then I shook Michelle Obama's hand.
And she said, "I hope you're ready, you're next!"

I wasn't able to utter a single word back to either of them.
The cat had my tongue.
This is what went on in my head- Obama is right in front of me, holyshit. Obama is shaking my hand, holyshit. Obama is looking right at me and smiling, holyshit. Obama just told me I'm doing a great job, holyshit. I just touched Barack Obama, holyshit. Michelle Obama is coming next, holyshit. She's squeezing my hand like we're good friends, holyshit. She's grinning and telling me I'm next, holyshit. What does that mean, I'm next? I just shook hands with Barack and Michelle Obama, holyshit. That was Barack Obama. He was here. I not only got to see him, he talked about how amazing Ghana is, and I shook his hand. Holyshit. Holyshit. Holyshit.

After months of nothing, we got the heads up on Thursday that everyone was invited to the departure ceremony for the Obama's at the Accra airport. I piled in with all the PCTrainees Sunday morning and bumped on down to Accra. By 2 we met up with all the other PCVs in Ghana at the US Embassy, got a nifty VIP ticket and were loaded into a bunch of stc buses that had special clearence to go to the airport (all the roads within a 3 mile radius of the airport were closed.) We were ushered past hundreds of police, military, and secret service and deposited in a little fenced in area directly in front of a podium on the main runway.
Luckily I was one of the first 15 people to enter this corral. So I walked over to the fence directly in front of the podium. And didn't move for 5 hours.
Totally worth it.
Obama gave an amazing speech.
And I got to touch him.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mango Thoughts

April brought mango season. Immense umbrellas of foilage groan heavily with ripe, yellow and green fruit swinging on vines in the breeze. I am always reminded of free swinging testicles bursting with juice. I can't help but chuckle as children emerge with long poles and take swings at these pinatas. One almost feels bad for the tree- his reproductive parts being prime targets for stick weilding boys and girls.
But once you get a taste of fresh mango juice all the feelings of concern for the tree vaporize.The secret that westerners don't know is that the sweetest mangos- the local ones, small and yellow aren't to be eater. They are to be sipped. You squeeze and suck all the syrup leaving behind the skin, pulp and pith. But noone explained this to me. I had to figure out my method of consumption by trial and error.
The local mango should come with a manual. As a westerner, when I see a ripe fruit, my saliva starts flowing at the thought of that first juicy bite. Apples, pears, peaches, plums. Even tomatoes. In the summers I used to sneak tomatoes from the neighbor's- I'd sit in the garden under the shade of the vines and bite right into the tomato's flesh like an apple- Juice and seeds running down my cheeks and overalls. Pure tomatoey heaven. But mangos... I was totally unprepared.
My first experience was full of promise- a whole bucket for the two of us to split. We washed off the dirt and stickyness and piled them into a mango pyramid. A particular one caught my eye- it was especially plump and had a nice even color. With squinched eyes and gaping mouth, I dove in, sending juice squirting to the four corners of the earth. Then, slowly my eyes opened, I fell from heaven and landed teeth first in a jungle of strong, stringy mango fibers. Every crevice of my teeth was packed full of mango floss, turning my mouth into a malady of tooth rearranging fur. Never bite into the local mangos! Since that first bite I have slowly perfected my no-teeth juice extraction technique.