Friday, June 11, 2010


Akwaaba = Welcome

Travel Time:
    2.5 hrs Detroit to Atlanta 11 hrs Atlanta to Accra Overnight stay in Accra 45 mins Accra to Kumasi

Number of anxious calls from parents in 3 days: 6

Number of mosquito bites: 0

I'm finally here in Ghana! My first few days have been filled with traveling and meetings to tie up the loose ends of my project to get it going. I've been so busy that I don't think I fully realize that I'm in Africa...Ghana...on the other side fo the Atlantic Ocean...!

Using this graph of the "Stages of Cultural Adjustment" I think I'm suspended between Stage 1 and 2: Honeymoon and Conflict/Culture Shock. Why haven't I experienced cultural shock yet? I think there have been too many signs and symbols of home here:

    1) I see this banner with a "y'all" on it as soon as I exit customs. 2) The weather is a nice humid heat: just standing outside will make you sweat 3) There are mosquitos everywhere and m new perfume of choice is "OFF" 4) Ghana is covered with familiar mango and papaya trees and there are lizards scurrying around all the time. 5) Rice makse up at least 50% of almost every meal

A few things that remind me I'm in Ghana:

    1) I am very clearly a foreigner (Obruni in Twi). I have never traveled to a palce where it has been so difficult to blend in! No degree of a tan will ever get me close to fitting in. 2) I feel so disconnected from the world: no stable internet means no e-mail, no Google Reader, no Google Buzz! Must get this resolved ASAP! 3) Everything seems to be unnecessarily complicated. For example, if the food item is listed on the menu, it's not guaranteed to be available. 4) Shower water pressure is variable. Sometimes it's perfect. Other times, it's a trickle. And as I learned last night, the electricity could also temporarily just disappear. 5) Even though the people speak English here, I have a difficult time understanding the beautifully accented Ghanaian English. It's very different from South African English, British English, and Singlish. The best way I can describe it now is that it sounds like a mix between Jamaican English and Indian English.

I'm just waiting to dip down into the "shock" phase of cultural adjustment. But with running water, flush toilets, and air conditioning in many places, maybe I'll skip it completely!

It's so great to be here! So for now, mah krow (goodbye in Twi)!

No comments:

Post a Comment