I can’t say that my time here (so far) flew by, but when did it become the last week of January already?! This is crazy. Those of you back at school might not feel the same way because the crisp, cold days probably serve as a harsh reminder of which month it is. But on the bright side, look at all that snow!
If I have to choose one theme to describe this week, it would be what we call “Ghana time”. Other people who have been to small town Africa likely understand what that means, but for those of you who haven’t- it means life here can be very VERY slow. This week was a good reminder of where I am.
I think you know you’ve largely adapted to a place when you stop doing the things you originally planned on doing, and start doing the things locals do. For example, Ghanians aren’t keen on travelling. While they have likely seen some of what Ghana has to offer, they feel no need to visit places multiple times. Travelling to Lake Bosumtwi last weekend helped us understand Ghanians more deeply- turns out spending five hours in a cramped van on an unpaved road isn’t so much fun! Our destination was Lake Point Guest House, located just across the street from Lake Bosumtwi, and compared to some other parts of Ghana- it was amazing! The area was peaceful, quiet and remote. Very remote. So remote that it was nearly impossible to find.
The seven of us that went truly had a lovely time. We went horseback riding, hiking, and spent time laying in the sun by the lake. At the guest house we met other Obronis (white people) from Finland, Lithuania and the UK, and had a lovely time sharing our experiences in Ghana with each other. Some of the women even tried a local shot (or three), made from palm wine, and danced the night away to an old Abba and Michael Bolton mix CD. When we finally arrived back in Mamfe, we collectively felt that we had done enough travelling for a while and decided to “take it easy” on the coming weekends, in true Ghanian fashion.
My week at work also ran on Ghanian time, and left me feeling rather restless on days where there wasn’t much to do. My project supervisor was sick the entire week, and it was largely up to me to find work. While Projects Abroad by no means expected me to do more than usual, I found myself desperate for structure and tasks and something use up time during the day. Anyone that knows me knows I am a slow reader, so the fact that I read almost an entire book this week made me long for something “productive” to do (I’ve had so much free time that I’m considering “getting ahead” for my upcoming semester [that has never happened before in my life]). It’s times like this when I see just how much “being busy” is engrained in our western culture.
Despite the lag and my being restless, Friday is already here! It’s amazing. I’ve spent a lot of this week thinking about time, and deciding how I feel about being half-way done with my adventure here in Ghana. I feel both happy and sad, ready to go and also like I’m just getting started. I think I’m starting to understand what Nyame said to me on the first night I arrived in Ghana, about how people fall in love with this place. In the words of my Dutch volunteer friend who just returned home this week after spending THREE MONTHS here in Ghana, “Everyone want more and more a new car life is so crazy. Everything have to be nice okay in Ghana people want also smartphone etc. But life is so much more relaxed. No stress!! Here you can feel the stress!” (His thoughts on being back in Holland, and yes he’s still learning English)
Although I can’t help but laugh at the way those words sound together, the idea behind his message is spot on! I have been frustrated time and time again here in Ghana due to some little things (see last week’s post), but life here is good. People spend time laughing, enjoying their days and enjoying being with each other. As much as I want to create social change here, I think we all could learn a lot from their pace and quality of life.