The Past few months…

28 Sep



It feels like I left Ghana a lifetime ago and it really makes me sad. I can already feel everything slipping away! When I returned to the states I realized how much of the language I knew because most of my thoughts were in Twi. But now just a short three month later I’ve already started to forget! And it really, really sucks.



I’ve also come to appreciate how amazing Ghana is. I knew while I was there but I have an even greater appreciation for it now. The people, the music (oooh Azonto how I miss you!), the food, my amazing family, everything! As soon as I got back I was thrown right back in. Stress, stress, and more stress. It hasn’t stopped since I returned and now that I’m applying for colleges my brain feels like it might explode. I honestly don’t know how everyone deals with it all. Going to school, applying for colleges, doing homework, and still maintaining a social life has proved to be nearly impossible! But I like to think that I’m handling it pretty well.

These past few months I haven’t really done anything too impressive, hence me not posting anything. But I want to keep my blog updated so I thought I should hurry and slip this in here.






okay, bu bye!

28 Jun

Reality is setting in

I leave my home in one day

But I return to my other home in six days

I leave behind a beautiful country, filled with friends and family

And return to my country filled with familiar friends and family

Worse part is, I don’t know how to feel, because I don’t know what I feel

I’m lost in a sea of emotions.

I mean I knew, from the beginning that this wasn’t forever, just ten months, just a temporary thing that would eventually end. But still…it hurts. I guess all good things do come to an end, even if we don’t want them to.

I’ve washed my clothes, packed my bags, eaten my last fufu, and taken all of my farewell photos. I know this is so typical of an exchange student to say, but wow, this has been an amazing year. There were so many times I almost called and said I needed to go home, so many nights that I cried myself to sleep and waking up in even a worse condition because the very thought of being here made me depressed. One of the AFS volunteers came to my house in my first two weeks here in Ghana and I just broke down crying and saying how I didn’t think I could do it anymore and he looked at me and said in the most sincere voice “Just please…be patient. You’ll be okay. Okay? I promise” and though at the time I didn’t want to accept that it would get better. It did. It got better, and better, and better and now I consider this place my home, I know I am always welcome in my family’s house with open arms.

It’s a huge roller-coaster, you have your ups, and your downs and in the end you just want to get back on the roller-coaster and do it all over again.

It definitely wouldn’t have been the same If  I didn’t have the amazing friends and family that I helped me get through this year.. so I just want to say a big Meda ase paaa! I love you guys!

And to my friends and family that I’m leaving behind, mekwaaba!

Be prepared to leave your heart in Ghana

13 Jun

I will soon be returning to the land of the free and home of the brave.

Honestly, I’m not too sure how I feel about that. I’m feeling the obvious emotions: happy, sad, anxious, excited, nervous, stressed (at the thought of feeling stressed). But  not in the same way I was before when I was leaving America and coming to Ghana. Before everything was one big adventure, I never knew what was coming next–everything was new and exotic and now…now I return to a life I’ve lived for 16 years. I’ll recognize the faces and the smells, the language, the music, the food, the stress, oh the unforgettable, unbearable stress of America. I’m returning back to familiarity. Familiarity that I was starved for just months ago. Familiarity that I thought would take a life time to get back to. Now here I am nine months later with just a mere few weeks left.

I know I’ve mentioned before how time truly does fly by as you get older but it’s absolutely crazy to think that it has been nine months. It’s like as you get older all of the clocks around you are in fast forward when all you want them to do is slow down. Now I know you’re probably like whatever you couldn’t wait to leave Ghana a few months ago. And yeah I couldn’t wait to leave but now the thought of leaving makes my stomach hurt and yes, my eyes might fill with water a bit.

I read something somewhere from someone (yes, that was detailed) about a woman who came to Ghana a few years ago and a quote she wrote has stuck with me and as I read it I thought This, is a load of crap. But now I understand, the quote said, “Be prepared to leave your heart in Ghana”. I don’t know who that person was, but wow. Dead on. I don’t think I could ever explain how this experience has changed me -for better or for worse- but I do know that, no matter how cheesy it sounds I’m saying it, I will definitely be leaving part of my heart in Ghana (strictly metaphorically).

I have learned more than I would have ever imagined, some of the small things have left the biggest impact and it truly is the small things that count. When my friend asked me why I stayed when I was having such a miserable first few months I said because I had to much pride to leave and there would be way to much disappointment not only from myself, but from my organization that gave me a full ride scholarship. Now that I looked back on it, yes those things did help me to stay but mostly the things that helped me to stay were the little things. The friendly conversation with the person sitting next to me on the tro-tro, the laughs shared with my sister as we’re cooking, the children singing happily as they watch the Oburni walk down the street, my neighbor attempting to teach me French, talking to my mom about anything and everything, the lame inside jokes with friends I’ve made from literally all over the world,  buying bread from my favorite bread seller down the street, getting lost in a market so filled with people and so huge I couldn’t find my way out, splashing around in the rain as I watched everyone flee the streets to cover from the rain, watching my sister dance Azonto, children teaching me how to play ampe, practicing Twi with the sellers on the street. The list could go on forever.

It’s the small things.


It probably doesn’t sound like much but it was those small things that kept me here, and it’s those things, among others, that have made me love Ghana and dread the thought of leaving.

But I am leaving. I’ve accepted it. So for the next two weeks I plan on savoring every last moment.

I will be going back  to my favorite place in Ghana: Takoradi in the Central Region. I personally think it’s home to the world’s friendliest people and amazing beaches. I will spend time with the friends I have made over these short months and I will relax with my family and savor the moment that my biggest stress at the time will be deciding whether I want coffee or tea.




Haters gonna hate

18 Apr

Word on the street is that I have more readers than I thought, most of which are Ghanaian…this is awkward. I guess the saying “careful what you put on the Internet” is true. But I haven’t put anything that isn’t true, in my opinion, on my blog. So those of you reading who are not my Grammie and are getting offended, too bad for you! I can put whatever I want on my blog and if you don’t like that’s your problem. Solution? Hmm…maybe stop reading it? Some may think that I put Ghana in a bad light, well, yeah. For the first solid 4 months I absolutely loathed the idea of waking up in the morning and being Ghana. That was mostly due to the people I was surrounded by. So of course when I blogged it was mostly a negative perspective. Am I sorry? Nope! A negative  perspective is better than no perspective. This is what a blog is for, well somehow. An insiders view on Ghana who has been living here for seven months. Actually wouldn’t it be worse if I lied and said Ghana was filled unicorns and happiness and then you came and found out I was a dirty liar? 

I think so.     

But now I’m as happy as a kid in a candy store, I love Ghana. That being said I think you have seen a difference in my blogging, yes? 

Okay maybe not. 

 This blog is just basically trying to say: if you think I’m making Ghana look bad to people who read my blog, that’s too bad. I won’t change what I’ve written and all of what I have said has been, once again, in my opinion, true, anyway it doesn’t matter. What’s written in written.


2 Apr

So about a month ago I dropped out of school. Now I know you’re probably thinking wtf how will you graduate? But let’s not worry about those things now- let’s just embrace where we are now…well that’s what I tell myself to keep from having a mini panic attack. All sarcasm aside, I am stressing about what I will do back in the States as far as schooling goes, but summer school along with online classes should help me to graduate on time. So now you may be wondering what I’m doing with my days, well I have been teaching at Omanjor Primary School, I teach primary three (third grade), the student’s age’s range from seven to about eleven, this is due to either starting late or being held back, my classroom has 69 students with no fans, doors, windows, and for part of the school, roof. 

The students are…let’s see searching for a word that is accurate and non-offensive, they’re interesting, ah I have a better one, different, yes that sounds nice, different. Now if you’ve been reading my blog you know where I stand on canning, well where I DID stand on canning. My very first day officially teaching my fellow Madam had a meeting so she left the class in my hands. Goodness me, they were all over the place, 69 kids in one small class room, yelling, laughing, fighting, it was pretty bad. Now I lost my cool a few times with them they just wouldn’t  sit and listen– I grabbed the cane and hit the desk a few times to look intimidating but I don’t think it worked because they just kept on chatting, some even got up and left. So now after observing for some time I’ve realized that the children seriously will not listen unless they are canned. Most of you who know me know I don’t think any child should ever be hit, and most definitely not lashed with a cane but these children, aye they won’t listen at all! Now that being said I think the Madam I teach with goes a little far, findings reasons to cane them such as they take too long to turn in their homework books or they score low on a test. My feelings on canning are so all over the place, I don’t think it should be done but if the teachers don’t cane the students won’t listen–and I’m not being dramatic it’s completely literal! Bad but affective.

Now it seems that I’ve put the children in a bad light. Don’t get me wrong their thee most respectful children I know. Their always so willing to help and never forget to greet, this afternoon I just did not want to be at school but as I was walking to my classroom one of my students came up greeted with a curtesy and “Afternoon Madam” I couldn’t help but smile, she then proceeded to take my bag and carry it to the classroom. How cute is that? 
Everyday that I enter the classroom the students rise from their seats and recite,
“Afternoon Madam, you are welcome”
 I then reply “Thank you, how are you? 
And then they respond with a total disregard of how they’re actually doing with, “we are fine, thank you and you?” 
“I’m fine, sit down”  
“Thank you Madam” 
I can’t lie, it’s nice having so much respect when you walk in a room. 
At first I was teaching English but having such a big language barrier it really wasn’t working out, my accent was just too much for them so now I’ve switched to mathematics and whatever else the Madam needs help with.
Today we learned that unfortunately one of our students of the age eleven has died of a disease that is easily treatable but deadly when not cared for. When I heard the news I was shocked and saddened. I just taught him. He was in my class on Friday and Saturday he died, dead, just like that. No one seemed to take much notice, the only thing my Madam said was “Oh that’s too bad” and when the students heard no one’s facial expression had changed, no one so much as flinched. It was as if they had heard that it would rain later, no one really cared. I also learned that a girl day in class six (sixth grade) died not too long ago. Death is just a part of everyday life, and that is exactly how Ghanaians treat it.

The dos and don’ts of Ghana (the obibini stereotypes) 

24 Mar

Before I start, just have to point out that I do know I said I would post at least once a week but it’s much easier said than done

•walk and eat
•greet from afar  
•smell your food before you eat it
•yawn without covering your mouth
•invite someone out and not pay for them
•kiss your boyfriend/girlfriend in public (unless you’re a prostitute) 
•talk about your period
•talk about sex
•tell your parents you have a boyfriend
•wear short shorts
•call children by things like “little monkey”
•forget to order people inferior to you around
•praise the devil
•like/practice witchcraft 
•move out until you’re married
•know how to swim
•acknowledge the difference between the words “he” and “she”

•yell out “OBRUNI” anytime you see a white/fair person you suspect to be a foreigner 
•have a passion for football
•attend a church or the mosque regularly 
•put at least three spoonfuls of sugar in your tea and enough milk to make it milk with tea rather than tea with milk 
•dance azonto like a boss when you learn how to stand on your own two feet
•(only if you’re in school) wake up at 3 AM to study (that’s just a euphemism, really wake up to memorize the textbook)
•(women only) know how to cook rice in AT LEAST 5 different ways using only tomatoes and onions 
•be ripped from birth 
•have an insanely thick neck and killer balance 
•drop whatever you’re doing (no matter how important) when an elder calls you
•speak at least three languages 
•ask people if they have a Facebook 2.5 seconds after meeting them, then ask them their name
•treat your house guests better than your own children  

A day in the life of Abena

1 Mar

6:15 alarm goes off
6:45 I force myself to stop hitting snooze and get out of bed
6:50 shower & dress in the world’s most unflattering and uncomfortable dress
7:15 take tea and bread with mum and dad while watching the news or listening to the radio
7:30 leave to school. Walk about a block and take two cars
7:50 arrive at school and argue with the prefects about punishing me and usually spend so much time doing this I miss the rest of the morning worship (hallelujah!)
8:00-2:45 sit and talk with Dana and Drew and a few good classmates and of course visit Don Diego in the canteen (where the best fried rice in Ghana is) and try and pick up a few words of Twi and sometimes get a free sachet of water (yess, save 5 pesewas!! (around 3 cents)). Interestingly enough I learn more talking with Don Diego in 15 minutes than I do with the teachers (well, those that show up).
2:45 catch a tro-tro home
3:30 arrive home, watch some Seize the Day (Spanish soap opera) and of course Oprah!
4:45 help sister rose make dinner 
6:00 eat dinner with mum and talk about our day
8:45 go to sleep

Obviously everyday I learn something and most days I go out with my sister and do something; visit the seamstress or go to grind up some seeds at the little seed grinding place so we make tuozafi…sounds a little lame but is actually great and my favorite part of the day. 
*fun fact, next time we go to grind up seeds I’ll get to carry the huge bowl of seeds….on my head!! It’s extremely exciting!