Culture clash

18 Feb

So I’ve come to the conclusion that I do not blog enough so I’m going to try to do about a blog a week. Good idea? 
I thought so. Capture my year abroad and improve my writing skills.

So i’m pretty sure that I mentioned I changed host families, right? First off I’m living in a way better location, I’m not out in the middle of nowhere (okay, that’s a tad bit dramatic but it was far away from everything), now I’m in Greater Accra right by Kanshie (but I still haven’t gone to the huge market that I read has an awesome bead section) and it only takes like less than 5 minutes for me to get a tro tro from circle, (at my other place I could literally  be waiting for hours). Basically new place=awesomeness. The family itself is also amazing, I told my mum that I wanted to replace all of my American clothes with Ghanaian ones and she responded with: “oh they have quality (inexpensive) cloth in Togo that could last 30 years! When I get money we’ll go over and get some” okay mum let’s just hop over to the neighboring country to get fabric. Needless to say she’s great. But with new family comes a new house, new food, new germs. My stomach went through the same tough time adjusting to food as it did when I first arrived here in Ghana. I also got malaria, (yay malaria!!!…NBD) along with some strange gastric infection that made me feel like puking and gave me insane stomach cramps, but I got to miss school so how can I complain? Anyway, two visits to the “hospital” and 8 different types of drugs (taken three times daily) later and I’m feeling great. Except about going back to school. 

Speaking of which, I’m about to go so hard complaining. AFS says I complain too much (me? Complain, Never!)! School is, for lack of better words (sorry Nana), shit. I am more than confident that my GPA will be absolutely destroyed if they use my Ghanaian transcript in The States. Not only am I managing to scrap up a passing grade in only about two subjects, but somehow, English is not one of them. We only get about 3 to 4 teachers a week when we’re suppose to get 6 teachers a day and when they do show up we learn what I was taught my freshman and sophomore year…except English, we’re definitely learning what I was taught when I was 6 (okay, okay English is their second language but seriously? Come on!)

Thee other day the whole class had to watch, as a warning, a boy get canned several times by a teacher. Everyone in the class watched and some even laughed as my fellow classmate was lashed countless times. Everyone watched aside from myself and  Dana (the new American exchange student) for we couldn’t stomach watching. The worst part isn’t the canning (though that’s terrible), but having to sit, watch and do nothing. What type of person is just going to standby and let this happen? 
Not I. 
That’s what I thought anyway…I don’t think i’ve ever been so surprised at myself-ashamed. But I had an argument with myself, one part says “you know this isn’t okay, where are your morals? Stand up for this kid, fight the power!” but the other part says “you’re an ambassador who’s suppose to show we accept differences” where did this lead me? Sitting with my head down, my fingers in my ear and humming, trying hard to block out the sound of a hard wooden cane being drawn back. Now that I think back I feel I should have stood up and walked out, but it probably would’ve been as effective as my first option, all I could think was; You can’t do that. But here in Ghana it’s their “culture” and even the students being canned believe it to be necessary. I couldn’t help but feel sad and even upset that this was all happening in front of me and it is socially acceptable. I had a hard time keeping tears from falling and my hands from trembling. I don’t mean to bash AFS but they say “it’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just different” but this was too much, it’s not good, it is bad and it most definitely is different. 

When the teacher took notice that Dana and I was uncomfortable we tried expressing our views and opinions only to be quickly shut down and dismissed. 

People say you find yourself and all that cheesy hallmark crap when you go abroad at a young age, but it’s somehow true. I never thought i’d be one to sit and do nothing whiles someone is being canned in front of me and others sniggered. I was always certain I’d be the one to stand up, stop it, do something-anything.

But I guess I was wrong.

I know that was a dramatic ending and it would probably be best to leave it like that but I also have to mention that canning in all schools in Ghana is illegal! But then again…so is prostitution (:

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One Response to “Culture clash”

  1. Grammie February 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    I can’t believe that canning in permitted….but then again it is even harder to believe that one would have their hand cut off for stealing or woman being stoned to death because of “out of marriage sex” or “an affair” and the man goes on his marry way. I have been talking alot with 2 friends from work about Africa and it’s ways. You may remember Peter from Sudan and then Diane is from the Congo. They don’t hold anything back when they are telling me how their life was .I am so glad that I live in America. It scares me to think someone might do anything to you. What and education you are getting. I love you so much and counting the days for you to return home to us. Send a picture of your hair in braids and in the Ghana clothes I know you will look even more beautiful than you are.
    Grammie

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