I Asked for Adventure by Harriet Levy

Harriet Levy is a junior at Ohio University, majoring in global studies. Harriet is currently studying abroad in Africa through the Teach in Ghana program where she is teaching English at a local school. 

(written on 28 August 2012)

I’m not sure if I will ever get used to the way time passes here in Ghana.  I know it’s only my second full day in the country but it feels like we’ve been here at least a week, though the days seem to go so quickly.  The sun sets around 7:00 so that may have something to do with it.

Today we had an assignment dauntingly named “Urban Drop-off.”  And yes, it is exactly what you are thinking.  In order to give us practice with bartering, navigating, and communicating independently, we were each given an establishment we had to find and an item to purchase for one cedi or less, and then find our way to Chapel Square.  We hopped in a taxi on campus and then drove into the city.  One by one, Kofi told us when it was our turn to get out.  Of course, I was the last to be let off.  Initially, I was absolutely dreading it.  I was certain I would get confused, have no luck communicating, and–since I am without phone–never be able to find my way and be lost in Cape Coast for all my days.  (Yeah, yeah.  I’m a little dramatic.)  I ended up loving it and being so glad we did it.  It forced me to ask for help from people who didn’t always understand every word I said and, in the end, made me more comfortable with asking permission to take photos.

Incidentally, this little lady below told me to take to take her picture.  Gladys was exciting and sassy and I am sure of this even though we each knew only a few phrases of one another’s language.

I met Gladys because I was trying to buy one cedi’s worth of cassava, and I did so from her mother.  When I asked her mother how I should prepare my newly purchased cassava, she proceeded to take it back from me so she could spend about 5 or 10 minutes doing the preparation work for me.  Again, neither of us could use verbal communication very well, but I tried to exclaim, “This is wonderful.  Thank you so much for your help.”  To which I inferred that she replied that she was glad to do it because now we were friends.  When I had trouble understanding, she clarified “friends” for me by using the sign for friend in sign language.  Proof that friendship can overcome all barriers.
After lunch, we left campus again in order to attend some of the festivals that are going on right now in Cape Coast.  This particular one was to celebrate the annual opening of the lagoon by the Chiefs for a season of fishing.
I think I’m really going to like it here.

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