What is it I really miss from home? The climate, some of the foods, my friends and family and being able to walk down the street and not wanting to capture at least 3 things on camera. Yesterday, I went to the capital with my boyfriend. Apart from one evening in an Accra restaurant this was my first visit in the capital since I came. We shared a taxi there, which took no more than 30 minutes still we ended up in a different world. We found ourselves in the hip Osu district of Accra. A place where big cars and obrunis (white people) are as common as yellow-and-blue taxis and bibinis (black people) in all other corners of Ghana. At the popular spot “Osu Food Court” I had an opportunity to choose not only between goat soup and different types of yam, but also hamburgers, pizza, coffee and cake (!) and other western/American dishes.
So what did I choose to eat? After some two weeks of local specialities I have come to really appriciate like spicy soups and stews, fish and chicken, carbohydrats in sticky balls and fruits new to me I went with…Pepperoni Pizza. Why? I don’t even eat pizza all that often in Sweden. Later that day, I had the opportunity to discuss this phenomenon with a Swedish newfound friend. We agreed that even though we came to experience new things it is just too much novelties at the same time. The heat, the smells, the early mornings, the animals running about, the new sounds, the different ways of buying a fruit/taking a taxi/shaking hands and the fact that it is impossible to blend in…all this make us inclined to once in a while look for the well-known. Even if it is a sad Pepperoni Pizza.
In the picture new friends Annie and Johnny visiting in my mother-in-law’s house.
Since my big move to Ghana, I have not only moved from being a single gal in a student room in Uppsala, Sweden to being a “sambo” with my boyfriend as of 4,5 years – no, I am now also an elder in an African household. This leaves me with a number of advantages…and of course responding responsibilities.
One of them is that I never have to do my own dishes, that is being done by a child in my household -“Abena, bra!” (- “Abena, come here!”) But in order for this system to work smoothly, I must remember to leave some of my food on the plate as a small reward for the dishwashing person. This must be the exact opposite of what parents said to kids in the Swedn of the past “think of the kids in AFRICA and finish your food”. Now I have to leave some for a kid in Tema.
Yesterday, I was watching soccer and drinking a soda, thirsty from a hot day I gulped it all up and was consequently accused of being a “bad elder” because there was nothing left for the child who came to collect the bottle…
Life is indeed a learning process.
Coming to a new place, there are always things that stand out making you reevaluate your own home. Here in Ghana, there are many such things. Today, I will tell you about one.
Ghanaian women. They are really beautiful and they come in all sizes, I mean ALL sizes, there are the extremely thin ones, the medium sized, the short, the tall – but above all, the voluminous women. They are many, they are everywhere. It is clear they are viewed as very good looking. They sport their selves in nice curve-hugging outfits and do not seem at all self conscious about being too big. In music videos when girls come by the cool rappers’ house, yes, they are all plus sized.
This makes the think of my own country. How has it affected me to constantly be confronted with the message of “thin is beautiful”? In an article on Ghanaweb.com today, the story of how Ghanaian models wanting to make it abroad are turned down because of being “fat” was featured. Is this how we want it?
Since I came here, I have not once held my breath to look thinner. I have not stood on a scale. And I am telling you it feels good.
In the picture Akosia and her baby girl dressed in Swedish colors.
Few things make your feel of identity shake as much as when I child begin to cry from the mere sight of you. This happened to me here in Tema, Ghana he other day. I had been out all day expanding my horizons and testing my own limits (can I eat this? do I dare to go in here? Can I find my way home from here?) As I step in to the house that is now my zone of comfort and where my mother-in-law resides as well as the place were I take in breakfast (coffe, bread and fruits) and often dinner, an old friend is there to greet me. Her daughter who as only a baby last time I was in Ghana is running around with her cousin. UNTIL…SHE SEES ME…HER EYES WIDEN..HER MOUTH OPENS…BIG TEARS FALL DOWN HER CHEEKS. At first she is very quiet but then
We all laugh. But the child cannot be comforted. I try and talk to her. Her mother reassures I’m not dangerous. She can sit in her grandmothers lap. Still shaking from upset she now and then dares to take a peek at me.
Who is this fair creature with strange hair and a funny sounding language? What do my mother really know of her intentions?
Historically, the girl is indeed right to cry. What has the white person’s missions in Black Africa been?
By the end of the visit, the small girl has stopped crying, but still makes sure she is at all times at a security distance from myself. Her mother ties the child to her back and we follow them out – in Ghana every visitor is followed out, crying or not – but after a few steps mother and child return.
The mother explains:
– She said she wants to hug Obroni (white person). I am quite surprised by the flip side to the situation. However, as i hug the little girl on her mother’s back she starts crying again.