Thursday, January 9, 2014
Lindsey O'Brien: Accra, Ghana
Hundreds of people walking through the streets. Cars jam-packed bumper-to-bumper. Street vendors offering dozens of food choices and gifts. A layer of smog envelopes the air. No, this is not
York City, we're in . A bustling capital
in a country lying on the western coast of Accra,
It is the people of
Accra that make this city
so great. After meeting a student at African University College of
Communications (AUCC), Armstrong proceeded to purchase my lunch for me. In America,
the intentions of Armstrong could be taken out of context, maybe even
considered creepy. In Accra,
Armstrong is simply extending a greeting and gratitude for my visit in Ghana.
On my first day of my internship at The Daily Graphic, the largest newspaper in
print in Accra, the reporter that I
was assigned a story with purchased my lunch, as well. It is engraved in their
culture to welcome and extend hospitality to everybody that they meet.
Another common thing that a white person will experience while visiting
is the word "oburoni", flying at you left and right as you walk down
the street. In the most frequent language spoken in Accra,
Twi, oburoni means "white person". This is not a word used for malice
against those who are white, this is a greeting. As I have walked through the
streets of Accra, I here someone
calling out oburoni and I know that they are speaking to me and the people of Accra
will say hi and ask how I am. It is an
easy way for them to gain my attention so they can extend the typical Ghanaian
welcome. The children here, especially, love to call out oburoni so that they
can wave to the white people.
The most interesting thing that I think I have encountered here is the way the street vendors interact with the people. Although majority of the stereotypes about
I have learned are wrong, one common thing to see is men and women using their
heads as a typical way of transporting items. The grace that the people here
possess, being able to carry even massive items on their head, is amazing to
see. While carrying all these items on their head, the people will walk into
the busiest traffic to sell their items through car windows. While sitting in a
car you can pay for anything through your window that you would like:
pineapple, water, fish, chocolate, or even a steering wheel cover.
Spending a month in this very chaotic city could be overwhelming at times, but as you settle in and find the hidden gems of the
you come to love this coastal country of Africa.