Two posts in four days? Clearly i have too much time on my hands.

Kate and i have been hanging out in Ho for the weekend, we were planning on going to a small village called Aburi in the Eastern region on Saturday but we got roped into going to a wedding instead. Let me tell you a little bit about this wedding. First of all, before he left, John introduced us to a woman named Mama Suzie who runs the McCollins school in Ho that some of the other volunteers had been working at. She’s a short, stout woman with a big, loud voice. She’s extremely welcoming and even though she couldn’t remember our names she introduced us to everyone that she knew (which was everyone at the wedding) like we’d been old friends for years.

Mama Suzie lives in an apartment complex in Ho, he brother Victor came to pick us up and bring us there. When we arrived, she was wearing an elaborate  yellow African-style dress with a beautiful yellow and black headdress. Kate and I were clearly very under dressed in our cotton skirts and Teva sandals. Nonetheless, she greeted us with open arms and fed us an eclectic breakfast of jolof rice (sort of a spicy, mexican-style rice), a hard-boiled egg, peas and carrots, and a piece of fried chicken. Then she took us to the church. It’s fairly ironic that she took Kate and I to an offensively large and religious Christian church because Kate and i too of the least religious people you will ever meet. This wedding solidified my disdain for organized religion.

God was everywhere in that church. I mean even more so than any other church. The ceremony lasted a grueling three hours. I dont know if i would have felt differently if i were raised with any certain type of religious background, but be it a bunch of Africans or yevues loudly praising the lord jesus christ, it just doesn’t sit well with me. I spent a majority of the time trying to avoid looking at the man in a white robe standing before me preaching the sins of homosexuality (a sin my ass) during a WEDDING. A time to celebrate love and they make it an opportunity to equate homosexuality with bestiality. I had to bite my tongue throughout the entire ceremony. I’ve never quite had a church experience so repulsive before, but i suppose if i’m going to have it it should be in Ghana, no?

I don’t have many qualms while being here, but i will mention one that irks me the wrong way. The inferiority of women that i see so naturally applied to the culture. During the ceremony the minister (or pastor, reverend, or priest – i couldn’t even tell you the difference between them) looked to the bride and asked: “Do you allow a piece of yourself to die for your husband in the name of this marriage?” First of all, are you really using marriage as a comparison to death? Second of all, it took every fiber of my being to not stand up and proclaim, “If you’re asking that absurd question of the bride, you better turn to the man sitting next to her and ask that very same thing.” I waited, but no such question was asked of the groom. Not.cool.with.me. But it’s not my culture, so i can only simply observe and report back to you. Alright, i’m done venting and will tell you about some cool stuff now.

Before John left, he also introduced us to an artist named Yao who has his own African Culture Shop in Ho. Yao is awesome. First of all, he’s a Rastafarian, second of all, he’s an amazing talented artist. Kate and i have bought way too much from his shop already. THIRD of all, we’ve been hanging out with him and he is unlike anyone else i have ever met in my life. Sometimes i seriously question whether or not he is a real person or a fictional hallucinatory character from my imagination. He’s real though, i assure you. On friday night we went to his house to hang out for a bit since we really have nothing else to do in Ho and the ipod speakers we found in the house just shit the bed on us.

Anywho, i will try my best to describe Yao to you until i get home and can show you the pictures of him and his incredible house. He truly is an artist in every sense of the word. He lives, breathes and exudes art. He makes jewelry, masks, paints, makes any type of instrument, and he built his entire house himself from the ground up. Walking into his house is like walking into a museum. It’s built out of cement and plaster, but the walls are painted with African murals  and pottery is embedded into his stairs and roof deck. His work hangs everywhere, clothing and tapestries, masks and jewelry. He’s house could double as another shop. The roof deck is a whole other story. It took him seven years to built his roof deck and it is so worth it. It’s made out of cement columns and bamboo, with a roof of dried palm leaves. He has a homemade hammock and a table that sits in the middle with beads and jewelry making tools. He’s pretty badass. Our first time there he took out a papaya and orange that he grew in his backyard and starting cutting it for us to eat. Yesterday we went back to hang out and we met his three pet alligators. Yup, he has pet alligators. Four if you count the one that he skinned, dried, and painted and hangs on his wall as a surprisingly interesting piece of art. For the rest of the night he fed us and chatted while we drank coke out of a glass bottle and made jewelry with him. I made some pretty sweet bracelets for a couple people and one for myself 🙂 Pretty much Yao is my favorite part of Ghana – is that bad to say? He’s also making me a drum and a moracca to bring back, i’m totally gonna start jammin.

Finally, yesterday Kate and I made it to Aburi to check out the Botannical Gardens. They’re about a 4.5 hour tro tro ride from Ho but they were absolutely beautiful. We saw some interesting trees and flowers and that sort of thing. It was a nice day trip to walk around and see some nature after being in Ho for a while.

Now i will leave you a list of interesting facts/ironies that i bet you didn’t know about Ghana until just now:

1. The day of the week that you were born on is very important. Many times people are named after the day of the week. Yao is named after Thursday for the day he was born. I was born on a Monday so many of the guys in Deme call me Ajua.

2. People carry EVERYTHING on their heads. Food, bags, clothing, crates of eggs, luggage, buckets of water. You name it, it’s on their head.

3. They use brooms made out of palm branches tied together and often i see them sweeping the ground outside of the shops. The ironic part is that the ground is made out of dirt so they’re just sweeping dirt off of dirt. Makes me smile.

4. God literally is everyone. The two main religions in Ghana are Christianity and Islam and most of the shops are named after god in some way or another, even if it makes no sense as a name.

5. There is no cheese anywhere, but this new restaurant called KCS just opened up. It’s sort of a like a piece of fast-food America in Ho and has hamburgers WITH CHEESE. And delicious french fries.

6. When i say “fast-food” place, I really mean that it takes way longer to make than any street food you can buy. It’s pretty contradictory to what fast-food is in the states.

7. Most houses are made out of cement and what i think looks like hardened wet sand. Some have the dried palm leaves for roofs, some of tin roofing sheets. In Ho, we have electricity and running water which is awesome. In Deme, we have electricity and no running water so we take bucket showers.

Alright, i had more but my mental list has escaped me. Until next time 🙂

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