I could feel roughly 200 eyes follow me as I walked through the roundabout, treading carefully so as not to accidentally step on the fruit of the vendors set up along the curb. I pushed past women wrapped in vibrant fabrics, balancing babies on their backs and bowls on their heads, all of whom stared at me as I passed. Enthusiastic greetings came from some, others just watched. Shouts of “Oburoni!” (roughly meaning “white person”) came from children that giggled as they followed our footsteps, men leaned out of tro tros and made kissing noises. This scene has been replayed daily since I arrived in Ghana — we have quickly realized we are a spectacle.
An almost overwhelming hospitality has greeted us. It seems like everyone I meet immediately asks me my name, my parents’ names, where I am from, if I am married, why I am not married, and so on. Sometimes there is so much hospitality that we don’t know what to do with all of it. Leslie, who scraped her leg earlier this week, tried frantically to explain to the earnest man who approached us at dinner that no, she didn’t need any ointment for her scratch, and she ESPECIALLY did not need him to rub it all over her leg for 5 minutes. She was unsuccessful in her persuasion and ended up with a thick layer of medicine on her shin, finger-painted on by this Ghanaian minister. It is no surprise that Ghanaians refers to one another as “brother” and “sister”; everyone is family, and therefore the boundaries of intimacy are crossed without second thought. It has taken some getting used to, but we are finally getting into the groove of Kumasi life and all of our new brothers and sisters.