After five long years of expressing interest in traveling to Africa, I am finally here. Words really cannot explain the joy I am experiencing right now. Even in week 2 there are still various emotions that I am experiencing.
First and foremost, I am beyond blessed to say that I’m in Kumasi, Ghana for seven weeks studying Ghanaian culture. Thus far the people I have met are some are the nicest individuals ever. They say they pride themselves on giving the best hospitality ever, and I can agree that they are great hosts. As students studying in their country they are always willing to share personal narratives and historical facts about Ghana and Ashanti culture with us. The locals want to make sure you’re comfortable, safe, and enjoying your time in Ghana. They’re also interested in getting to know our culture and various identities. I am extremely eager to continue my studies at KNUST and the Ashanti Cultural Center. So far, I have learned some of the Akan/Twi language, a dance called Adowa, and a list of terms and facts. The pride that Ghanaians have for their culture is inspiring and constantly encourages me to immerse myself in the rich culture that is being displayed.
Despite my happiness, I am also a bit overwhelmed. The social and political climate in Ghana is different from that in the states. For example, women are respected in Ghanaian culture, yet there is a very gendered nature in everyday interactions. I frequently find myself making comparisons between Ghanaian life and the life I live in the States. I can acknowledge the many overlaps in food, dress attire, and overall attitude. However, the differences in social norms, education, language, and culture both excite and scare me. I look forward to ALL that this trip will offer me personally, academically, culturally, and socially.
Here’s a link to a YouTube video if you’re interested in learning some African dances: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKstmO5oLzI. Hopefully I can learn these dances before I leave so I can have a dance battle somewhere 🙂