It became a familiar start to my day to hear the mosques around Kumasi raise their sounds of praise at sunrise. To some it was an unwelcome wake up call, but for me it has become an easy thing to miss. On the weeks when the ministers were with us at the guesthouse, I would wake up to different songs of worship. The songs echoing from the conference room were just as unfamiliar as those coming from the mosques.
In my hometown, we are known for having “the most steeples per capita.” We like to say that there’s a church on every corner, and for the most part, we aren’t wrong. But even on Sunday mornings, the most noise you hear from the street corners are the bells. Both the mosques and the ministers provided a different way for me to understand the place of religious practices in Ghana. It makes me wonder if there are more things “to be heard” in Macon that have just become easy for me to miss.
My last week in Kumasi has been a consistent wave of emotions. One moment I’m excited to be home with my family or walking the streets of downtown and the next I can’t imagine leaving in only days… What I do know is that I want to see how my view of Macon will change after my time in Ghana. The change may come from differences in the culture, pace, or comfort I find in my hometown. Yet, I am hoping that my critical lens has adjusted enough on this trip so that I can understand the similarities I see in my town as well.
One time at a community cookout back home, a man was standing at the front of the line talking to everyone as they got their plates. When I got to him he told me, “be good to your parents and you’ll be blessed and highly favored.” Moments like these aren’t hard to come by in Macon, but his entrancing personality made it memorable. Our artistic director at the cultural center had an equally attractive personality and he introduced himself as “highly blessed and handsome.” It was a small moment, but a familiar interaction. Although I probably handled both situations with a similar polite smile, it made me wonder how many other experiences I have had here that mirror those I’ve had back home and what the difference in my reactions look like.
In Macon, I may still hear people calling across the street to grab my attention but I will most likely understand the language. In Kumasi, I’ve been very attune to things I don’t think of as noticeable. Possibly because I have been overwhelmed with senses while I walk down the street or because the conference room where the ministers chose to sing is only a few feet away… but I’ve come to appreciate how Ghana grabs my attention and I hope I can allot my home town the same willingness to be overwhelmed that I have here.