During the first week in January I was joined by three of my good friends from home who came to visit me before the Ghana schools started again. We took a trip to the northern part of of the country where we saw elephants, baboons, and other animals in the beautiful Mole Park. We also visited two local villages: Mongori, where the chief allowed us to take pictures from his roof, and Larabanga, which has a beautiful mud-stick mosque. It is the dry, Harmattan season here so the dust in the air leaves a permanent haze everywhere.
Having my friends visit also provided perspective on how much I have changed since arriving here. Women carrying huge loads on their heads and babies on their backs is a normal, everyday occurrence, as are the goats and chickens in the middle of the roads, but my friends were giddy over every sighting like I once was. When driving in Kumasi one day, our side of the road was blocked so our driver began driving on the other side into oncoming traffic. Again, it was something I have become accustomed to, but our driver caught onto their worried looks in the back seat and simply said, “Tell them is Africa!” I also realized that I have adopted different intonations and word choices when speaking to Ghanaians. For instance, contractions are not commonly used here, so I say things like “I am fine” instead of “I’m fine.” A few people here have told me that they understand me better than other obrunis, but I think I owe that more to the popularity of American movies and familiarity with my accent more than anything I am saying!
See my online album for more pictures from Mole park and the rural north.