#Flashback Being a Black American - Fourth of July in Ghana

Originally Posted July 3, 2011

This was in continuation with documenting my journey to my first time on the continent of Africa.

Happy 4th of July to you!

Today our Operation Crossroads Africa group had a feast in celebration of the Fourth of July. We cooked lots of American food and invited almost everyone we’ve met and are comfortable with. Me, I didn’t care too much for the holiday, but I helped cook, ate, observed, and played with the children!

It was actually more fun than I thought! I met two new people that I personally get along with and relate to and got to know two others a bit better; we knew them from the school where we volunteer. There were about 20 or so people that ate with us, including the 9 of us in our group. But there were a few less than that stayed after to play the game of charades. We made fried fish, fried chicken, corn, french fries, and onion rings; a very American dish. And the Ghanaians loved it! Then we found ourselves singing America the Beautiful and teaching the Ghanaians the song.

Today, on our way to the internet cafe, my group leader and I were talking about how much “love” African Americans get here in Ghana.

It’s unfortunate that this is what this world has become. The Ghanaians are more fascinated with the west civilization's popular trend with blonde hair, blue eyes, and white skin, and pay no mind to or have dirty looks toward people of their skin color or lighter. In the words of my leader, “Black women cannot get love in Africa!” So much for being one family….

We went to visit Elmina, which was considered the young town, where the young people are, mainly to attend the Elmina festival, but we misunderstood the time and ended up missing it, so we just visited the Elmina/St. George Castle, a slave castle. As I was staring out into the ocean, I was wondering to myself, "What were they thinking?", seeing this beautiful water, and being in such a scary, unknown place with such torturous conditions not knowing what the future had in store.

We also experienced our first Ghana thunderstorm. It is NOTHING like the rain in the U.S. but ALMOST like the rain in South Florida. Two of us were awoken in the middle of the night by it. She thought the house was coming down! I thought it was going to blow away! Haha! It is interesting because it can storm for about 10 minutes and then stop, and about 10 minutes later, the road is dried up like it never rained. 
The clouds were dark all afternoon, so we didn’t know when it was going to rain. But a few minutes before it did, the doors were open in the house so we can get some fresh breeze. Out of nowhere, this small trash bag entered through one door and swept across the room to exit through the other door…it was weird because it moved like it was a human. Immediately after that it was very strong wind before heavy rain, so strong that once we stepped outside, we could almost blow away. There was a steel metal item above the roof that flew to the ground. Luckily it didn't hit anyone. But I think that rain is harder the closer you are to the equator. Because if you think about where South Florida and Ghana are on the map, they are both close to the equator and they happen to have very heavy rain storms.

We’ve also experienced our first power outage in the house.  It was fun to bring out my flashlight...for five minutes though, haha. 

I notice how different T.V. is here than in the US. I can sincerely say, T.V. programs in the U.S. are a lot more “professional” than here as far as the quality of the show, the acting, the storyline and moral behind the movie or show. Well, with me being a movie lover, I had to throw my critique and observation in there.

Our host family is friendly, and the children are fun to play with, but there are just too many of them, haha. I don’t even know who is an actual family member living with us because they come and go like one big family. We’re starting to feel a little crowded with 9 of us on one place every single day. That was an expected challenge of the Crossroads experience. This is also giving me an outlook on how it would be living in a dorm or with siblings since I’ve never lived in a dorm or shared a room with lots of siblings before. Having our usual nighttime group meetings, helped to bring us closer together. My group is great at communicating their feelings!

Today was the first day that we split up to do work with different organizations. Things are very slow around here; they are not fast moving; people are on their own time (GMT=Ghana Maybe Time). We haven’t physically done what is considered real volunteer work yet. So far, I have just volunteered teaching at a school that is otherwise known as a volunteer school, because every week, a different number of American volunteers come through and play teacher for a day or two. So the children are used to having other teachers in the school. I’m not sure how I would like that if I were a student in this school. I want to get to know one teacher. I want one or two teachers to know my name, personality, learning style and needs. The education system here is so different…but it is teaching me so much about the culture and lifestyle. 5 more weeks to go!