Browsin' Town n' Dancin' & Drummin' Performance

Trip Start Jun 21, 2012
Trip End Jul 21, 2012

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Flag of Ghana  , Volta Region,
Sunday, June 24, 2012

We went to the town in Hohoe to get cash (Ghanaian Cedi) at the bank to do some shoppin'. It's really cheap here in Ghana and ya can buy many nice things but sometimes I give them extra $$ 'cos I know they don't make much money.  They work hard by makin' things and sellin' different stuff.  There are numerous shops lined up along the road.  All the shops look very dirty n' old but inside the shops they are pretty clean, as the pictures are shown.  And the sellers don't give me pressure to buy their stuff as I thought.  I would not bargain for less.

I was told Ghanaians are poor but happy.  We are accustomed to materialism and have wants.  If we don't get what we want, we get disappointed, right?  But Ghanaians don't.  They don't know the difference, so they are content w/ what they have. 

Ya can smell the smoke from the fire near the shops, homes, and in the villages.  I admit I started gettin' tired of smell it everyday.  Sometimes I get headache from it.   I asked Gerard about it.  In the U.S. we have trash removed by the city but in Ghana the trash is destroyed by the fire.  I even could smell it when I go to sleep w/ the screens covered the opened windows.

I got myself a beautiful 4 yard fabric for $10.00 Cedi ($5.15 U.S. dollars). There are many colorful fabrics to choose (I wrestled w/ my decision to choose 'cos they are too pretty).  One of the CCS workers has a friend who is a seamstress.  I asked her to make me a long summer dress, a purse, and a headband.  For her work, she charged me $20.00 Cedi for all 3 items.  I can't wait until I wear 'em.  That's all I bought on dat day.

In town I find women carryin' things on their heads intriguing and fascinating.  No wonder I took many photos of 'em.  I read somewhere dat carryin' things on their head is 'woman's purse, or bag'.  I rarely see them carry a purse in town.  I also noticed that all of children wear school uniforms.  Each of student groups have own colors representin' their school.  In the U.S. common colors are navy blue, white, khaki, and green while students wear beautiful, bright colored uniforms.  Not all students wear the uniform and I questioned about it.  I asked Mawusi about it and he said those students w/out the uniform don't go to school.  They either stay in the village, or home, to help their family and help w/ their business in town. 

Most of the Ghanaian women wear lovely colorful dresses that are mostly made by them.  I learned dat they took Home Economics class in high school and learned how to make the clothes.  There are numerous shops in Hohoe where seamstresses work.  Ya could buy fabric & give it to 'em to make something out of it for ya.  They even have a photo album filled w/ photos of finished projects for us to look at & choose.  Before I flew to Ghana, I wuz told to pack my suitcase lightly and now I see what they meant.  I cudda have done it & I'd buy the fabrics & have 'em made me some clothes.   They also have neat batik T-shirts as well as dresses and comforty pants.  The shops in Hohoe have toiletries, so ya don't have to pack all personal items from home.  Dat's sumthan' I learned and next time I go back to Ghana, I'll pack lightly for sure!

We went to watch dancin' & drummin' show. I could feel the beat from the drum...loudly!  My interpreter explained me about the purpose of the show.  One was called Bor Bor dance which is from Volta Region where I am stayin'.   I wuz impressed how they remembered all the choreography 'cos the young girls danced for a long time.  Ya might think they are topless, no.  Ghanaians think women, who wear dress or shorts above their knees, are inappropriate and rude.  Before I came here, I read the CCS handbook statin' dat we need to wear appropriate clothin' but I see some volunteers don't.  The next dance was Zigy.  It wuz to inspire the Ghanaians when they go to the war (there's no war in Ghana, alrighty?).  The dancers were men.   The last one was Aghadza dance from south Volta.  They danced like chickens for celebration or funeral.  During the Aghadza dance, they came & pulled some volunteers to join 'em.  Eventually we all danced.  Yeah, I danced like a chicken.  Definitely it was out of my comfort zone!  However, I enjoyed and laughed. At least I finally got sumthan' to exercise!

*While I'm typin' 'tis, I smell popcorn!  One of the volunteers made it for us and I have the bowl of it next to me.  Boy, I missed the popcorn! 

Before I forget to mention, ya might wonder how the Cross-Cultural Solutions volunteer program is coordinated in New York for the country of Ghana.  I have a director of the CCS volunteer program named Makafui.  I want to tell ya a bit about him.  He's from Ghana and graduated from North Dakota State University in Fargo.  His major was Management Information Systems, when I asked him about his major.  When he mentioned the university, I suddenly asked him how he liked the weather up there.  He opened his eyes widely & said, 'COLD!’.  I doubt there’s snow in Ghana.  He said he even ice-skated!  We were uproarious.  He loves America and said it's full of opportunities.  He is REALly nice n’ very helpful.  He always asks me how my days went and if I need anythin’.  I’m grateful to be under his wing.  He makes sure all volunteers are in good hands.  I can imagine how accountable his job is especially we are from other countries and to ensure we're safe.  I think he’s doin’ an excellent job.  I want to give him sumthan’ to thank him for all things he did for me.

I'm tellin' ya I'm enjoyin' every moment here.  I'm so pleased I made the right decision to come to Ghana 'cos I really knew nothin' about this developin' country & took a big risk comin' here.  I think I'm makin' my journey marked but I really want to make it MARKed when I volunteer at Volta School for the Deaf startin' next week. 

Until then...fien (good night)!

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Patricia A. Hetzer on

Hi Mary,
Missed reading an entry for today. Can't imagine how busy and exhausted you must be. Look forward to more on your blog. Any way we can see a picture of your finished outfit? Take Care.

Patricia A. Hetzer on

Hi Mary,
In case you haven't read your face book lately and don't know who I am, I'm Carla's sister. She has shared your story with me and I have been enjoying your blog.

Carla Holmes on

You write about your adventure so well that it feels as if I am with you experiencing everything you are. Thanks so much for sharing with us. You must be tired after your first week. God bless you and your friends.

claudia morton on

Your adventure is so awesome in whole week! I feel like I walk in your shoes through your insightfulness with your new experiences in Ghana every time I read your blogs.I really enjoy to read your blogs and input pictures so much. I cant wait to read your next blogs. :-)

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