This week I was able to find an internet cafe in Koforidua that has air conditioning and sodas, a huge step up from last week’s ordeal in New Tafo. I was thinking on the Tro ride here about how I can explain the hierarchy of the towns and cities in this area to put it into perspective for you. If you live in Armonk, the town of Anyinasin is comparable to that one block strip of nail salons, coffee houses, and various food shops we all call “Town”. New Tafo would be similar to Mt. Kisco, a little bigger with more clothing stands (aka Target). Koforidua is the White Plains of this area, more spots, more people, and more littering and trash on the streets. Finally, Accra is the big city; no rules, every man for himself. So today I’m in White Plains, kind of.
I started my language training and found out the region of Ghana in which I will be spending my time once training is over. The language is called Dagaare and it is spoken predominantly in the Upper West region of the country. The Upper West is the most recently created region in Ghana, having broken off from Upper East in 1983. It is generally known to be populated by extremely friendly and helpful people, and it has a more dry climate with what somewhat resemble seasons! Some attractions include a hippo sanctuary, the Gbelle game reserve, and the Gwollu defense wall, built to protect Africans from slavers during the slave trade. Everyone I have talked to has had only good things to say about the Upper West, so I’m pretty pleased with my placement.
Dagaare, on the other hand, is not so easy to wrap my head around. I have one month (now three weeks) to become proficient in the language at an intermediate level. For all of my BU friends, specifically Elena, you know this means piles and piles of flash cards. Too bad I didn’t bring any with me. Until my package arrives with packs of index cards (thanks, Jared!) I have resorted to cutting up poster board into tiny rectangles. My language group is fantastic though! Everyone is patient and my instructor is extremely knowledgable and helpful. I even got to whip out the Bananagrams to practice making words, although it was not as successful as I had hoped because I have a vocabulary of approximately 100 words. My group below! Note in the picture my new, custom made dress. Too bad it was made with five extra inches in the waist so that I can grow into it. Verbatim, “When you leave here, you have big belly.” Hell-to-the-no.
In other news, Mama Afoa’s spot is now the place to go! I’m buying my way into her good graces by bringing her business every weekend. We tried a locally made drink called Akpeteshie that tasted like a mix of tequila and Mr. Boston’s; needless to say, it burned on the way down. I have to admit, though, a night out here ends around 9pm. Everyone is exhausted from waking up at the crack of dawn with the goats and chickens and then going to training for 8 hours a day.
We have been having un-seasonal rains this past week, so a little remix for you: