On early Saturday morning last week [May 6th], I made the trip to Toronto for training. Here I got to meet the other 4 interns: Leah from Ryerson/Calgary, Chris from Carlton/Vancouver, Lin from Laurier Brantford, and Raquel from Regina. The first three will be living in Kumasi and working at Capital and Luv Radio. Raquel will be living with me in Takoradi and be working at radio/TV station SKYY.
We were right near Kensington Market so we tried to eat from the markets and make our own food in prep for hopefully home cooking. We also did lots of training and gathered a bunch of stuff for our trip.
We also walked EVERYWHERE, which was a nice change from Winnipeg.
The journey to Ghana ended up being about 21 hours long. We traveled from Toronto to Brussels, Brussels to Lome, Togo and Lome to Accra.
It was definitely an interesting trip where we had to pay $15 for breakfast in Brussels, had all the movies extremely censored on our “conservative” airline and had a choice of Indian curry or ‘international chicken’.
Then our arrival….
We arrived in Accra at about 7:30 on Friday night. After waiting at the airport for a while, we traveled to the Christensborg Hotel in Osu, a region in Accra. It is right off the main city road called Oxford Street which is a pretty busy/young area. That night we walked to Epo’s, a huge outdoor patio that had a large projection screen with the soccer (or football as they call it here) on it. We ordered a couple local beer, ate some siscabobs and heard Jenny (our jhr Ghana contact) talk about the cultural.
The next day, we woke up and kept dry from the torrential rains by having breakfast. We got cell phones and really got our first view of Accra during the day. For lunch, we went to a local restaurant and tested out some Ghanaian food. I kept it safe with chicken and rice but I tried the others tried more traditional dishes: groundnut soup, fufu and more (I’ll write about food later).
From there the other interns went to the cultural market but I went to meet Kathy Knowles, a Winnipegger who started the Osu Children’s Library Fund. The library I was planning to do my documentary on is now not opening for a while but I still want to focus on the all the work they are doing. The kids were putting on a dance show and it was great to see some local dancing!
After the show, I met up with the other interns to meet the other jhr IYIP interns who have been in Accra since January. They stay for six month terms and are in more teaching/training roles. They took us to Tawalla restaurant that was literally on the beach. The tide was getting so high that it could almost reach our table. Here they told us lots about their media houses and how to handle some situations that have arisen. It was great to hear from them, especially as one of them, Laura, was during our program last year. [& one of the other IYIP girls is from Pinawa!]
On Sunday, we met for lunch to discuss of roles in the media house and how the first couple of days will go. From there, we went to Keshie to watch a soccer game of a friend of Laura. After that we went to La Pleasure beach for the weekly beach party.
Things I am starting to get used to:
- Negotiating everything – especially taxis
- The food – well at least the chicken and rice
- Getting stared at – at all times! Although Ghana is a huge NGO-friendly country, locals still stare, whistle or yell “obruni”, which means foreigner.
Things I need to work on:
- The language – I have been trying to learn but have been forgetting lots. Hopefully by next week I will have more of a hold on twi, a traditional Ghanaian language that about 40% of people speak.
- Living out of a suitcase – I literally cannot find anything.
- Remembering to take photos of everything!
Tomorrow I am going to a couple to a couple of meetings and then on Tuesday I move to Takoradi and will start working.
I am really excited to stop training and introduction and get working!