From July through December 2011, this is where I'll be. Here are the tales of my adventures!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

International Student Welcome Durbar!



The International Students were finally officially welcomed to the University this weekend, now that it’s Week 7!  It was actually a lot of fun to get dressed up, see some live performances and get to eat an AMAZING buffet!!


There were some local groups that came to perform traditional music and dancing, including “The Fire Dance,” in which a male and female dancer both danced with a burning flame on top of their heads.


Then there were some student performances and a couple of them were my friends from Pop Band!  Bobby, our guitarist, did a cover with Fraser, one of the CSU guys, of Alison Krauss’s “Down to the River to Pray” and another bluegrass song and it was so great to have a little feeling of home.


Cecily, our lead singer, also sang one of her original songs with Bobby accompanying her.  That girl can sing.  Hopefully I’ll get more videos up of the Pop Band Concerts or find them on YouTube, but she is easily one of the most talented singers I’ve heard in a while.  So versatile!  She’s the other shorty in the picture below.


There was also a special performance from UCEAP as a tribute to Professor Irene Odotei (a.k.a. Auntie Irene).  She one of our programs special advisors/faculty members and she’s absolutely phenomenal!  She’s such a funny, captivating, and informative speaker.  Three women from the UC group escorted her to the stage with traditional attire and dance moves.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Aburi Botanical Gardens






This past weekend I took a trip to the Aburi Botanical Gardens with Alyssa, Victor, Devin, Cody and Felicia.  It took around an hour to get there, but it was some great scenery along the way.  Once we got to the town, we seemed to be surrounded by schools, which was actually really cool to see since that’s what my independent study is focused around, but even cooler was this church that we happened upon.



Once we got into the gardens, we went exploring for a bit and found a lot of beautiful trees.  They were seriously humongous.  It was awesome!  Here’s Victor with the only original tree left in the park just to get a gauge of how big these things are.

 



Alyssa really wanted to climb things so we found a decent tree.  There was also an abandoned helicopter in the middle of the park that was apparently available for more climbing so naturally everyone climbed that too!



It was a beautiful place and it’s always nice to see more of the natural flora of this area.  I also found some Tamarind and gave it to Devin…





Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Friends, Food and Fun!

It's been a while since I posted anything so I thought I would do a quick picture update to show what I've been doing recently...

Three friends from UCSB have made their way to Ghana in the past couple weeks and it has been great to see them!  First came Keni and Elisa, who had attended the University last year and were back visiting friends for a couple weeks.


Next came Susan, whose ship docked in Tema for a week.  She's doing Semester at Sea this semester and they had a stop in Ghana so I got to spend some time with her and discuss some logistical stuff for The Vagina Monologues 2012 since she's going to be one of my fellow officers!



I've been doing more "cooking."  Even though I barely buy anything here, I felt like it would be more fiscally responsible of me to start cooking  rather than always going to one of the campus eateries.


My top creations have been the best garlic bread anyone could ever imagine (I swear I am not kidding), spaghetti sauce made FROM SCRATCH with pasta, and Mac and Cheese with bread crumbs.  SO GREAT!  Problems have really only arisen when the power has gone out, which has been semi-frequently recently.  When that happens, we end up eating a lot of chocolate/Nutella, peanut butter and bread.  I also attempt to make hot dog equivalents out of the sausage kabobs off the side of the road.

Luckily, we've been successfully entertaining ourselves during the blackouts either by watching LOST (if there's enough juice in my computer battery), playing cards (MOM AND DAD: You'll be pleased to hear I've taught them Hookm and Sur--however they're spelt!), and most recently, telling ghost stories.



Here are Veronica and Acacia on my bed, since that is the venue for watching LOST and Nicole asleep in my chair before we made an attempt to scare her when the lights were still out.

That's my life right now!


Oh yeah, and I'm going to classes...forgot about that whole school thing hehehe.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cape Coast Festival



This past weekend we took a trip to Cape Coast for the annual festival Fetu Afahye.  It included different events like the sacrifice of the bull, procession of the chiefs, and (as dubbed in our informational papers) “dancing and merrymaking in clubs, streets, and open spaces”! Haha couldn’t get over that one.


Seeing the chiefs was by far one of the best parts of the weekend because it really showed a more traditional cultural aspect of Ghana that I haven’t been able to really see much since I’m living in a more developed area.


Although women have gained more rights and higher status levels in certain sectors, there are still some traditional gender issues that remain represented in a lot of the culture.  As the processional continued and I noticed a few of the chiefs were actually women!



 
There were creepy clowns everywhere that went around asking for money.  Needless to say I avoided them at all costs.  Still, they managed to sneak up on us during the parade.


 
Another performer asking for money was this dancer.  He was doing some type of dance and we didn’t understand why he kept bringing a flag over to all of the obrunis (white people), but then after Felicia was chosen, we realized it meant he was asking for a donation.  Felicia was not pleased.


There were tons of people packed into the streets and it was a fantastic sight to see.  Plus, hearing more Ghanaian drumming is always a pleasure.  I included a couple videos below!



video

video
 


After the processional, we headed to Victoria Park for some food and shopping.  I was pretty tired so I ended up finding a nice spot in the shade next to a live band.  They ended up being AWESOME and also comprised mainly of WOMEN! YEEEE (It’s funny how much more noticeable my feminism is here than when I’m back in SB)




Later that night, I had some great girl talk time with Felicia, Acacia, and Veronica who are all quickly becoming some of my very good friends.  The only reason why I felt the need to add this was to show the monstrosity that was Acacia’s hair after I was through with it...MWAHAHAHA

 




Almost forgot!  We went to a restaurant close to our hotel and luckily they were playing the Black Stars v. Swaziland game so I got to watch it.  Afterwards, there was a group on stage giving away free shirts if you went up and answered a question, so obviously I did (We all know how much I love my free shirts).  I got up and they asked me to tell them about Solar Power.  As an Environmental Studies major, I was stoked!