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

Friday, November 4, 2011

I can't believe it's November already!

This past weekend was REALLY packed, but really fun.  It started off with the boy’s soccer game at 7am on Saturday morning as usual, but this time they actually tied instead of a loss!  After the game, I went to the National Museum in Accra.  There was some cool stuff, but it’s strange to have expectations of a National Museum and then arrive only to find out it’s basically one giant room with a few exhibits inside.  Still, it was interesting to see more artifacts of Ghana’s history!

We then walked to the Cultural Center and my life was finally complete!!!  It was a seemingly never-ending center of shops!!  I bought a lot of really cool stuff that I’m so excited about including a chess set, a kente cloth blanket, a Ghana shirt, and a present for my dad.  (I can’t say what it is on here since I know he’s reading this…HI DAD!)  My bargaining skills are really improving!!


Later that night, I went out to my friend Hussein’s birthday party at Escobar where they had all you can eat cake and KABOBS!!! SO GOOD.  Felicia and I were so happy to just sit there eating while everyone was dancing haha.

Next up was a music video shoot for the song “Change Positions” by the group V.I.P.  My friend Alex met the producer or something like that and hooked me up with the gig.  It was really cool to be in an actual studio recording and see what it’s like, but I only got to stay for part of it because I had to leave early for work sadly.

I went to Exponential Education on Sunday as usual.  I’m not going to go into that yet because I plan on just writing a full post on it when it’s all over so for now I’ll move onto Monday, which was HALLOWEEN!!!!  Katie’s dad was in town visiting (I am seriously shocked by the number of parents that have come to visit) and he brought us….CANDY!!!  I was beyond happy.  I had Swedish Fish, Reese’s, Kit Kats and more for the first time in months and my sweet tooth was finally satiated.  After changing our minds twice, Acacia and I decided to go to the Halloween party in the dance hall so we made last minute cat costumes.  It ended up being pretty fun and it was good to see everyone having a good time and celebrating too.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fun things lately!

Here is a quickly summarized update of what I’ve been doing the past few weeks since my blogging has become more sporadic than it had initially been…

Now that the soccer season is over for the women, we’ve been getting to spend more time together off the field.  It’s been so much fun to meet all of them and it’s really meant a lot for me to have developed such a great team bond.

I finally got to go see a professional soccer match at the Accra stadium!!  The game was Hearts of Oak (the local Accra team) vs. Berekum.  The stadium was actually really nice and it was a lot of fun to be in a setting like that where soccer is THE sport of the nation so everyone gets really into it!

The game ended in a tie, but it was just really funny to me to see the level of play in these teams compared to the level of play I’ve been witnessing in the Black Stars, Mann U, Chelsea, and other Premier League games that are always aired on TV.  They’re wholly unlike, but live soccer is always entertaining to me!

Next came Acacia’s birthday!  Acacia also goes to UCSB, but we’d never met before and I’m so stoked that we did because I’ve really found a great friend in her.  It was her 21st birthday this week so Veronica and I got her some presents and candles for this BOMB cake that Mindy made.  You know it’s actually bomb when I say it since I don’t even like cake.

After that, we headed to an Italian restaurant in Osu, Mamma Mia’s Pizzeria, which was okay, but pretty expensive compared to the 5 GHC/day I’ve been spending on food.  From there, we went to Ryan’s Irish Pub where Acacia had her first legal drink (even though the drinking age in Ghana is 18, she’s been waiting for her 21st just to make it more special)!

Ladies Hood 2011

It’s about time my feminist side came out on this blog considering I’ve been here for 3 months now and haven’t really written much about women’s roles in Ghana.  This entry was sparked by a conference I attended last week sponsored by the SRC Women’s Commission titled, “Ladies Hood 2011.”  I wasn’t expecting anything in particular (mainly because the posters weren’t very descriptive), but I thought it would be a really interesting experience to see how these types of programs go in a place like Ghana.

The conference began with a “discussion” on whether abortion should be legalized or not in Ghana.  I expected to hear the extreme religious response on the matter, which I did: “Under no circumstances would God ever approve of an abortion.”  What I wasn’t expecting, however, were the completely opposing opinions that weren’t necessarily being equally represented, but were certainly present enough to spark quite a heated debate!

There were the usual questions of when a fetus is actually considered a human with rights, whether it should be a woman’s choice to do what she wants with her own body, etc.  A lot of women brought up the point that women are already obtaining unsafe and unprofessional abortions, so why not just provide a safe setting since they will continue to happen regardless of legalization.  One of the more frustrating comments I heard was something along the lines of “women should have the option of abortion in the case that there is no man to take care of them.” (-___-)

Eventually, the speaker came over with the microphone and asked the only 3 obrunis at the conference (Mariah and Stephanie—2 other UC students—and me) what our thoughts were on the matter.  First, after awkwardly sharing that I’m an atheist and literally having the facilitator gasp and walk away in what seemed like absolute disgust, we explained how we didn’t think religion was a relevant factor because it’s a social issue, not a religious one.  Of course, that argument doesn’t exactly work when you live in a place with no official separation of church and state…


I continued to explain my views and how I believe that a woman’s body is her own and she has the right to do with it what she wants and that a bundle of cells that has the potential to grow into a human is about as human as sperm frantically trying to connect with an ovary!  A lot of women were cheering and agreeing with me, and a lot were shaking their heads in disgust.  A wonderfully juxtaposed reaction to a very firm stance I’d say.

That discussion ended after everyone started complaining since we were just going in circles and we continued with a discussion of women having positions of power in the workplace, politics, and society.  On the one hand, they recognized that this issue is largely due to gender inequalities, but as the discussion continued and I heard what some of the suggestions were, it made me even more frustrated.  Women were saying that the problem lies in the women who have attained power, but don’t know how to act.  They “should maintain humility” instead of “being bossy” because if they’re too controlling, men won’t respect them. AAAAA!!!
Next, after introducing the guest speakers at the high table, came a short poetry recitation and a performance by a singer/talk show host.

Afterwards, there was an informational presentation given by a medical doctor explaining STI’s and other common female bodily functions/issues.  That was actually a really sad talk to sit through, especially after the Q&A section.  Women were asking questions about their bodies that really reflected how little sexual health education there is in the education system here.  I understand that societies with such traditional religious views have certain emphases in their education (i.e. religion courses are typically mandatory), but every woman should have a strong understanding of how her body works, what is “normal” and what she should be concerned about.  It is a huge disservice to both men and women for this information to be omitted from the standard curriculum.
The best part about this conference was of course, THE FREE SHIRTS!!  We got these great shirts that say “I <3 my parents” and “I <3 my baby” that are anti-abortion shirts, but I’m just excited to wear mine when I get back home because I think they’re hysterical!

Quick shout out to the Vagina Monologues Cast since this is a post completely dedicated to women!  You ladies continually inspire me to be a stronger woman.  For any of my other feminist friends out there, you should really consider auditioning for the show this year.  It will positively change your life, plus, who doesn’t like talking about vaginas all the time?