Airports, Accra, and African Time

Wow, so much to say and so little time to say it. I have made it to Ghana and there is so much going on that I want to share and talk about but I will do my best to keep my thoughts organized. Bear with me folks.

First, international flying is an experience, let me tell you. For any of us who have never done it before, I won’t lie, it was a bit intimidating. There is much else to be told so to make long of the short, don’t be afraid to ask for help or directions, know where your passport is at ALL times, and don’t bring two backpacks as carry on luggage (the whole one in front one in back situation is not as much fun as it looks).

Next, on the list: arriving in Ghana! As I took my first steps off the plane and into Ghanaian territory, I was blasted with an unbelievable wave of heat! I thought I was in a sauna. By the time I made it off the tarmac, I was already drenched in sweat, a state that I am learning is going to be rather common. Customs and integration was a little intimidating, but after clearing up a few mistakes on my forms, I made it through! Right now we are staying in a hotel in Accra for orientation and we will move into our permanent residences tomorrow.  We’ve only seen bits and pieces of the Accra but it is definitely different than any city I have ever been to. The streets are filled with people selling anything from fresh fruit to posters of Barack Obama to the cars that pass by. Men and women stack enormous amounts of items on there heads and whip in an out of traffic as if it was nothing. Their balancing skills are impeccable. The traffic is a bit overwhelming to be honest. For many drivers, the car horn is used in place of turn signals and it is often a battle to make it from point A to point B. But luckily no driving will be done this semester; we’ll leave that up to the taxis and tro tros (the local favorite form of transportation). I’ll have more to say about the city as I explore in greater depth but from what I’ve been hearing, it is quite the lively metropolis.

While I have only been in Ghana for two full days, it has felt like weeks. I swear, if I didn’t know better I would say that time moves slower here.  I soon learned that there is indeed a name for that; it’s called African Time. You may have heard of it before and let me tell you it is no lie. Not only does the time seem to move slower but many other things that are usually speedy in America are much, much slower. For example, when we arrived at the hotel we stopped at the restaurant for dinner. We waited over two and a half hours for our food to come out. While the other students and I were in disbelief, our Ghanaian UPals (UG students) told us that this was pretty normal and that we should probably arrive at restaurants before we are hungry. I am definitely going to need to do some serious character building in the patience department to adjust to this slower lifestyle. However, with that said, I think it will be a nice break from the constant hustle and bustle of the typical American college student.

Tonight we have an orientation workshop with a dance professor at the University, which promises to be very exciting. Stay tuned as always!