Ghana (Part 2): November 1, 2009

Journey to the Cape Coast and Kakum

On Saturday, October 31st, 2009 my cousins and I woke up early to go to Cape Coast Castle and Kakum National Park. At Kakum National Park, we walked across seven canopies that were merely ropes hanging from trees. These canopies were 130 feet high.  The bridge would shake as you walked along it, giving even the daredevils a fright. Some bridges shook more than others. And I was singing, “Hallelujah, thine the glory. Revive us again…” as I made my from one tree to the other. We took lots of pictures. The R’s [Rod, Regal, Rispah, Reuben] are pretty nice and I love how close knit they are. Rod is like the leader of the pact.


Tri-Lingual Ghanaians V. Mono-lingual Americans

I am truly amazed, as a monolingual individual, how many languages my cousins speak…FLUENTLY. The R’s mostly speak Ga amongst each other, but can lapse into Twi, Pidgin English or English in a matter of seconds. Intelligence. Americans (sigh) we really need to get our game up.

My father speaks Twi and Ga and growing up, my paternal grandmother used to speak to me in Twi. I would respond in English.  Although I have a slight understanding of Twi, I am not even close to being able carry out a full conversation in Twi. Something I am not happy about. However, I am taking every opportunity to learn my language in my country. Cousins teach me new words and I repeat them deliberately, trying to annunciate every syllable and pick up the accent while doing so. I sound crazy, of course, but hey, I try. People snicker as they walk by me. Shaking their head and probably thinking, “This American ayyyyy!” lol.

I Learn How to Pronounce My Last Name

One afternoon after church service, Rod introduced me to one of his friends. He asked me to say my full name, which is Ghanaian. When I offered my name, he chuckled. You’re not pronouncing it correctly. We stood in the middle of the sanctuary for about 10 minutes, just practicing the pronunciation of my name. I had it when I left the church. But the next day, I reverted back to pronouncing my last name the “American way.” (Sigh) Oh well.

Uncle Kofi showed me his church. It’s pretty simple and cozy at the same time. We were brainstorming ways for him to raise church funds.  I suggested that he partner with a non-profit organization that he supports.


Ghana V. Nigeria

My cousin Prince and came over to visit me this evening. He works for Nigerian company that’s based in Ghana. I told him that I had a great time in Nigeria, despite all the horrible things I hear about the country. He agreed. “Yep, something has to be done about their negative image. It surely affects the business of my company. People are hesitant to do business with a Nigerian company.” I agree wholeheartedly. It’s not cool if an entire world thinks negatively about Nigeria. Hence the reason for my blog: “Yaa Yaa In Naija.”

Nigerians told me I’d say it. Ghanaians told me I’d say it. Americans who have visited both countries told me I’d say it. So I’m going to say it. Ghana is very different from Nigeria! This difference was apparent from the moment I stepped off the plane.

When I stepped of the plane in Nigeria, people were loud. They shoved. They pushed. They shouted. In Ghana, people were calm. They were quiet. Laid back. And when I went outside, there was not much honking cars and loud taxi drivers. People were calm.

Later, when I crossed the street in busy Accra, a car did not try to run me over, speeding up and then slowing down when he is inches from my foot. Nope. People slowed down to let me cross. One time, Rispah and I were in a taxi cab. A reckless driver cut the taxi driver off. And do you know what the taxi driver did? Nothing. He simply slowed down. Honked one time. He didn’t roll down his window and hurl obscenities to the reckless driver, or get out of his car and threaten to fight the other driver. Nope, he simply drove defensively. Amazing.

So yep, I fully concur. Ghana is very different from Nigeria.

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