Jan 272010
 
New Climate, New Cravings

Fellow volunteer Dan was on his fifth Coke of the day, I kid you not, when I finally asked him: “Is this how many sugar waters you chug back home in America?” (I may have added “you freak” to the end of this sentence.)

“Nope,” replied Dan with a (literally) sweet grin, “I never touch the stuff at home. But in Ghana, it’s heaven!”

Freak.

But wait– judge not, lest you be [...Read More!]

Jan 262010
 
Include the Developing in Development Discussions!

Once again today, I was deeply, deeply inspired, as an American educator, by the work of Youth Creating Change, Ghana.

Every Saturday, YCC’s Director John Glidden gathers under the dappled shade of two trees with the seventeen Ghanaian students who are gearing up to voyage to London in August of 2010 for the return half of an amazing educational exchange.

For the two hours of this “Cross-Culture Class,” John holds his pupils rapt, [...Read More!]

Jan 252010
 
Millicent The Magic-Making Cook

I’m not going to lie: it’s a little scary to walk through a pitch dark, packed market, lit by only tiny flickering gas candles, pursued everywhere by the ghostly yell: Yavoo! Yavoo! White woman!

Luckily, I had Millicent’s warm hand on my arm as we wove through the shadowy stalls to buy her ingredients for the week.

When you live or travel in a country far less expensive than your own, [...Read More!]

Jan 242010
 
The Two Hundredth Article!

Today marks the TWO HUNDREDTH article of this Around the World blog!!!

I began writing on July 27, 2009, meaning I’ve posted an average of about one article per day for all these seven months. Oooh these insatiable fingers!

Anyway, hooray! May there be many more articles to come, and may there continue to be wonderful readers like YOU. Let us use this joyous landmark for an overview update!

A.) An [...Read More!]

Jan 232010
 
Dalive Donations

Most of us from America have tossed our old clothes into a donation bin at some point.

Maybe you threw in that free tee shirt from your school spirit day four years ago.

Maybe your mother snatched those raggedy pants out of your closet and screamed, “Give these away now! I’m so sick of seeing you schlump around in them!”

Maybe you had to dump out an entire wardrobe after a miraculous weight [...Read More!]

Jan 222010
 
Beating Students with Canes

(Note: All photos for this article were obtained by walking to the closest school today and saying, “I’m an American teacher and have never seen a punishment cane. Can you show me how it works?” It may seem bizarre to be smiling in photos about corporal punishment, but here, the whole affair is discussed with levity.)

“How many of you were beaten with canes by your teachers TODAY?” I asked [...Read More!]

Jan 212010
 
Internet Access in Ghana's Volta Region

There are a whole lot of heart-warming, tear-jerking ways I could start this article, but let’s just begin like this: it’s really fun to do a photo shoot with an Edge USB Wireless Modem. (Gorgeous results pictured, left.)

And now let’s move on to business.

In Sogakope, just two hours from Ghana’s capital city of Accra, there are no telephone lines. This means that high-speed, low cost DSL internet is impossible.

So [...Read More!]

Jan 202010
 
Do's and Don'ts of Ghanaian English

Ghana’s official language may be English, but be prepared for looks of utter shock if you take certain words here in Ghana for their American meanings!

Here’s a handy guide of Do’s and Don’ts for a few Ghanaian phrases to keep you out of jail.

1.) “Flash me.”

DON’T: Yank up your shirt, wiggling your bare chest and screaming, “Throw me some Mardi Gras beads, baby!”

DO: Call the person on their cell [...Read More!]

Jan 192010
 
Cape Coast Slave Castle

It is true: seeing remnants of the brutal trans-Atlantic slave trade is an utterly different experience in Africa than in America.

Throughout our lives as Americans, we study slavery and its legacy, reading textbooks, going to museums, hearing guest speakers, writing reports, and seeing movies. It rips your heart out, but America must never stop remembering!

When you enter the doors of Cape Coast slave castle in Ghana, however, you realize: there [...Read More!]

Jan 182010
 
An Intro to Food in Ghana!

“Okay,” you may be saying, “youth organizations are all well and good… but what are you EATING in Ghana?”

Glad you asked! Here’s the crash-course intro to delicious Ghanaian food that I have gotten over the past ten days. Dig in…

1. There will be banku!

On your table, you will see (pictured, left):

a) A ball of soft corn/cassava/yam dough of clay-like mush-ability.

b) A bowl of water with liquid soap so you [...Read More!]