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Meeting Huge Celebrities… Who You Don’t Recognize

Peter was quivering with excitement, and my Ghanaian teaching colleague, Seth, couldn’t help but hop up and down with each burst of emotion coursing through his zesty heart.

“He’s a SERIOUS radio presenter!” my friends gushed, hauling me and my camera in the direction of the yellow-shirted man.

Meeting a celebrity radio host in Ghana!
Meeting a celebrity radio host in Ghana!

With all this zing in the air, how could my heart NOT thump as well? But the truth was: I had no clue who this big-shot man in gold was.

Perhaps it has happened to you. You’re chilling innocently with friends, when suddenly– an idol is spotted! Everyone begins to freak out, pointing, hyperventilating, and wildly scheming how to approach/photograph/grope the famous human. Meanwhile, you are awkwardly humming a little ditty that goes something like this: “Dum-te-dum, who the heck is that?”

In the end, though, how can you not go along with the surging wave of excitement? If you sit your ignorant self to the sidelines whilst all your pals snap photos, wouldn’t you somehow insult everyone involved? What if you one day grew to know and love the celebrity’s work and then wished you’d shaken that famous hand?

A festival in Aburi, Ghana.
A festival in Aburi, Ghana.

And so, on that day in that giant Ghana Independence Day festival in Aburi, Ghana Botanical Gardens, I leapt into the celebrity love-fest with abandon, just like everybody else– whether or not I knew the name of the idol posing for the photos next to me. Deep down, I’ve always been such a sucker for fame!

But on the flip side, here’s a persistent fantasy I have about a different definition of “Celebrity”…

In this dream, my friend Meg and I are standing in a long line to get into the swankiest new restaurant in Manhattan. We’ve been waiting for hours and our cute little dresses are starting to chafe. The queue is hardly budging.

“Argh,” moans Meg, “There’s ANOTHER limo of celebrities cutting the entire line!” We glare as the stars approach the door and whisper a haughty sentence to the bouncers (likely: “Do you KNOW who I AM?”) and are instantly ushered past the velvet rope.

Lovely Aburi, Ghana.
Lovely Aburi, Ghana.

In this fantasy, it is then that Meg and I get a brilliant idea. We stride out of the stagnant line and walk right up to the entrance guards.

“Can I help you?” the burly bouncer growls.

“Do you KNOW who we ARE?” Meg and I demand with extreme pomposity.

“N-n-o,” stutters the bouncer. “Who are you?”

Meg and I raise our chins high and declare: “We are TEACHERS!”

Without another word, the bouncer bows down, throws open the rope for our glorious entrance, and provides us with free appetizers and roses the whole evening long.

With my Ghanaian colleagues.
With my Ghanaian colleagues.

And thus ends my awesome fantasy.

But seriously, look between the first (celebrity-celebrating) photo and the final (supposedly celebrity-free) picture.

Only the first one has a well-known Ghanaian radio presenter in it.

However, BOTH photos feature some really dedicated, dynamic youth workers. Moreover, the last photo contains the founder of Youth Creating Change of Ghana: a program which has changed the lives of hundreds of students and is expanding its impact each year. You know where this this point is going, don’t you? WE are all big deal celebrities, too, in our own way!

Get our autograph, folks– we’re getting things done in this world!

Tourist note: Gaze at these photos to see why Aburi Botanical Gardens is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in all of Ghana. I highly recommend this breezy hilltown if you’re doing the Ghana travel thing!


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Misha O

Tuesday 17th of November 2015

Wow! This is so funny that he was such a big deal there and you had no idea who he was. This would definitely be me, the odd duck out who doesn't know who the huge celebrity is... but it's understandable, considering you were on a different continent! I also loved your little fantasy about you and your friend and your "cute little dresses starting to chafe" and acting up to the guards!

Katelyn T.

Tuesday 17th of November 2015

This is amazing! Most days you don't meet celebrities from around the world. I also agree that in our own way we are a celebrity ourselves, even if we aren't well known in the world.

Aaliyah P.

Monday 16th of November 2015

This is just amazing! You don't really expect to meet celebrities from around the world. I love how humble and honest you were about the trill to meet others. This article just sums up so much good that Ghana has to offer, such amazing people. Thank you for giving me a smile today.(‐^▽^‐)_へ__(‾◡◝ )>

Thomas D.

Monday 16th of November 2015

I agree that we are all celebrities in our own ways, even if we are not famous. I think that we all could all be a big star if we get well known in a community, like the radio presenter you met.

Rei M.

Wednesday 25th of February 2015

Wow, this is super cool, how you got to meet an famous person. I have never meet a famous person. :D

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