I think I have finally adjusted to the food here in Ghana, as much as I’m going to at least. Eating “sausage and eggs” for breakfast (which consists of hot-dog-like meat, scrambled eggs, tomato paste, and fried onions) with a side of starch (yams or plantains) and a cup of piping hot tea no longer bothers my stomach in the mornings. Thankfully I’ve started getting fruit for breakfast on some mornings; my bowl of banana and papaya this morning with my bread and tea was much easier to handle. That’s probably one of my favorite things about Ghana at this point… the fresh tropical juices and fruits everywhere.
Lunchtime is on my own, which means I usually just get a pineapple cut up for me at a stand on the street or get “pancakes” (thick crepes with Nutella – yum!) at the campus café. It’s always blazing hot during lunchtime too, so it’s really good to eat light.
I’m still adjusting to all the bones and other unidentified body parts in my meat during dinnertime. You never know what you’re really eating, since everything is in “soup” or “stew”, which pretty much means a tomato-based sauce. Meat, sauce, and rice/yams/plantains make up every evening meal. One thing about living with a host family is that they feed you mammoth portions; I’ve figured out they’re scared that if we Americans don’t go home bigger than we came then people will think they didn’t feed us. It’s a real concern of theirs, but my grandparents have been good about it and even made it a game where they will clap for me and congratulate me every time I finish everything on my plate. It’s like a daily challenge, and I’m winning more and more!
Speaking of my grandparents, I’m really loving living with them. They are so protective and caring, as if I am their real flesh-and-blood granddaughter. At times this has been a bit frustrating, like when I want to spend the evening with other students but am not allowed to go out because I need my rest, or will get lost, etc. But all in all, I appreciate it more than they will ever know. The young man who rents out a room on their property, Morgan, was bothering me a bit the other day, wanting me to let him in the gate after hours, and Grandpa told him off royally and was very protective of me. I am very safe and well taken care of, and as Grandpa said, he will not let me “go astray” while I am here.
The other Ghanaians I have met here are as mixed as any group of Americans you could come up with. I’ve met friendly young men at the pub who’ve offered to buy me drinks (I have politely declined); taxi drivers that chat with you and those that don’t talk at all, some who give you a fair deal and some who try to rip you off; children who smile and yell and wave and follow you around; women who beam when you ask the names of their babies slung on their backs; and many people who stare at you as you walk by but try to ignore you as they would anyone else. Grandpa has coached me from Day One not to trust people, and to only make friends with people who already know my friends, and to keep my social contacts to other university students. He is convinced that anyone else will look for “friendship” only to take advantage, and I do know that other Americans have already been approached with requests for U.S. Visas and connections to get them into the states. It’s for this reason I’m very anxious for classes to really get started, so I can start meeting other well-meaning students and get to know Ghana through them. The only classes I’ve had have been with all foreign students like me, although I must admit I’m loving them all. African drumming is my favorite; I can’t wait to come back home and show off my skills!