Village: Biscuit Biscuit American Kung-Fu!

Ghana Travel Blog

 › entry 10 of 17 › view all entries
This weekend was our Habitat build/village homestay. We drove about two hours outside of Accra into the hills. Habitat for Humanity has established a site here with about 180 homes. Half of the village is Habitat homes and the other half isn't and you can really tell. The Habitat side has separate 'toilets' (more on that later) and showers and are made out of bricks and concrete. The non-Habitat side is thatched roofs. So we stomped around in mud and laid mortar and cleared fields all day. It's really hot in Africa, just in case you hadn't heard.

So then everyone who wasn't spending the night went home. And then there were 13 of us. I was matched up with Ani and Meaghan and Florence showed us her home where we would be sleeping. That was the last time we saw Florence - I have no idea where she went. The house was a lot better than I was expecting: two rooms, concrete floor, windows with mosquito nets, and a bed. The toilet situation was somewhat different. There was a closet with a concrete seat-type deal with a hole in it that served as the toilet. The smell was, shall we say, not ideal. Then next to that was the shower closet. There is obviously no electricity or running water, so the women in the village spend all say filling huge buckets of water at the pump and then carrying them back to the village on their heads. You take a shower using some of this water in a bucket. The closet is really dark, so that's problematic, especially when you're caked in mud from building mud bricks. It had also poured for about an hour in the afternoon, so we were even more muddy from that.

So during the afternoon we "showered" and hung out with all the kids, and by kids I mean boys, because the girls were nowhere to be seen excpet when they yelled 'obruni' at us from their houses with their mother. The boys are allowed to roam free. Village life is very communal - all the mothers take care of all the kids and the boys just kind of run around and hang out wherever with no supervision from their biological parents. We saw one of the get a beating for doing something, although we don't know what for since we couldn't understand his mother's screaming in Twi. The kids spoke various levels of English. They mostly knew how to ask for biscuits and our empty water bottles. They also quickly picked up how to ask for biscuits, always screaming "Madame Madame!" at us. Someone had introduced to them the "Down on the Banks" hand-clappy game that you may or may not remember from your childhood.

So that night they had dinner and drumming and dancing. The women who were dancing had had a LOT of Bitters, something which surprised us because we always hear how Ghanaian culture is very conservative and they don't drink. That was not the case here. They wanted us to dance with them, but I always personally look like an idiot trying to do African dancing, so I just danced with the kids unless I was forced into that circle-chicken-like dance thing. Then we went to bed at 9:30 because it's dark and there's nothing to do when it's dark. Hence the overpopulation issue if you get what I mean.

The next morning was Sunday. We were under the impression that EVEROYNE in the country went to church on Sunday morning. Also false. Most of the boys did not go to church, particularly Kwaku who all the rest of them were yelling at that he was a dirty boy and needed to go wash. So we went to the Presbyterian Church. It was mostly women except for like three men in the back and the preacher. The women get really dressed up for church and they wear the most gorgeous clothes. I wish we could have taken pictures. They were having a special thing for the kids where the girls danced and people donated money to help finish the kindergarten. We didn't understand most of the service, but the preacher did translate some of it because he thought that might compel the three white girls to give the school some of their money. We didn't have very much, though. I even recognized two hymns in Twi. Presbyterian traditions die hard. The drums would have been slightly out of place at the PCUSA, however. So after church we played with the kids some more and ate lunch and went home. So yeah I stayed in an African village and roughed it. Then that same night we sat in Champs Sports Bar in Accra and ate Mexican food and watched the Rugby World Cup. The wonders of development....
arlene0725 says:

Wow, that was really 'roughing' it. My 'roughing experience' was in Thailand and the french Youth Hostels in Paris. Dang, they have cold toilets!!! Best, toilets was in a Kyoto Youth Hostel (the KHouse hostel) an A++++ rating from me. Looking forward to visit Africa again. Hopefully in 5 years, this time to do another safari in either South Africa or Botswana. Allez salut, Arlene
Posted on: Nov 02, 2007
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!