No, I haven’t died! part 1

My heartfelt apologies for not updating you guys as often as I’ve promised. Last weeks have been crazy in every single way imaginable, and I have gotten into living my very best life here in Ghana to the fullest. This means that I have a lot to tell, and I’m just hoping I won’t forget anything.

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Local kids dancing on the beach at Asa Baako

A month ago, beginning of March, we went to Asa Baako, which is a dance/culture festival here in Ghana at Busua. Busua is a place that a lot of the locals don’t know about.  Funnily enough, none of the locals really know about Asa Baako the festival either. And I was very surprised over that when I mentioned it to anyone in Accra. Because how do they not know about a festival that is said to be ‘the biggest and most well-known festival in Ghana’? When we got to the actual ‘festival’ I understood why.

While travelling to Busua (it’s about 7h in a trotro, then a half an hour in a trotro, and then a 15min taxi ride away from Accra) was fun and finlly arriving there was even better, because of the beautiful stretch of beach and smooth and fluffy ocean; then seeing what Asa Baako was was nothing more than disappointing. The whole festival is built up in the notion to sell white tourists a ‘ghana experience’, and besides drinking and hanging out at the beach there wasn’t really anything that would build up a festival. For me, luckily, Kobi from Cape Coast was there, so I hung out with him most of the time. And we did og to the ocean a lot. Hell, me and Raz even rented surfboards for an hour to paddle around in water. It was hella fun, until we almost drowned in the waves.

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Beach at Busua

The highlight of the festival was a jungle party on Saturday, and yes, it was exactly that – a party in the jungle. And it was so much fun, really. The jungle was decorated with lights that ran up and down the palm trees, there were other decorations and the lights to the stage were reflecting on the palm tree tops. Only good vibes there. So all-in-all, I did have a good time at Busua. I even rented jetski for half an hour one day and took it out to the ocean. Wow, what a feeling. To just know that under you there is an unknown life and you’re just there chilling with your jetski. It was so much fun.

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The jungle party

Besides Busua I haven’t really done any travelling out of Accra the past month. And while I have a lot of places I want to visit, I’ve been trying to plan all my travelling for the summer. So for the most I’ve been just hanging out in Accra, making new friends, going to classes, partying. The one significant thing that did happen to me during this past month was that I ended up in the hospital (again) at 3am on one Wednesday night. This time it was my left kidney that started hurting so bad I was crying and couldn’t sleep any longer.

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A rare sight – a trotro full of obronis. (coming back from Busua with Asha)

My hospital adventures are very long and complicated, because the first hospital I went to was a general one, so everything they did they did slowly. Eventually after three days in pain I went to another clinic, this time a private one, where the doctor working there was so nice and helpful and really cared about me. So that#s the story of how I was put on 5 different medications that made me weak and dizzy and overall feel like crap for a week.

Despite the medications I did go to a dope pool party in the middle of March. It was honestly the coolest party I’ve ever been to. So many awesome people, good music, I met a lot of new people and also danced so much. A really enjoyable Sunday for sure. I did get there a little early, and there was a photographer there who took some dope shots of me. I don’t know how I end up in front of the camera so much here. Or how I end up in these kind of situations so often, but I am enjoying myself.

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me and Viviana at the pool party

For a week after the pool party I was on the same medication that made me feel awful, I visited my doctor a couple of times and was overall sleeping all the time, so there was no going to classes for me this week. When I finally did feel better I started craving pasta so hard. Honestly, I think this kidney infection brought with it some kind of culture shock. Seeing how the hospital system works here versus how much better private clinics are (and also how much more you have to pay there) just made me realise that even though I am enjoying it here I am still in Africa. So when I felt better from my illness I was eating pasta like crazy. Every single pasta recipe I could somehow make with things I have available here I did make.

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Testing how flexible I am

Most of my weeks now post-infection have gone to studying and reading for the assignments, quizzes, and presentations I have lined up for the next two weeks. Although I have done memorable things, one of these is going to a karaoke at Republic bar and singing Summer Nights (you know the song from Grease) with a random dude from England. It was hella fun. And that was the night I managed to get two of my local friends om ISH to also come out with me, Brenda and Angela. They also told me that they were cousins, say what? It’s normal for people to call their friends brothers and sisters, so when Brenda said ‘no we’re really sisters.. Or like cousins, but still’ I was shocked. People are ACTUALLY RELATED here?

This was shocking exactly because friends will call you their sister here. I also go around and tell people ‘to meet my sister ***’ because it just means they’re your friends and you trust them and stand by their side. Honestly what makes my heart warm is when a local calls me their sister, and especially when a local boy calls me their sister, because that means they look at you as their friend and not as someone they’d wish to call their girlfriend one day. And that’s a fresh look and point of view from local boys.

Another experience I’ve had in the past four weeks is going to the Makola market. Makola is the biggest market in Accra, and it’s crazy, busy, smelly, dirty, and magnificent. Whatever you could possibly need in your life, you will find it at Makola. So one Thursday after my 9:30 Morphological Theory class I sat in a trotro and was on my way towards Makola. Getting off at Tema Station, which is a 10min walk away from the market itself, I could feel how I did not want to take my phone out of my bag. I made my way to the market itself, through all these hundreds and thousands of people and was thinking how happy I am that I’m not here on a Saturday, for Saturdays I’ve heard are the worst for Makola – there’s just too many people.

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Street where the entrance to Makola is

The market itself is a labyrinth for sure, and I’m not even sure where it starts and ends because all of the streets surrounding the market are full of vendors and people trying to sell you shoes, fabric, and smoked fish. I took a walk into the market, deep into the market itself, and suddenly found myself surrounded by butchers and chunks of meat. Trust me, if anything was a vegan’s worst nightmare that was it. So I was trying to walk away from there, only to walk deeper into the smelliest part of Makola (I did make it out at one point though). And the reason I went to Makola in the first place was to a) get some nice fabrics for all the clothes I want tailored and b) to get extensions for my hair because I wanted some braids. In the end I walked off with both these things and also a new backpack (that says Starboy on it, s/o to Wizkid), an adidas caps, and a new shirt.

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Small part of Makola

Now, I did get hungry at one point, and taking into account that I was at the market when the sun was high up the sky and blazing, I was soooo tired of the sun. Luckily theres a vegetarian restaurant only 10min walk away from the market, so that’s where I headed. And got a proper plate of Ghanaian jollof – all vegan, with added bits of soy chunks instead of meat that is sometimes added to the jollof. And it was delicious! So delicious! I really can’t wait to og back to this place. I also went and got a coconut at one point, drank the sweet coconut water and ate the soft meat from the inside – coconuts are fast turning my favourite things in Ghana.

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Another look at Makola
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Enjoying the beach at Busua

That’s it for my adventures so long, I’ll be back soon with Part 2 of ‘No, I haven’t died’.

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This magnificent two piece dress I had made and then got lost in front of the camera with. 

 

 

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