“Is Pennsylvania Near Jamaica?”


This morning Justine and I went to the office at 9AM and found no Ben and a locked office. We waited until 9:30 before he showed up, having slept late for the second time since I came to VPWA. We opened the office and spent the morning listening to music until three of our clients came in. Rita, Cynthia, and Mary came in to pay their weekly fee and spent the following hour talking to us. They ribbed me for not asking them a lot of questions (little do they know that they always talk, making it hard to ask any questions) and promised to take me to their families in the north. When Cynthia asked me where I was from she was confused about where in the US Pennsylvania is. I told her the north, but she asked me if it was near Jamaica. Many people have asked me if I am from near Jamaica, which I think is hilarious since the country is just a little island in the Caribbean. It is strange though that everyone is obsessed with Jamaica. If I mention that my parents are from there, people say that I am Ghanaian then, and most trotros have a Jamaican flag on them.

In the afternoon Justine left with Hayford and Catherine to find a large tent for the street library and I was left alone to hold down the office with Ben. At 3:30 we decided to close up since the hours for money collection ends at 3PM and no one had come in since 11AM. I took a trotro home and actually got off at the correct stop (small victories!). When I arrived home the only things I had on my mind were relieving my bladder and cleaning myself, so I had a lovely cool shower and scrubbed myself. While waiting for my hair to dry a bit I fell asleep and woke up half an hour later when Justine came in from her excursions.

In the evening we had a going away party for Catherine. Numo is suspected to have malaria, so he wasn’t up for much, meaning that the entire shin dig ended by 9PM. Justine’s boyfriend also came over, so I finally got to hear him speak (if you remember, my last experience involved him mostly naked in the kitchen). Justine made a cake for the occasion, which was the most sugar I had had in over a month (I probably ate about half the cake for this reason) and we talked about politics and Ghanaian life. Interestingly, I was put on the spot when a guest accused the U.S. of not respecting structured authority. The theory was that since Britain had a monarchy they could respect Ghanaian traditional hierarchies more so than Americans. I held my tongue, since I was more interested in why they believed this, but Catherine defended America.

By the end of the party everyone was tired and ready for bed. I did, however, state that for my going away party everyone was staying up till dawn with a few bottles of rum (Jamaican of course ) and dancing the night away.

Ghanaian Practical Travel Tip #50: While there are a lot of cattle in Ghana, beef is a very scarce commodity. Don’t expect to find meat or any dairy products from cows in your stay.

3 Responses to ““Is Pennsylvania Near Jamaica?””

  1. Mom Says:

    Thanks for finally telling us who “Togo-German man in green tighty whities” was.

  2. Chelsey Says:

    “Thanks for finally telling us who “Togo-German man in green tighty whities” was.”

    Right! lol

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