Alliance Française


I am exhausted, once again. I think this is the root of my homesickness and frustration. Ghana has worn me down, but tonight it was worth it. It is 1AM and I have just returned from Accra and eaten Ramen. The day started out as usual. Justine and I went to work and met Dorcas. Like yesterday, we had no power at home, but we did have it in Amasaman. Justine spent the morning updating the computer’s records with the intake from yesterday, and I wrote several of the profiles of women who have completed the repayment process. My biggest issue with Ghana is that everything takes so long to accomplish. The profiles shouldn’t have taken me as long as they did, but between the heat and minor malnutrition I am experiencing I couldn’t string two sentences together. It is not conducive to my productivity.

In the afternoon Dorcas surprised us by saying that Muslim women look old because they don’t work hard and wear scarves on their heads. Her argument was astonishing, and both Justine and I tried to talk sense into her but she wouldn’t have it. This is common in Ghana. I have heard prejudices against every kind of person except the Akan (I suppose since they are the majority). Ewes are daft, Brits are uptight, Nigerians are untrustworthy, and Francophones as well. It creates tensions between the ethnic groups that conglomerate in the country.

Later on I was invited into Accra to go to Alliance Française for a traditional dance performance. Alliance is an institution that teaches French and strives to preserve western African cultures and educate patrons about them. I was very tired, but after coming home to a house with no electricity or water, I decided that I would rather deal with Accra than sit at home in the heat and darkness. So we traveled into the city.

I very much enjoy Accra at night. Unfortunately it is also the most dangerous time there. The air is cool, people are in no hurry to get places, and there is often music playing from buildings near and far. Our first stop was Alajo, a district of Accra that is home to the majority of Francophones that have come to Ghana to learn. There we picked up Willan and his friend Aziz who was also from Burkina Faso, and then we made our way to the concert. Halfway there our taxi got a flat tire, but the driver was obviously experienced in these sorts of road emergencies and quickly fixed the flat. By the time we got to Alliance, however, it was an hour into the scheduled performance time. Lucky for us, the country runs on Ghana Man Time so we made it before the performers set foot on the stage.

The performance was okay. It was quite entertaining and involved a lot of acrobatics, but I was hoping for more of an authentic experience. The group was from Togo but performed dances from all over the continent, and in some cases it was obvious that they weren’t comfortable with the moves. I would like to go back next week, however, because the venue was spectacular. The concert was outdoors and there was a bar and kabob vendor next to the stage. Every Wednesday there are new performances, and admission is only one Cedi. Also, the ride there only cost me 1.5 Cedis.

Afterwards, Willan went to say hello to a few of his friends (you may remember I mentioned a Cuban man and his French wife at an Irish Pub two weeks ago), and I convinced he and Justine to stay for a while. There were about ten French speaking people surrounding me, and I only understood portions of the conversation (thank you Spanish class!), but I still had a great time. Everyone was very friendly and sometimes translated what was being said for me. They spoke about the plight of Francophones in Ghana, and also reminisced about Burkina Faso and Benin, where the majority of the group were from. The bartenders eventually kicked us out, so we made our way home to power and water!

Practical Ghanaian Travel Tip #61: Trotros do actually stop running late at night. Expect to spend a considerable amount of time waiting for one after a pub crawl, or consider a shared taxi to your destination.

Random Fact #62: Rita Marley lives in Aburi, only 1 hour away from Pokuase! When she is around, she gives tours of her recording studio. I am totally checking it out this weekend.

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