Trying To Fit In

I have tried some different approaches to integrate into Ghanaian society. I have had dresses made in Ghanaian materials and styles, eaten the spicy foods (with my right hand of course) and learned the difference between the different starchy staples. I have drank Star beer and ginger juice, cheered for Kotoko Hearts in soccer and come to appriciate that in social situations providing details is not required (i.e. saying "I'm coming, eh" when leaving).

I have reached some understanding into the culture and I walk my guests out- longer than to the gate -, also I argue about small change when I think the taxi is too expensive and I can sustain a discussion about Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah for hours.

But by far, the most efficient way to become a part of my new world has been trying to pick up the local language, Twi. Me da wo ase (thanks) and Afehyia pa (Happy New Year!) has made people laugh and take to me like no dress or taxi fight ever did. How I wish that in my homeland Sweden a tack or gott nytt! could do the same for those trying to integrate there.

In the pic from yesterday I try to fit in to a kids pool area in a seaside restaurant in Tema.

2 comments:

Tonårsmorsa said...

Just wanted to let you know that I found your blog trough Nadja and I just love it.

This post is wonderful cause it reminds me of when I stayed in Gambia and tryed to fit in. Well, I think I succed but it causted me wonded hands and lots of misunderstandings. But I use the excuse that I was young that time (21 years)...
http://tonarsmorsa.se/2006/11/25/pigdebatten-afrika-europa-eller-att-ta-reda-pa-sin-egen-skit-tonarsmorsa/

By the way, one of my tight friends just came back from Ghana (She´s half Swedish, half Swaziland, but her husband is a Ghanian man).

Enjoy your staying!

(Normaly I stay away from blogs in English, simply because I use to be to lazy to read them, but this one will be hard to stay away from...!)

http://tonarsmorsa.se

idealistico said...

Hey there,

Interesting insights. As a language teacher and as someone who has lived abroad for longer periods more than once, I feel that speaking the language is the ONLY way to integrate no matter where.
Languages are the carriers of culture. Without them one can never even begin to enter a different society. Expressions like "takk for maten" (is it used in Sweden too?), though easily translated - eg thank you for the food, can only be understood when thought about from a cultural point of view.

So, good luck with Twi. =)

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