Our of the door, into the World


Ghana. It isnít mind- blowing, fun or inspirational. There is no respect for hygiene or no sense of adventure. Itís pretty banal... and itís my home. With the state of our economy, where can a person go? I decided not to look at it from that depressing (but true) perspective. They say ĎA Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Stepí and even though I donít have enough in the piggy bank to go a thousand miles, the Ďsingle stepí part was encouraging. And so my day began where all travellers begin their day, with that first step out the front door.
The streets of Jamestown were bursting with colours, crafts and cultures on this fine Saturday of November. After enduring the smell of the infamous Korle Lagoon (you donít want to know what gives its scent), I was engulfed in the music and festivities of the Chalewote Arts Festival and lost in the frenzy as random strangers pulled me around for a dance and (I donít know if it had anything to do with my gender ) free booze. The road running through the party was blocked and typical Ghanaians were swearing to the delight of the traffic wardens, who actually didnít mind getting into a fight or ten (but then what are peacemakers for anyway). My face was painted like a tiger and two of my friends, Kweku and Aba, had to go and throw up in the sea because they were cheap drunks. Caucasians who were sharing a French kiss in the middle of the street were chased off by masqueraders to everyoneís content (Ghanaians are not so into public displays of affection). Walking through the street was like walking through an art gallery with pieces on the floor, on the walls and on the faces of pedestrians. The only building without colour or graffiti was the Usher Fort Prison, which got me thinking about how the prisoners felt about what was going on outside.
The sun was setting now and so we paid the fine to go up the lighthouse. The climb up would have been easier if the liquor werenít free. We stayed up there and saw everything. The sky slowly lost its blue and was replaced with hues of yellow, then orange, then red, and then darkness crept in. The sun had been killed by the horizon and drowned by the ocean. Looking down at the festival, everything was loud and the cultural drums of the morning had given way to the bass drums of modern music. A stage had been mounted and there were lights, performances, and (still) drinks. Being on the lighthouse gave us this amazing view until some guard came to kill our fun by asking us to leave because we were holding up a line. Itís scarier going down the steep winding staircase of the cylinder- shaped building but whatís even funnier was the epic hand washing we had install- courtesy of the staff- because of none other than Ebola. And guess what; they gave us the napkin they had given over a hundred other people.
Ghana. It isnít mind- blowing for those who fail to open their minds to it. It isnít fun for those who fail to have fun. Neither is it inspirational to those who arenít looking for inspiration. The hygiene is honestly bad but the adventure lies hidden in every turn. It can be banal to the banal...and itís my home. We travel to find experiences, to make memories and to meet others. I was lucky enough to have all these things happen to me just because I chose to take that first step out of my front door.

Yaa Serwaa Ampomah Osei

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