This past week was my mid-semester break, I was able to travel to the Western Region and I got to experience a whole different kind of life style than the one I have been living for the last few short months. I was able to go stay with a friends sister in a town called Sekondi and got to see how my friend Dorcas and her family live their lives. The village I stayed at was right along the coast, so the biggest source of income for most people is fishing. My friend’s father happens to be a night fisher and he told me that the fish were plenty! I also got to see some of the fishermen repair their boats and nets which took hours and hours.
I think while I was in Sekondi, I experienced the most overwhelming sense of being the minority. Literally from half a mile away people were yelling “Obruni! Obruni!” (White person or foreigner) which normally never bothers me, but this time it was extremely overwhelming how many children and adults were calling me. When I got the village of my friend Dorcas about 15 children surrounded me, dancing for me and saying all kinds of things in the Fante language and enjoying that I could not understand. I was also getting my hair braided and about 20 people came to watch that and several women introduced me to their brothers who were by no means shy. The last dinner I had there I was again surrounded by another large group of children and old women who were not yelling at me, just yelling as if it was my hearing instead of a language barrier. In my time in Ghana, this has by far been one of my most uncomfortable moments. I just kept trying to remind myself that I am something as new and unfamiliar to them as they are to me.
The point of my journey was to reach a small village called Nzulezo on the Amasuri Lagoon, yes ON the lagoon. The entire is village is built up on stilts using rubber trees. The stilts are replaced about every five years and there is about 24 small houses, a school from 1st to 6th grade, a community center, and two small worship rooms that can hold about 6 people each. Once you get to the town before the stilt village, there is about a 40 minute walk and then about a 45 minute canoe ride. The landscape was tropical and beautiful. I was able to spend the night in Nzulezo and it was a great experience, but I think once was enough for me. The lagoon water is used for everything- bathing, drinking, going to the bathroom, brushing your teeth, cooking- EVERYTHING. The bugs were big! I even had a surprise visit from a mouse! However, I had to keep reminding myself that even though this was new and uncomfortable for me, the people here live normal everyday lives this way. It brought me a great sense of appreciation for the small things that I lack where I stay in Accra (like not having power or water for small amounts of time) I think the hardest part for me would be to not have access to certain things like food or fresh water or a toilet, or to have an emergency and not be able to get help. Unfortunately that is true of most rural areas around the world.