Day 11

While I failed to mention this in my Day 10 post, I should say now that, when I got back to my room around 8PM on Friday, I could hear the faint (but annoying) bass track bumping from the nearby church. The music wasn't extremely loud, so though it was a little annoying that it was still going on at 10PM, I fell asleep and didn't think much of it. That is, until the music woke me up again at 2AM, though this time it went way beyond a dull bass and had escalated to a steady drumming. The drumming was much harder to tune out and, every time I managed to fall asleep for a few minutes, I was woken up yet again. I eventually gave up on sleep at 6AM and sat up to try and read my book, though the music played steady until 8AM. I found out at this point that this was no ordinary church service, but a funeral. A funeral. From 7PM on a Friday until 8AM on a Saturday. Apparently, Ghanaians take the tradition of a "wake" very seriously, and literally stay awake with the bodies all night before the funeral. Also, noise restrictions are clearly not a thing here because, while I felt like calling the cops on the drummers much as I would an obnoxious house party, the police barely set foot in this part of town. And, frankly, no one cares. 

I was actually invited to the funeral that morning by some of the teachers who were attending, though I found it a bit rude to attend an event mourning someone I had never met (plus, my cold had worsened and I couldn't spend 5 minutes without grabbing a tissue). Through this invitation I learned about another aspect of Ghanaian culture--when there is a funeral, the whole world is invited. In fact, if someone dies and their grandson's friend's neighbor doesn't show up, it's actually considered a bit rude. 

By the time 8AM rolled around, the funeral (thankfully) decided to move venues and I was granted a bit of peace. Though it was impossible to go back to sleep at this point, I was able to have a pretty relaxing morning reading my book, lounging around, and nursing my cold. Around noon, Mariana (who had stayed the night at her boyfriend's house) called me up to ask if I'd want to meet her and Quasi at the school that he works at. This sounded perfect, as the food festival (which I thought was July 9th but was actually July 2nd) was right down the block. The icing on the cake was the fact that the school has super fast wi-fi, which meant that I could finally send a client the 2000 photos I had owed her for a few weeks now (whoops). I hopped two tro tros to the school, and was then ushered through the guarded gates by Mariana and Quesi.

When I saw that this Kindergarten-through-High School had guarded gates I was initially a bit taken aback. That is before I realized how beautiful this school is (and expensive too--about $20,000 a year to attend). The school, called Lincoln, is an international school almost exclusively attended by 1st world transplants whose Daddies signed contracts worth major money for agreeing to relocate to Ghana. The school has a gigantic, crystal clear swimming pool, a soccer field, and a massive basketball court. These things were all I was able to see of the school, but painted a clear enough picture of what the rest of the grounds were like. As my photographs uploaded, I got "basketball lessons" from Quasi (who is a professional basketball player as well as the school's basketball coach). Regardless of the fact that I am terribly and unredeemingly bad at basketball, I had a good time dribbling the ball around and then kicking Quasi's butt in a quick soccer match. 

The  beautiful  pool...

The beautiful pool...

The beautiful basketball court...

The beautiful basketball court...

After my photos had finished uploading, we headed across the street to the festival. Unfortunately, we did not know that the festival required tickets to enter (and buying one on the spot was a bit more costly than we were comfortable with), so we took a shared taxi to Osu and grabbed an early dinner at the fabulous, authentic Ghanaian KFC. This was pretty much the first time since I've been here that I was able to find chicken without bones in it (my 7 year vegetarian stint has left me a bit jaded), so I was quick to inhale my meal.

It's kind of funny, because just before I left for this trip my parents were recounting a scene from one of their favorite shows: Survivor. For those that don't watch the show, the contestants barely have any food to eat on a daily basis since they have to scavenge/hunt for their own sustenance, though when they win challenges they are treated to "first world treats" such as hamburgers or pizza. My parents told me that, in one episode, there was an older man whose team had just won hamburgers in their challenge. Because he was so protein-deprived, he ate like six burgers in a row and had to get airlifted to the hospital since his stomach was not used to so much food at once. Ironically enough, that's pretty much exactly what happened to me at the KFC, and I ate my chicken strips so fast that I had major, major stomach pains. 

Oxford Street (mirrored after the one in London) in Osu: one of the nicest neighborhoods in Accra. 

Oxford Street (mirrored after the one in London) in Osu: one of the nicest neighborhoods in Accra. 

After a quick stop at the Shop Rite across the street, I took a tro tro home. Victor, Quasi and Mariana went on to hang out at Victor's house, but I was really not feeling well and needed some rest. Though I was exhausted by the time that I got back to the school, Sir Gideon called me over and wanted to have a chat. Because Gideon is the headmaster here, I can pretty confidently say that he is the most educated person at the school (I mean this in a book smart way, but also just in a general-world-awareness type of way). For example, Gideon actually defended me on the whole Obama-is-the-antichrist thing and challenged the students to review their internet sources before jumping to conclusions. While Gideon is a very strict, conservative Christian, and thus denounces homosexuality, drinking, premarital sex, etc., I have found him to be at least accepting of the fact that not everyone lives their life the same way he lives his. We chatted about Ghanaian sex education (or lack thereof, i.e. the period situation), why some Christians seem to weigh some sins as graver than others (like, why is it ok to eat shrimp but not be gay?), and the Ghanaian moral code (apparently, Becky taking my bread is not considered "stealing" for them, and the teachers take each others things all the time with no problem). It was pretty dark outside and I didn't have any bug spray on, but I thought my eventual itchiness to be worth it to have such an amazingly open and inquisitive conversation. Even though I wish I could make the teachers feel the same way I do about issues such as gay marriage, I know that this is pretty much impossible... so it is at least nice to know that, even though most Ghanaians think homosexuality is a sin, there are also some Ghanaians who will "tolerate" it. It's not a total moral home run, but it's something, right?