Monday, August 11, 2008

In the (Ghana) News

I admit that I get tired of watching the local news in Ghana--it seems to be on all the time. But it is interesting to see what is news here, and how the country feels about certain things. A few interesting news stories...

Girl Pays Way for College: They did a 5 minute story on a girl who goes to the University of Ghana and "humbles" herself by working as a trader part time to help pay for her tuition. People here are shocked that a girl "of her level" in life would do such a "menial" job as frying yams on the side of the road and selling outside of the university. At first people thought she was doing it as a joke. Once they realized she was really doing this, they were shocked. Now most people support her in a "I wouldn't do it but more power to her!" sort of way. When I saw this story I thought about all of the thousands and thousands of traders that might be watching and feel "less than" because of how this story was presented. But then...most traders probably don't have televisions in their homes. Sometimes the class system really shows it's ugly head here.

Traditional Games: They are doing a news series on the loss of traditional games in today's Ghanaian children. They actually took a group of school children and taught them a game called Pilolo (or maybe Opilolo, I'm going by the sound). It's a treasure hunt game. I guess it has fallen out of popularity with this generation but has been a game in Ghana for hundreds of years. The older generation are sad that "computers and internet are ruining" today's generation. They interviewed children who said they never heard of the game, but knew the game Ampe. Ampe is another traditional game where children compete by doing hop-skip combinations at the same time (hard to explain and I can't learn it to save my life). Anyway, I thought it was interesting to see the story, and the game of Pilolo itself.

Barrack Obama: Yes, he is BIG news in Ghana. Actually, you can buy Obama bracelets and such in Osu. It's funny to come to Ghana and be approached to buy US political paraphernalia! They did a long news story on him tonight in which they likened him to the Messiah--coming to save the world. Seriously. At the top of the Ghana music charts is a song called "Barrack Obama" (it's currently stuck in my head), and you even hear the song as a cell phone ring tone! People here seem to base their opinions of him mostly on race ("coming to save the black man"), which is interesting because I truly don't believe that MOST people in America are doing the same thing. It seems that Ghanaian people believe if there is a black man in the white house their lives will be better. Maybe they assume that he will automatically be more attuned to the needs of Africa than a white president would be? I don't know. Maybe he will be, but I certainly don't make the same assumption.

What's not in the news? The Olympics. =-( They showed the last 15 minutes or so of the opening ceremony last night (while you all enjoyed all 4 hours in the US!). I haven't seen a single event today, and I've been looking. They didn't even TALK about the Olympics on the news. I asked a friend today if they showed the Olympics here and he had to think about it for a second before he even knew what I was talking about. He said, "Olympics? Who cares. This is an election year." Okay then. In the meantime, my husband in America shared with me that Ghana has nine Olympians in the games. Taevy's Cambodia has 3. Samren's Vietnam (he thought) had 30-something. I guess if you didn't have someone from your country to route for in each event the Olympics wouldn't be nearly as fun.

P.S. I bought a pretty dress today but it is transparent--very transparent. I called Muna (our administrator) to ask how women here wear that type of dress. She said, "Ani...we have this thing here called underwear." Really? They do?! She was talking about a full slip, but that sentence just cracked me up--like underwear was a new concept to me. Although...I never have my underwear washed here (too embarrassed to see the big tidy whities drying on the line, so I bring enough for every day I'm here), so maybe she thinks I go commando?! LOL!

Anita Gillispie
AAI Ghana Coordinator
Mom to Taevy (7,Cambodia); Samren (6, Vietnam), and Bright (2, Ghana)


K 4:58 PM  

Funny about the Obama thing....

A news story just came out in the Italian edition of Vanity Fair saying that it had found George Hussein Onyango Obama. He is reportedly, Barack's half-brother who is living in a shanty town on less than a $1/day.

According to George, Barack has met him twice.

I think Africans would be a little disappointed to learn that.

Praying things are well in your world!
Your babies are adorable, and Bright is getting so BIG! :)
No one would guess he once struggled as he did!

K :)