by Ryan Trinidad (written on August 3)
The second installment of our discussion about identity and such is today. Again, the group as a whole has amazing dialogue. Nationality, culture, and ethnicity factored themselves into the conversation and everyone in it. As the discussion came to a close I believe many people came full circle with their identities. I know I did.
We have come to Ghana to not only help define our own identity, but also the identity of the communities here. Therefore, we started in the village in which we stay currently, Kokrobitey. So we formulated questions and went out to our favorite sandwich shop across the street, the Cafeteria. The small business is run by a few men from the Ivory Coast – mainly by two great guys by the name of Nelson and Dodongon. Talking to them on such a personal and informal level was one of the best experiences here thus far. Don’t get me wrong, the tourist spots are amazing and I love them. But sitting down face to face with someone and getting to know them is just as good as any museum. I learned so much about Nelson and Dodongon. They taught me something that I always knew, but they made it even more clear to me, clearer than any other time in my life. They taught me that no matter where you are in the world, as people we all struggle with life. Life doesn’t discriminate on race, location, wealth, nothing. We all go through troubles and we all try to get over them with what we have. A simple interview for a quick assignment turned into a deep one and a half hour conversation about life. With this situation we related. Who would’ve known a young man from Tacoma could relate to a chef in Ghana who is from the Ivory Coast?
Mid-day we have some time to go to the beach. Greg and I decide to be the first ones at the beach and enjoy it as long as we can. The sand here is a direct 180 to what we are used to in Washington. The sand is tan. It’s soft and there aren’t any rocks. To top it all off, the water isn’t that cold. Greg and I lose track of time and two hours pass by. This is something that I will definitely miss when I get back home.
The next thing we did relates back to the topic of simple living and enjoying the little things in life. We end the night off by learning and playing some African board games with the trainees on campus. From first glance the three games look like Mancala, Checkers, Trouble, and Chutes and Ladders. Knowing the little kid mindset I have I go straight to the game that looks like trouble. All the games are really similar to what we are all used to but they are a little different. To make a long story short, the big difference is that all the games have a few more rules that allow you to almost cheat your opponents. What does this mean? It means I lost at every game, every time. But it was just good to have simple fun. I don’t remember the last time I played checkers. Sometimes being around good people and a conversation is better than anything you can buy at a store…
Finally, here is a look at some dishes we’ve had in Ghana…Enjoy!