Monday, January 10, 2011


Okay, work stuff first. I’ve been doing a lot of trainings. First we trained kids the difference between child work and child labour in the cocoa sector, then we prepared adults (who are going to be “patrons” of Child’s Rights Clubs) for our upcoming project where we are going to get kids to make a Child Labour Monitoring mechanism/tool thing for them and their community to use to stop and prevent hazardous forms of child labour (trying to encourage them to do child work instead which isn’t harmful to their health/development/education), THEN we trained kids how to conduct interviews and to advocate for something using the media. We are going to get them to interview juveniles who are in correctional centres to see which essential services they are receiving and what rights are being violated then the kids have to take what they’ve learnt and advocate for change where it’s needed. That’s the most of it. The trainings are pretty fun. What’s even better is reading their evaluation forms for the training. Some of them complain of other students being late and others note a copy the clapping pattern kind of game that we played as the “most difficult part of the training”.

Don’t Laugh
So public transit here involves these Volkswagen van kinda things that seat about twenty people. The side door to get into some of them are a little lower than most people are prepared for, so everyone is always hitting their head as they’re getting in and out, and every time it happens, everyone says “Sorry oh.” Because they are sorry for making the person hit their head? Anyways, they are usually sympathetic, so when I was with my Canadian friend/colleague (Eve) and I bumped MY head, her Canadian intuition to laugh at pain was not well received. People couldn’t understand why I was smiling and she was laughing, one lady gave Eve the DIRTIEST look and asked her, “Why are you laughing?!” as if Eve had just banged my head on the door frame or something. Note to self, continue feeling bad for other people’s clumsiness. Their sympathy is actually nice most of the times. If you trip or something, a stranger will be saying sorry and making sure you’re okay. Sometimes they’ll just laugh at you, but usually people are comforting.

Spending Christmas in a hot place is definitely one of the weirdest things ever. I thought the city of Accra was definitely loosing it when they put a very oversized Christmas tree at one of the major intersections. It’s 30 degrees, why are they thinking that’s its anywhere close to December. After checking my calendar, sure enough, they were right, it WAS December. but there was no snow, how could it be anything after august. Part of me still feels like I’ve only been here for like 2 months because it’s been the same season the entire time I’ve been here (while Ghanaians will argue that it’s actually just turned into the dry season, I’m sure they’ve just made imaginary seasons because they were jealous of our winter, it’s still just as hot and just as sweaty). Anyways, I think it’s for the best because Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t really miss it too much cause it didn’t really feel like it. I guess it also helps that most people here don’t really do the Christmas thing. I think a bunch of people go to church and such, but mostly it’s just a normal day that everyone gets to take off work. ALSO, people actually say “X-Mas” like the phrase, “Happy X-Mas” was seriously said to me.

New identity
So here in Ghana, they call foreigners obruni. It’s been getting pretty old lately cause around EVERY corner, someone finds it necessary to yell obruni, not because they want to talk to you, or warn you of a potential life threat, but just to point out the fact that you’re white. Because of this, I have warmly welcomed my new classification as Chinese. I think it’s because of my latest hair “chop” (I went to the barber shop next door to my work for a $4 hair cut. after I woke the guy up and educated him on the need to wet my hair before cutting it [which he did with a bowl of water] he tried to cut my hair, but his scissors were to dull. He said, “I don’t know what to do.” then pulled out a blade mechanism thing that they used shave men’s beards in the old days and started hacking away. he wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted because the woman in the picture I showed him had blonde hair, and that just confused him, so he got creative. anyways, after a little guidance and a week of growing, it’s cool now.) So now, I think about six times I’ve been walking down the street and kids yell after me, “China! China!” and I wave.