It’s only been a week, but actually it feels much longer since I’ve landed here in Accra.
I’ve done so much: Reggie Rockstone, often referred to the Ghanaian ‘GrandPaPa’ or the Godfather of HipLife, hosted myself and the other 16 members of the group at his club, Rockstone’s Office. The experience was short-lived yet fun; however, we returned the following night for dancing, drinks and HipLife music. HipLife is a culture driven by rap music which fuses Twi, one of the languages spoken in Ghana, and English
Since I’ve been here once before, the culture shock is not as grandiose as the other group members, but some things still caught me off guard…
Above is a photo representation of the market, which I found at the Artist Alliance Gallery here in Accra is totallyaccurate. As part of the market hustle, vendors are overtly aggressive, grabbing, pulling, shouting and tugging at potential buyers as a way to get them interested in their goods. The vendors would hiss or blatantly assert ‘you do not want to buy from me!’ trying to guilt unwilling consumers into making a purchase. Didn’t work for me though! Nonetheless the market was a great experience, seeing the different cloths, foods and other good that are for sale.
Another trick I learned was bargaining. A vendor would double the price of an item, in part because they wanted to gain more profit for their goods, but mostly because you are an obruni–which can be roughly translated as foreigner.
During my week of orientation with the staff and the other students, we also visited Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s mausoleum, as he was the first Ghanaian president. According to the guide, the grounds on which the mausoleum was built was once only reserved for whites who played polo. After several decades, when Ghana gained its independence in March 1957, Dr. Nkrumah reclaimed the land in the name of Pan-Africanism and independence.
On my last day of work at Nordstrom, I sit here realizing the reality of my decision to study abroad in Ghana. For those of you that don’t know, Ghana is a country in West Africa and New York University offers its students the opportunity to study, live and totally immerse in the Ghanaian culture.
Although I am totally excited– you can imagine I’m anxious, nervous and all of the above. How to manage four months without a job, a familiar environment or the luxuries/comforts of my own home– I truly don’t know.
But enough about my worries…
My name is Anika, and I’m a senior at NYU. I live and commute from Mt. Vernon to the East Village, and one day I gained enough courage to submit an application to study abroad. As a student of color in the Opportunities Program at NYU, I had 100 trillion doubts about going to live in another country for four months. At 13, I had my first job so I couldn’t imagine what it would be like without working for that long– let alone imagine leaving the bittersweet chaotic melody of NYC.
I’ve been shopping a lot lately under the premise of “I’m going to be abroad for four months, so why not?”
These Supra Women’s Belay in Purple seem similar to the Vans Authentic Slim fit, but I wanted to try something different. They’re something that I could do with a cuffed denim short, a cute tank, graphic tee or oversized denim shirt!Etsy.com too. It’s a lot to take in: studying abroad, leaving my family, the comfort of a life that I’ve known for 21 years. Shopping is my current method of therapy, but I’m sure the reality of an insufficient funds alert will wake me right up!