In Ghana greeting people is a must. If you are walking down the street it is viewed as offensive to not greet someone you know. If you do not greet, you are rude and only care about yourself. The greeting process is also longer in Ghana than it is in America. First, you tell the person good morning/afternoon/evening and the person responds. Then, you ask how the person how he/she is and the person responds. Then, if you are adept in the local language (which I am not), you ask how the person’s family and extended family. So if you greet every person you know, it can take forever to walk to class.
There are tons of children in our village and they all want to say hello to the “obrunis”. Obruni means foreigner or white person in Twi. Every time I walk down the street there are bound to be children yelling “obruni” at me. Although it seems yelling white person at someone would be offensive, calling someone obruni is not offensive or derogatory in Ghana. It is just a way for the children to get your attention because they do not know your name. If I’m in a friendly mood I respond to the children with my name and ask how they are doing. If not, I respond with “obinini”, which means black person (this is not offensive as my host family told me I can respond this way).
Ghanaians don’t believe in using silverware. They just cut out the middleman and use their food to eat their food. For instance, most meals consist of a starch (ie. rice, boiled yams, fried plantains) and a soup or stew. So they dip the starch in the stew and chow down that way. One such starch is fufu, which is pounded plantain, yam, cassava, or some mixture of the three. The result is a malleable, doughy ball that you dip into your soup and eat. The catch is that there is no chewing involved – just dip the fufu into the soup and swallow (all done with your hands).