Life in Ghana

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).


About Ryan

I'm serving in Ghana as a Peace Corps volunteer for 27 months. View all posts by Ryan

6 responses to “Life in Ghana

  • Spencer

    Of all the things to bring to Africa you picked a plaid shirt? Also, What are you doing in this picture?

    • Ryan

      We have to wear collared shirts, it’s culturally inappropriate to wear anything else when working or going to school. But, wait until you see the African shirts I’m having made.

  • Houtan

    Kwaku Agyeman! Fiiiiiiinnallly, someone with a first and last name that’s as hard to pronounce as my own!! Lol. I’m glad things are going well so far. I’m looking forward to reading your blog. Since I can’t stop thinking about eating, I’m curious, what are the top five foods you miss so far? Oh, and welcome to the shave head club!

  • Carinne

    Hi Ryan!
    Its your sister, Carinne. I’ve been reading your blog and the meals sound delicious! What is in the soup, meat or vegetables? Are you making bread in the picture you posted?

    • Ryan

      The meals are okay. But there isn’t a lot of variation. Also, I’m eating a lot of carbs. When I move out I’ll be able to cook for myself though. Most soups contain ground up onions, tomatos, pepper, cocoa yam leaves and/or moringa. For protein its egg, chicken, and/or fish.

      In the picture, I’m making fufu. It’s pounded cassava and plantain. The result is a gooey ball that we use to eat our soups with.

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