Hello and welcome back to Team Ghana’s Travel Blog. This week has been incredibly busy, so let’s jump right in! We started the week off running, meeting with the headmistress of the basic school at UENR about a possible summer youth program on Monday. Also, our phone call and check in with our fabulous leader, Mary Raber, went very well. The team departed from our hostel in Sunyani early Tuesday morning and arrived in Babianeha just two hours later after a minor mixup with our taxi driver. From there we were greeted by our friend and guide, Evans, along with his “brother” Solomon who runs the community center. The women’s health workshop we put on in both Babienaha and Badukrom went so well that in the latter we had to bring in additional seating due to how many girls wanted to join in! After two amazing (and exhausting) workshops Team Ghana went back to the Opuni household and took a lunch of fish stew in tomato sauce before heading back out to Badukrom where we met the chief. He and his son, nicknamed Sacrifice, told us the story of how the town was founded by a man who was running from french slavers and ended up in Ghana. The people of Babienaha ended up giving him a plot of land as well as a kingship, and his descendants still live in the town to this very day. After out interview with the chief we said our tearful goodbyes to the people of Babienaha and returned home.
After waking up so early to go to Babienaha, we thought our one meeting on Wednesday would be pretty easy and low intensity. It was not. We met with Charity, an african studies lecturer who was introduced to us by Dr. Asamoah at the University of Energy and Natural Resources. She lead us on a whirlwind talk, bouncing between different subjects like different Ghanaian customs or the English translations of some nearby villages, and even ended up introducing us to the people who ran the cultural center in Sunyani. While we got more than we bargained for, the team felt that the meeting was one of the most productive and thought provoking they had had thus far. Following the meeting, all who attended promptly took a nap for at least a couple hours. The following day, the boys became very ill but the girls continued to soldier on meeting with Dr. Phyllis Opare to discuss design thinking and STEM workshops. It turns out UENR already had a STEM fair in the spring semester but they were open to the idea of collaborating with us to do one in the summer! Sonja continued being awesome that night, frying up yams that we had bought in the market to make delicious yam fries which were heartily eaten by all.
On Friday we picked up the gorgeous hand-tailored Ghanaian outfits we had ordered the previous week. Everyone was super pleased with how their outfits looked, but less pleased on how they fit. Sonja even had to cut herself out of her dress with a pair of scissors and Lianne couldn’t even put hers on. Never fear though, they’ll be sent back to the tailor and all will be well. Additionally, we found out how to make dough for Buflot, a kind of Ghanaian donut. Nana, one our hosts, taught us along with her extended family. We’ll have to try making some when we get back to the states! On Saturday morning, we made the early trek to see the Buflot being fried, which was done in the kitchen on a charcoal oven. The Buflot themselves were too hot to eat there, and had to cool while we met with Prince Bonnah Marfo at the cultural center. At the cultural center we learned how the center uses the power of theatre to teach lessons and bring about social change through what was basically human centered design. They were also very excited about the village name project and were willing to turn the stories into radio plays or even ones on stage.
Sunday was our day of rest from our long, eventful week. We washed clothes, wrote in our journals and generally took stock before our long trip on Tuesday of the next week. It’s so odd to see how much of your life can fit into a couple bags, and it’s hard to believe that we’ve been here four weeks. Nana and Emmanuel also had us over for a Ghanaian feast at their home, with groundnut and tomato soups, fried chicken, plantains and yams, as well as egg salad and rice. It was some of the most delicious food we had eaten all month. Literally everything was cooked to perfection and every single plate was practically licked clean. In addition to eating amazing food, it was fun to see Emmanuel and Nanas family as well as just hanging out with them. We talked late into the night, talking about Michigan Tech, Russia and plans for the future, and we were all really sad to leave at the end of the night.
That’s all for this week, keep watching for next week’s report. We’ll be in Cape coast touring slave dungeons and hanging out on the beach!