“Mema wo akye!”
I called bravely from behind the barrier created by breakfast sausages. The sausages, I was told, were beef, had been sliced down the middle, and now looked like broken old pool noodles.
The lady serving breakfast looked up, smiled and responded, “Wo ho te sEn?”
Woa, I thought, she actually understood what I said, now for the next bit of Twi I had learnt the night before.
“Me ho yE pa, meda w’ase! Wo nsoE?” Bam I’m on fire, look at me go! I had just greeted someone in Twi, responded to the question of how I was, and had further inquired how the other person was.
“EyE, meda w’ase”, she responded. She then continued, had my accent been so compelling that she thought that I could speak twi? The next bit of the conversation sounded like this:
“eooioieeob ajajdijdih rhihdhffiuhd tuheuheuha pjijojzzzpojj iejieeoppejepjff Pa!!! hljhdhduhalklauihsl Pa!”
All I knew from what she was saying was “Pa”, this is used to emphasize something in Twi, so what ever was being said, it was important to her. My response, “two fried eggs please”.
Twi is the language spoken by the Asante people of Ghana, I was in Ghana for work, a job on my calendar I had been waiting for all year. Experiencing West Africa has been a dream of mine since childhood. The music, language, and tales have always had an allure for me. Now I was finally there, greeting and asking for breakfast in Twi, well the greeting anyway, I’ll get to asking for breakfast. It had been a lengthy process getting here, a host of vaccines (these made me ill, despite what the doctor says), back and forth paperwork to get work visas, a seven hour flight to Accra from Johannesburg, another flight from Accra to Kumasi, and then a very long bus ride in high congestion and on asteroid pelted road surfaces to get to Obuasi; a small mining town that was to be our home for the next three weeks.
The majority of my trip was for work purposes, and I would yet again be confined to four walls and a roof, sigh, one of these days I’ll be the new famous African Explorer, but for now, I have to survive corporate slavery, at least the company in the room would be good, the team that came with me and the team from Ghana I had met the day before, were all friendly, fun loving, and a pleasure to be around. Despite being there for work, I was going to explore the hell out of my weekends, this I did, and I am proud of the experiences I accumulated and the knowledge I gained of myself.
Travel is a ‘doing’ and most lessons and knowledge come from ‘doing’. You can, which I had, learn about a place or topic, but actually experiencing it, is where the greatest trajectory of learning is located. Challenging oneself out of one’s comfort zone grows you. Wisdom cannot be bought, it is experienced.
The full story will told in three parts, this is part one, the taster.
Catch part two for the next part of my adventure into Ghana: Akwaaba – Kumasi (Out Soon)