Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Ghanaian Funeral: Part 3


Funerals are a huge deal in Ghana. There are many rules and regulations because tradition says that the dead watch over the living to make sure they are fulfilling their family responsibilities. Here is a brief background surrounding the funeral process.

If there is more than one death in a family, the oldest must be buried first, no matter how long someone else might have been dead. Bodies can be preserved by keeping them on ice. This insures that the family can have funeral clothes made and make the funeral preparations. It is a very expensive process, but of utmost importance in society.

Children under the age of eighteen are not given funeral rites. It is believed that if you perform a funeral for a child that the spirits will come back and take another child.

After a death, the spirit is believed to hang around for about forty days. Traditionally the family would have to sleep in the same room as the corpse, but with westernization many of these things are changing. Today most people still wear mourning clothes and eat only light foods forty days following the death of a close family member.

The burial is held before the funeral. The body is carried in a taxi with a parade of family members and friends behind it. This part of the funeral is more personal and private than the large funeral where the entire community is invited. As people follow the taxi they should cheer and dance, celebrating the life of the person lived. Some weep, and the sorrow is still present even though it is not readily apparent with a brief glance. While the burial is performed, the widow goes off and breaks a pot to signify that the marriage is over.

I cannot help but admire the funeral rites of Ghanaians. I think there is something to this celebration that they keep keying into. Death is inevitable, but what of the blessing that person was in this world and the happiness we shared with the loved one? Walking back from the burial I ran into Danielle. She turned to me and asked, “What is the party for?” I hope someday mine will be similar, and that someone else too could respond, “It is a funeral.”


(Field Notes 17.13, 24.3-10, 34.10-18, 87.6 Picture Files 0605)

A Ghanaian Funeral: Part 2

Seventh Day Celebration:

It was too hot to go to another funeral. Jones had invited us the other day, and we agreed for the sake of being polite. Hadn’t I already been to a funeral? I crawled out of the comfort of my mosquito net, pushed my sweaty hair back from my forehead, dropped my book and followed my friends to the taxi station. Turns out that this was nothing like the funeral I first experienced.

An hour later we arrived in Mampong. Jones was there waiting for us with a friend he called his brother. He told us that this was the Seventh Day Celebration part of the funeral rites. It is held a week after the death to raise money for the funeral expenses and to begin the celebrations surrounding the life of the individual. You can wear anything but white, but most people were wearing your typical red and black attire. Anyone and everyone should come. These Ghanaian funerals are not cheap.

I took a deep breath and plunged into the crowd, going through the clumsy routine I was only half sure of, trying to maintain an impossibly low profile being white and all. I greeted the elders, vacillated between good eye contact, bowing, and offered my condolences for the death through an abysmal greeting in clobbered Twi. I was so engrossed in keeping up the routine that I didn’t notice that Jones’ “brother” was holding my hand. When he got an inch away from my lips I clued in, pulled away, and then got kissed on the ear.

Recovering from the shock of it we went out back where the family was serving Fanta and Coke products, much like a regular funeral. Brother sat right beside me. I leaned towards Maggie.

“Is this a kissing culture?”
“Definitely not.”
“Did he kiss you?”
“I hardly know…”

We sat there for a half an hour. I could only use my language barrier as a shield for so long before Brother’s proposals drifted to the other white girls in the group. After hanging around for the polite thirty minutes we decided it was time to make our donation and catch the fastest tro-tro back to Wiamoase.

We ended up having the whole car to ourselves and laughed the entire way home. If that was not a cultural experience, or even a funeral experience, tell me then, where is a story like this supposed to go?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Ghanaian Funeral: Part 1


Funerals are held on the first weekend of the month. People always die, and so there are always funerals. It did not take me long after looking over this invitation to realize this was like nothing I had ever experienced before.


This fancy program is typical of a Ghanaian funeral. These programs are very expensive, but performing funeral rites correctly is taken very seriously. They believe that the spirit of the family member holds them responsible for the procession. You must be 18 or older to attend.

Important Plants of Ghana

Ghana is blessed with rich and fertile soil. Agriculture is the main source of income for Ghanaians, and there are an abundant amount of indigenous trees and plants, as well as some imported ones, like cocoa. They are beneficial not just for food, but also for medical purposes. Many people today still stay away from the local clinics and use their own remedies, and most of them work.

Learning the plants turned out to be a fun experience. It is how the local children would teach us Twi. I also learned that many of the schools in Ghana have farms in order to provide a little extra money to better their school. This is important to do in developing countries when the government does not have a lot of money for education.

The largest challenge according to Dua, a teacher at Salvation Army who taught me about his farm, is storage and spoilage. Many of the crops like tomatoes, oranges, plantains, and corn must be sold fast and cheap. They have no way of storing them, and many go to waste because they cannot be sold. We saw one woman in Cape Coast who was selling about a hundred oranges for 3 cedi (2 USD), just to try and get rid of them. Another challenge Ghana faces is that the weeds grow just as well as the plants. Weeding is very important and takes a lot of work. Being a farmer is a challenging job.

Kwadu- Banana Tree. Bananas are an important fruit in Ghana because they are abundant and tasty. They come in many shapes and sizes, and are often difficult to distinguish from plantains. You can tell if the tree is a banana tree because there is more white on the back side of the leaf.

Monday, September 20, 2010

To Market to Market to Buy... a What?

If you are expecting to hear about a wide variety of exotic fruit that you have never heard of or imagined before you are going to be disappointed. Are they the same? Absolutely not, but it is a subtle, almost tricky the way fruit in Ghana tried to be like everything I already knew about—but not.

Let me walk you through the bargaining process of the market. You either go on Thursday’s to the Wiamoase market, or you hold out and go with Christiana on Tuesdays. Having a native with you makes bargaining a lot easier. You get fair prices on cabs as well as your supplies. Each week we would go to the market with a list of items we needed to find. On most trips Christiana would disappear for about twenty minutes doing who knows what, and during that time we were most likely to explore different fruit options.

First we come to “anka,” the oranges, or what you would think of as an orange. The main difference is that these oranges have green skin. I think I actually said “Oh brave new world” when I first saw one. Just when you thought you had a grip on that, turns out there are two different types of oranges with green skin. There are some with red fruit on the inside, which are called white oranges (yeah, I know), and the orange colored fruit ones are called red oranges. It took me awhile before I learned how to properly eat the Ghanaian oranges. You shave off the outside with a machete, careful not to pierce the inside layers, cut off the top, and then squeeze out the juice. They are too fibrous to eat. If you try to bite into them you will have a half an hours worth of flossing that night and juice dripping down your elbows. I also learned that the locals do not “take,” or eat oranges for breakfast because they believe it gives people stomach ulcers.

Map of Wiamoase, Ghana

There was a point, and I could not tell you the exact moment, but gradually this village of Wiamoase became so familiar that we started referring to it as home. From the open sewers to the potholes to the mannerisms of the neighbors, by the end of my stay I knew them personally. Google maps might not know them, but I do.

It was not always like that though. It was scary to go outside alone and overwhelming to even buy a loaf of bread. About a week into my stay Rachel Morse and I decided to go about a mapping project to met friends and get more settled. We met up with Kye Bafour (Kwasi) and his friend George at the Cocoa House and asked if they would show us the important places to know. They agreed without hesitation and walked us through Wiamoase with a local perspective.

The first map I threw together in the field had about half of the buildings now listed. On it was were the buildings Kwasi and George showed us, but now there are a few more personal additions. My first map was beneficial for a few reasons, but the main one being the gray areas—what was not mapped. When I could see what I did not know, it was then that I knew what areas I needed to explore.

1. My House- This is the compound I stayed in with the Baffour family with Maggie, Chase, Ava, Myra, Shelley, Akua Obruni, and Nate.

Adowa: A Ghanaian Funeral Dance

The honoring of the dead is an important part of all cultures, but it is particularly elaborate among the Ghanaians. With a lot of help from the students at Okomfo Anokye, I was able to learn some of the Adowa, or the funeral dance of Ghana. It is said to be from the Ashanti region, but other regions have adopted it so it is a part of funerals in all parts of Ghana today.

The Adowa is a dance of dignified walking motions and graceful gestures. Mercy, one of the Form 1 students, told me that it is supposed to be imitating the movements of an antelope. She also told me that they perform this dance at Ye Goro Bra, a celebration for young girls when they are going through puberty rites.

What I really liked about this dance was that it involves the entire community. Unlike other ceremonies, the whole community is invited to a funeral. This dance not only provides an outlet of emotion to bereave the death, but it also provides an opportunity to display cultural identity and to show sympathy for the close family and friends. Music making is important traditionally as well as today to show honor to the dead in Ghana.

The Twi Language Guide I Never Had....

You know when they told me that the national language of Ghana was English I think I took that a little too literally. It doesn’t take anyone longer than a day asking for a bathroom to realize that. It is why Danielle has to go by Daniella to not be a boy, why nice actually means pretty, or why I cannot say I like something without wanting it. Even if I was fluent in Twi, translation is more than the conversion of words in a dictionary or sentence structures. There is so much more to it, and here are some of my discoveries during the three months I spent in Ghana.

E=eh sound as in "egg"
)= ow sound as in "odd"

1. Greetings- whether you are a tourist for the day or spending a lifetime in Ghana, greetings are the most important part of social decorum. You must say good morning, "ma kye," good afternoon, "ma ha," and good evening, "ma djo" to everyone you meet, even if you are just buying something at the market. It is considered very rude if you do not greet, especially your elders. To respond, you must say yes mother, or "ya ena," and if a man greets you, say yes father, or "ya eja" in return.

Signs and Symbol in Ghana

After three months of struggling to fit in, I finally left with a better understanding of the written and social symbols in the Ashanti Ghana region. Symbols are very important. Not only do Akan symbols adorn the walls of compounds and the fabrics that they wear, but there are many living cultural symbols as well. This list represents a lot of hard work and a lot of awkward stories prior to cultural competency.

1. Hand Holding- in Ghana this is a sign of friendship. Boys hold hands with boys, and it is not seen as gay or anything like it is here. Couples do not show physical intimacy in public. If you see a boy and a girl holding hands they are probably brother and sister. When someone grabs you hand it means they have taken you as a friend. This was a little hard at first for me to get used to.

2. Handshake, Rubbing Middle Fingers, and Then Snapping- this is the handshake of good friends. It steps away from formalities and shows a degree of closeness. I cannot snap so I could not perfect it, but just trying seemed to suffice. At least it got a few laughs.

3. Handshake With Left Hand- the left hand is the dirty hand in Ghana. Sometimes quite literally in places where they do not use toilet paper. It is very rude to offer a left hand shake or to take anything with your left hand. If someone tries to shake your left hand it means that they are a fetish priest or that they are possessed.

4. Stool- The stool is the symbol of power or the presence of kings and queens. It is found everywhere from on cloth, barbed gates, to the window in my bathroom. To say someone is stooled or has been de-stooled means that they have gained or lost power. The stool can also refer to the golden stool myth associated with the creation of the Ashanti nation.

5. Dreaded Hair- This is a symbol for the fetish priests in the village. If he wears white shells in his hair, it means he is a river priest.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

How to Cook a Ghanaian Meal 101

Let me introduce myself. I am the kind of girl who cannot wait fifteen minutes for the oven to both preheat and cook a frozen pizza. I am the girl who’s most complex meal is Macaroni and Cheese (with shapes), and I am certainly the last person in the world who I thought could ever appreciate the time and effort it takes to pull of a well cooked meal. I finally caved though. I was done with weekly hamburger dreams, and sick of eating nothing but plain rice and bread on the weekend, and so I actually learned to cook.

Starting with the basics, this is what I mean by rice.

Ghanaian Rice

2 liters of rain water
Rice, preferably not local because it has rocks in it.
4 generous handfuls of salt
Oil. A lot of it.

Tomato Stew (Foundation for everything)

It is Emmanuel that I owe for helping me learn this dish. He taught me the proper way to use the pestle and mortar (crossing over the middle rather than using the edges), and instructed me that by mashing up one vegetable at a time the process goes quicker. To mash at home, just use your blender.

1. Cut up a small onion and fry it in some hot oil.
2. Mix up 7 peppers and 1 large onion. Then add it to your pot with some water. Boil it and stir until the water evaporates. You remember those times they used to tell you that oil and water do not go together? Well, that rule does not apply here.
3. Add the tomato paste and about 1 cup full of water,and then let it boil. You wait till it is thick consistency before moving on.
4. Add the corned beef, Maggi (about 1 cube, taste to decide, and yes, it does have MSG), and add the curry powder. Stir it until the corned beef is cooked.
5. Eggs fried on the side make a great protein to add to this dish.

I have made this dish once since I have been home, and it was a hit with my family.

National Musuem, Accra Ghana

Dear friends, family, and whoever ends up reading this,

Museums in Ghana come in various degrees of quality. The Cultural Center in Kumasi, for example, is what our group called a “break from cultural center.” Of all the small museums we visited, the National Museum in Accra was on the better end of the “escape culture” scale. It was also the first when I ever went to.

Your first day in Accra feels like hell. There is no escape, but this delightful building had the allusion of defiance with a fan situated at the entrance. This museum was packed with artifacts and information, and if I had not been suffering from heat exhaustion and in recovery from a 45-hour flight, I might have remembered twelve pages worth of material. However, this is what I found most pertinent.

This was the first opportunity that I had to learn about some of Ghana’s history from a Ghanaian. We had a tour guide named Akousa who was very helpful. The building itself was big with two stories and rooms facing the courtyard with stools, tables, pictures, and palanquins that the late kings had used during his rule over the Ashanti people. The first room Akousa took us to had a picture of Premphe the First with his wife, the Queen Mother, sitting in their royal clothing and headgear. I had heard that Ghana runs on a matriarchal system, but here I was able to learn more about the power and rights and a queen. In this display, the king was sitting on a special golden stool that was given, according to legends, from the heavens. Each new king is given a special stool that symbolizes the rule and reign of the new king. Even the presidential palace today in Accra is in the shape of a stool. The British knew about the Ashanti’s golden stool as well as the myth surrounding it and knew that capturing it would assert the kind of power they wanted over the people. Whoever possessed it was entitled to rule. As a result, a war broke out between the two sides. The Ashanti people refused to give it to the British, and gave them a fake golden stool to make the fighting stop. The British were tricked and went back to England none the wiser.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How to Create Your Own Fabric: Batiking Adinkra Cloth in Ghana

Cloth is the big shopping item in Ghana. It is given as gifts to graduates, new brides, and is the best way to show reciprocity. You do not go to the market to buy clothes; you go to get your own fabric to take to the local tailor. Or, if you are really cool, you can make your own cloth.

Batiking, or stamping fabric known as adinkra cloth, was one of my favorite activities on the mid semester retreat. We learned this traditional craft from a little picturesque shop on the beach at Cape Coast called Emma and Elli’s. These two women were very helpful and friendly, ensuring no one ruined their fabric, and also gave us a group discount! With their help and expertise we were able to design unique fabric patterns of our own.

Here is how it works:

1. Choose a piece of plain cloth the color that you want your design to end up being. The main color of your fabric will change depending on what color you dye it later.

Let the Games Begin!

When you have no TV, a curfew of 6 PM, no electricity, and time to procrastinate daily field notes, you are probably doing what our grandparents used to do—playing games!

Games are an important part of life in Ghana. They help build relationships and are a great way to pass the time together. It was also a great way for us to gain rapport with the locals by having a reason for hanging around. While there are many local games played among children to the elders in Ghana, the two I grew most fond of were Wallie (properly known as Oware) and Dame (pronounced daum-eh).

My Wallie board game from Ghana sits on the end of this desk. It has a giraffe carved in the brown finish, and when you open it has two rows of six holes like a muffin tin, kind of like Mancala if you are familiar with that game. It has a lot of meaning for me, not just because I had to haggle it down like crazy, but also because I can finally beat someone at it.

The first time I played Wallie was with Monica and Kwame. They were very kind and patient, teaching us the rules with as much English as they understood, their friend hanging over our shoulders pointing to the proper move with his machete. Eventually our group got boards of our own and played nightly. Our host family taught us that there are three ways to play

Da Na Se: A Night of Hymns

I do not sing.

I did not want to sing. But I needed a local friend and hope that I could string a single sentence together in Twi, the local language, without slaughtering it. I reluctantly followed my group members over to the other house where Akua and Gina were gathering to teach us hymns. Hymns make up a huge part of Ghanaian music called high life. They also tend to be universal to all of the different Christian denominations in the area. Akua, the landlord of the other house, I thought was a good example of that. Even though she was a Catholic, the ten-minute walk up the dirt hill to the Catholic Church in heals did not seem as sensible as attending the Presbyterian Church right next to her house. As long as you attend church and believe in God, these hymns apply.

Even to me, the kid sitting on the cement bench trying to stun an oncoming spider with my Wal-Mart flashlight, this was a special experience. I could not help but feel that God really does love all of his children, and that it does not matter where we are in the world, he knows us personally. It was a testimony I was trying to learn at the Branch, but it seems these lessons always come quicker with music.

We learned three different hymns, but “Da Na Se” was my favorite. Here are the lyrics and the translation:

A Goodbye Feast in Ghana

Feasts seem to be as cross-cultural as the human need to eat. The people, entrees, and purposes for celebration vary from country to country, or even family to family, but there are two similarities that I have found between an American Thanksgiving and a Ghanaian farewell dinner. Eat more than you thought possible, and do it in the company of people you have grown to love.

A feast, or serving a meal for someone you care about, is a common event in Wiamoase, Ghana. The meals are typically just one entrĂ©e (some kind of a starch with a spicy red sauce or soup), but the celebrations range from having new guests, opening the world cup, celebrating a birth, a wedding, the end of school, a holiday, to saying goodbye a bunch of obruni’s headed back to America.

To me, the most important feast I attended was our groundnut soup farewell dinner with Boakye, the first counselor of the Latter-day Saint branch we attended in Asamong. Some of our group members arrived early, but being guests they were not allowed to help prepare the food. We were allowed to purchase the chicken, the most expensive part of the meal that is never supposed to go wasted, and that was the only way we could contribute.

As soon as the Branch President showed up in his highlighter yellow t-shirt and offered a blessing in broken English (with a striking resemblance to the sacrament meeting prayer), we were able to eat. Two mortar bowls were situated on the outdoor table between the eight of us. To eat, we used our right hands to form bowls with our pinkies, cupping the soup and bringing it to our mouths. I have not yet mastered the etiquette of not dripping soup all over your foot, but with communal eating you are bound to have some causalities. It was the best, or “sweetest” as they would say, groundnut soup and fufu I had the whole summer. Fufu, a dough made out of mashed plantain and cassava, is the signature traditional meal in Ghana. It is also one of the most unique starches as well. You do not chew fufu. You just swallow it.

I thought it was interesting that Boakye’s wife and children did not eat with us at the table, even though they prepared and cleaned it up. That is the traditional way meals are eaten here though. It is just different than what we are used to.

After the meal we sat in a circle and conversed about some of the plants surrounding us. I could not help but admire the mud and stick hut to my right. There was such a strong feeling of home at this place. Children running around, the family together, etc. Thirteen newborn baby ducklings were meandering through our feet, completely unafraid and untouched by a civilized world where we must live in separate spheres. Boakye’s wife brought us out a stick of sugar cane that was cut into pieces for each of us to chew on. That is some kind of desert if you ask me.

The sun was setting into that hour when the air is golden, the shadows are long, and everything is gilded in a yellow halo. It was one of the best feelings I had my entire stay in Ghana, and I was sorry to say goodbye.


(Field Notes 38.16, 86.8-13)

"Learn the Names." Name Significance Among the Ashanti

“Akua, Good morning. Ma kye.”

Ma kye, Ava. Ete sen?”

“By God’s grace, I am fine. I hope you are also doing fine.”

“I am, me da se.”

“Akua, I was wondering if you could lend me some help? It has been some time since I have been in Ghana, and I am noticing that names are very important. I want to get better at them. Can you teach me what I need to know, as a local?”

“Eh! You want to know who be you, eh?"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Akan Symbols

As a photographer, an oil painter, and an avid reader, I have a deep love for symbols. Symbols are especially important in Ghana, and because I think they go a step beyond the typical cultural symbols, I thought I would share some of the Akan, or Adinkra Symbols, of West Africa. Language was not written until relatively recently given oral tradition, and these were the main way that people communicated. They are still important today, especially in the making of cloth.

A few, like Gye Nyame, were so frequently found on buildings, houses, and tourist pamphlets that there was no escaping it. Others were more difficult. I got many of these answers from Emma and Eli’s batiking shop on the shores of Cape Coast. I want to incorporate some of these into future art projects and writings, so here they are.

1 GYE NYAME- most common symbol I saw. “Except for God,” or “I fear nobody except God,” and “the supremacy of God.” God is regarded as the creator of the world and humanity, and therefore must be reverenced and worshiped. This symbol reflects that supremacy, power, and domination of God over all situations and creations. He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Creator of the universe and all mankind. If you see this symbol with a circle around the outside it means NYAME YE OHENE, or “God is King.”

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cape Coast Slave Castle

I have gone to museums before. Some more memorable than others, but this, this was an overwhelming monument—evidence of the atrocities that humanity is capable of slipping into throughout history. What does it feel like to visit a slave castle? A feeling of suffocation, helplessness, and humiliation for mankind. A haunting sensation-like walking among the shadows of ghosts. I have asked Myra to help me with some pictures. In some ways I feel like we had two completely different experiences, each viable in their own right.

Allow me to share what I learned by going on the museum portion of the site, now situated in the British quarters offering a history of slave trade and the Cape Coast Slave Castle in context.

Okomfo Anokye General Church Service

One of my favorite experiences in Ghana was attending the “General church” service for the Okomfo Anokye Secondary School. I know I already mentioned it once, but I wanted to expand on it. I went on three different occasions, but my favorite was my first time with Shelley. They call it “General Church” because everyone comes from every range of faith, which is very typical in Ghana. Everyone attends church, but most are divided on what one. Our host family was a typical example. All five children attended a different church service than their parents. No matter if you are Christian or Muslim (the two dominant religions in the area), God is an important part of public life in Ghana.

The meeting started at 7, so that involved waking up at five to get ready and walking there for all you nine o’clock church haters. By the time I arrived I was sweaty and dusty, and there was no sign of Michael, who swore he would be at the gate to meet me. We awkwardly stood and waited. Having time to observe, I couldn’t help but notice that everyone was dressed in clean, white Sunday best. I was in my newly made orange dress. I felt like I was wearing tie-dye on a white canvas—as if my skin wasn’t discrete enough. At last, Michael showed up, lead us into the dining hall where the meeting was held, and sat us on the privileged bench at the very front of the room with the prefects and the preachers.

At this point I got out my jot book, something I can always hide behind when I get uncomfortable. I started scribbling down the chain of events to the best that I could follow. Opening chants. Prayer. Dancing. More dancing. Prayer. Preaching, and on like that, but Shelley would not have it. She yanked me from my comfort zone and launched me into the real experience of the meeting by inviting me to dance.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pictures of Household Items in a Typical Ghanian Compound


At last I get to have a voice on this blog. Some things we all miss now that we are home, but as for me, I’m a big fan of Internet that will upload my pictures. Constant electricity and all that.

I want to share the images I took of a few household items that can be found in a typical Ghanaian compound. I am a person who believes that a picture can speak for itself, but sometimes there might be a little bit more to say than the caption, especially if you are not familiar with the context.

All of these items I became familiar with not on one particular day, but throughout the entire three months I spent living with the Baffour family in their compound. When I say compound, I am referring to the family complex building. The typical Ghanaian home is build around a cement patio area with all of the rooms and cooking space facing towards this communal outdoor area. That was one of my favorite parts about Ghana, the actual building structure of the home facilitated interaction and family bonding. In most cases, eating and socializing is done in this open-air middle area. There are no corners of the home to hide in, and it is so hot in the rooms that people spend most of their time outside. The pictures I selected represent the items, but also show some background that reveals the physical features, such as the bright colors that are a beautiful feature of Ghanaian buildings.

Some of these items were more difficult to master than others, like the pestle and mortar, but each of the things represented in these pictures have a special relationship to me and to the Ghanaian home. Without blabbering further, let’s get to the pictures.

Large Bucket:

This black basin was our compound’s large bucket. They come in all kinds of bright colors, and the more typical one is a bit more flat, but they serve a number of purposes. Our more important use for a large bucket is to do laundry. You fill the bucket up halfway with water, pour in a detergent like Omo, and then swish it around like a washing machine and scrub out the stains with a bar of soap and the palm of your hand. After leaving the large bucket, the laundry goes into a smaller one for rinsing. Laundry in Ghana takes a long time and is a rather intimate experience chatting with your family, which is something we seem to have lost in modernization. Another use for a bucket of this size was for the hawkers trying to sell various goods at the market by carrying the supplies on their heads. They can also be used for rinsing dishes, mixing ingredients for cooking, and catching the rain when you can use as many buckets as possible.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Preliminary Predictions and Where I'm Going From Here...

Well, I am back. Not all the way, but I need to start somewhere. It is time to reel in my five avatars and speak as a slightly less skitso, multiple personality disorder victim, and be just Rachel—a name that started to collect a little bit of dust.

Here is an overview of what I am hoping to do for the rest of my time on this blog and a prediction of what I think I captured before I dive into my notes. Time to decode, interpret, and assign the meaning to a polished, tweaked experience. Ghana in retrospect.

I think that my project was a great success in ways I never anticipated, and the way I see it, I can look at this through two different frames. First, how did my avatar—the way I chose to look at my day—affect my experience, and second, how did the medium I chose to record the experience alter what I captured? Here are my preliminary predictions.