I love the first two weeks in a new country. The new impressions, the new smells, the scenery, the noises and how it all connects into a picture of what to expect the coming semester in Cape Coast, Ghana.
Everywhere in town there are speakers that thump the latest from Ghana’s top charts. Children as well as adults are dancing to the smooth drum’s rhythms and catchy lyrics. On every street there are stands selling fresh or dried fish, vegetables, fruits, cellphones, fabrics, sunglasses, watches and all kinds of other things you can imagine. And other people walk around with big coolers or boxes containing food and drinks that one could get to a very good price.
A group of other students and I live on the rural outskirts of Elmina, a roughly 35 minutes drive from the University of Cape Coast. So, the logistics have been a priority the last couple of weeks. Everything from getting back and forth from school, locate the markets where you can buy the best fruits and vegetables, the immigration office, the best ATM’s that gives you the best value for withdrawal of money and the list just continues. It is a good way to put it that it has been a lot of breakfast in the car to avoid being late to school. Most things here run on something commonly spoken about as “African time”. This expression means 20 minutes to 2 hours later than the time agreed upon.
However, by living so far from any nearby town gives us the full experience of the surrounding nature of Ghana first hand. Every day eagles control the air while smaller birds hide and screams
warning signs to each other. In the street’s goats, dogs, chicken and hens are relaxing in the shadows from the burning monopoly on the noise, while bats fly around patrolling a star scattered sky that is like taken out of a Animal Planet movie. It is a bit of a drive, to get to Cape Coast. At first, I thought of it as an inconvenience, but now I appreciate more and more the amazing quietness of Ghanaian night.
The University of Cape Coast campus should be a blog post for itself, but it is something I would not have excepted. This is purely based on my ignorance and bias that I have read about Ghana beforehand, but it really is quite incredible. The campus is similar to a town of its own, with complicated infrastructure between the faculties, libraries and other facilities on the school ground. Campus has its own food marked, taxi stand, bank, gas station, restaurant, apartments and shops. All in all, it is beyond all expectations.
Kulturstudier have also arranged a study center at Brenu beach. Now this place is something else. Sand-white beaches, large palm trees and blue waves that smooths onto the shore. The classroom has no walls and the ground is sand. It is a constant breeze blowing through the classroom which helps one cool down in the extreme heat that some days bring along. Whether you want to work on your tan or find a quite place to study Brenu has it.
This has been two amazing weeks with tons of new impressions and knowledge. Both from the school, and my own observations. A good start, to something I am positive to will be an incredible semester.