Week #3: Goldmine, Markets and African Futbol!

What a busy day to start off the week! As a class, we traveled to the Komfo Anokye Museum, Manyhia Palace and the Kejetia Market. The first two places, we took a guided tour which mostly explains the history of the royalty in Kumasi (no pictures allowed). Honestly, it was quite boring...(Sorry!). The Kejetia Market, well I'd have to say that it was an addrenaline rush, for sure! As I might have mentioned in a previous post, this is a place where all different markets of products come together in a small area and BAM! There's a ton of people and ton of stuff -- everywhere! During this market visit, we "toured" at the busiest time of day. I'm not sure if this was their intention to bring our class at this time or if it was just coincidence. 

Kejetia Market from outside the mob

As we were snaking through, in a line in, the crowded-ness of the market my friend Alex was pick-pocketed! Another classmate, Crystal, sees the man and hollers "Hey! Give that back to her!!" (yells a little more) and the man actually gives it back. We were so happy the man gave it back, but some of us just had a very confused thought (like huh?!). That was a crazy moment, but later was told that if he hadn't given Alex's phone back, he would have been killed instantly from others in the market. Pretty crazy, eh? I'm very relieved that the man made somewhat of the right choice, in this instance. I'm not sure how my life would be if I had seen a man be killed, especially over a replaceable item like the cell phone.

Moving on...
This day was filled with craziness, adventure, frustration, amazement, exhaustion, etc...
We traveled to the Obuasi Goldmine. Obuasi was about 2.5 hours away from Kumasi, so we had a small lecture then departed early in order to make it to the goldmine with spare time. We arrived in Obuasi that was surrounded by gorgeous mountain scenery and went straight to one of the buildings/offices related with the goldmine. Here, we met up with another small college group from Missouri. We all were given big, heavy, hard-hats, big, heavy, black boots, blue trench coat, and a belt for oxygen device and battery for head light. (In all, this weighed about 50 lbs.) 
Our professor: Dacosta...total Goldmine attire with light battery behind him.

We loaded in our tro-tro and headed to the mine where we proceed to have a safety orientation... or not. 
This was an assuring sign to see before going down

We waited for quite sometime to have a safety orientation and then was told that we were running late by a man who guided our tour. (Everyone just laughed and rolled their eyes...) Anyways, we all entered a small elevator shaft and down we went into the core of the earth (~12000km underground). 

We toured aroundthe 41th floor, wasn't too bad... until we got lost. Yes, lost. Our tour guide who actually works in the mine lead us continually to a dead end. As time went by during the lost tour, the amount of oxygen available decreased quite a bit and were breathing in toxins that weren't the best for us, equaling to light-headedness and exhaustion. It was also VERY hot, so by the time we finally came back to the top, we had lost about 2 pounds (at least) of water weight! This was a cool adventure, but I think all of us could agree we could have done without getting lost underground.

On this day, we traveled to two different NGO's, one local and national, to hear how they operate and provide their services. The first visit was one called CARE. Sadly to say, they were very unorganized and unprepared for our visit. They flat out told us that they remembered talking to our professor about our visit and was going to write it down, but they didn't. They gave us a tour around their website, but it was disappointing. So, you can check out CARE on the link. :) Our next stop was a fairly new, local NGO by the name of DREAM. This organization was created and run by students at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Their main objective is to pretty much spread awareness about how important it is to keep our environment clean and safe. There is really no such thing as a recycle bin or public waste system, so they burn the trash. Almost everyone agreed to be ambassadors for them and to give input on ideas in the future for their organization.

We had class until about noon, then a few of us went to the internet cafe and it was important that I made it home by 2 p.m. where I would meet my roommate and host brother to go visit a junior high school where another host brother teaches. This school was just near our house that had two to three small buildings used for classrooms. 

Computer lab... Two of them are broken

My host brother, Osei and his class

Students are taught English in Ghana at an early age, much like the U.S., but continue to speak their native language (in this case, Twi). By the time they reach junior high school, they are highly encouraged/forced to speak english. Painted on all the surrounding walls of the school are the words 'SPEAK' and 'ENGLISH' to help them remember. They are also taught French as a mandatory elective since that is what Togolese (Togo), their neighboring country, speaks. There is not a law pertaining to children going to school. Some children are only able to attend school through junior high, then have to begin working to help provide for their family. 

Dennis, Mandy & Osei-- Two host brothers and roommate

Friday-Black Stars match!!!
Exciting day! We had our final class along with a written exam and a brief tutorial as to how the tro-tro stations work (Yes, we told our professor that this information would have been useful the first day of class instead of the last). Anyways, from then on, we used the public transportation system that was very cheap (~25 cents-U.S.) compared to the taxi. After class, we were free from 11 a.m. to about 4 p.m. before met for the Black Stars futbol match, so my friend Alex and I ran some errands then went to a restaurant called It's My Kitchen. They serve "American" entrees. We ordered an American cheese burger... I'll let you judge for yourself...

Yeah, lots of mayo, lots of ketchup, big bun, tomatoes and lettuce... and can hardly see the beef. Hamburgers/cheese burgers are not an African food unless, of course you are in a westernized area, but you will most likely be eating sausage "hamburgers" instead of beef. The restaurant was directly across the street from the Black Stars stadium, so we ate out on the patio and watched people gather outside in their "Game day" attire!

After our bite to eat, we went and bought a few souvenirs and headed in with our class and were on the 9th row up...perfect!

The stadium was completely packed and this was the first time the Ghana Black Stars had played since the last year's World Cup. Very exciting! Of course, right as the game was about to begin, it poured, completely drenched anything and everything we had, but that, in no way stopped the fun or the game! Black Stars pulled a 'W' (3-2) and fans were very please :)

Go Black Stars!


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