Friday, June 24, 2011

Community in Accra

Part of the reason I love Wegbe so much is that I feel like I have a community there. Living in Accra has been so different from living in the village for many reasons but one of the biggest is that I do not have an established community here. For the past few days, I have been walking to the internet café every afternoon. The shop owners and others along the way have seen me walking by for a number of days now and yesterday, they finally all set out to find out who I actually was, where I was from, and why I walk past them every day. Although I had greeted the shop owners before, the conversation was never more than a quick ‘hello’ or a ‘hi, how are you?’ However, yesterday, that all changed. I had already met the bank security guards a few days ago so I stopped and had a short conversation with them before moving on. The first shop owner that stopped me asked me some questions, inquired as to where I was going, etc. and then I was back on my way. The next person to stop me was a lottery kiosk owner. He wanted my phone number and wasn’t impressed when I refused to give it to him. I met a stationary store owner from whom I bought paper and her young son, Bernard. I sat down and chatted with a man who had traveled to the US, London, Singapore, and a bunch of other places while snacking on some ice cream. I met a phone credit seller who told me that one day he is going to return to the US with me. These conversations, although short and mostly to the point are essential to me feeling comfortable and safe in this neighborhood. I now look forward to my walk to and from the internet café more than I did before as I am no longer a stranger to those that I pass. Hopefully the relationships will continue to grow and I will continue to meet more people in this neighborhood, making it truly feel like a home.

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