Thursday, August 25, 2005

Accra and the Handsnapshake

Accra doesn't seem so great this second time around. It just seems like a big city with not a lot of character. I don't feel like it's defined the way Winneba (the fishing city), or Cape Coast (the fishing and slave castle city), or even Kumasi (the cosmopolitan city) are. It's just this big, exhaust filled, city. It's funny, because I didn't feel that way when we were here 7-8 weeks ago. After seeing the other cities of Southern Ghana, Accra is somewhat of a letdown.

So we were walking tonight, and there was a guy dancing in the street. Really dancing. His whole body was moving, and everyone was watching him. He wasn't crazy (he looked like a clean cut guy, in a shirt and tie, on his way home from work). He was dancing to a song that I think I've heard at least once a day on this trip (some days, it's 3-4 times). I really want to find the CD this song is on, because this song, to me, is Ghana in the summer of 2005. Not because the lyrics are meaningful (they probably have about as much meaning as I Want it That Way by the Backstreet Boys - if anyone can explain to me what that song is about, I'd love to know), but it's just everywhere. It's Ghana in the summer of 2005.

I remember being in Ghana in 1997. There was this handshake that I got for the first time, in Ghana, and I thought it was odd. At the very end of the handshake, as your palms are sliding apart, you squeeze each other's middle finger with your thumb, and the handshake ends with a snap of your (and their) fingers.

Until this trip, I thought people were shaking hands that way to be cool. That's not the case (or maybe everyone in Ghana is trying to be cool). Today, I met a professor at The University of Ghana, Legon, and he did the shake. It struck me as odd that a distinguished professor would do a "cool hipster" kind of handshake. It's interesting that something I find odd is so commonplace in all of Ghana. That's what's so great about culture.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You didn't say the name of the "Ghana in summer 2005" song. Is it a Ghanaian pop song or an American or European import? Maybe some of your cousins could help you find the CD. (--Dad)

5:42 PM, August 27, 2005  

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