As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, March 23

Gapers Block

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Ghana, there and back, I made it. Before leaving, I mostly told people that I was going to Africa (not Ghana specifically), not just because not everyone knows where Ghana is, but because it was still abstract to me. Not yet a place of its own. That has, of course, changed.

I'd like to talk all about my time there, about the beautiful, open-hearted, intelligent people I met; the lush rainy-season jungle landscape in the part of the country I visited; the intense markets of Kumasi, a city of over one million inhabitants; the malnourished, HIV-positive children, as well as the rest of the children, the way they chanted "Brunni! Brunni!" (Awbrunni is a somewhat affectionate word for white person in Asante Twi) as I walked down the street.

But those things and so many others will have to wait for additional processing. For now, I've got a documentary to make, 3,000+ pictures to sort through and edit, a deadline for work to meet, and a life to re-acclimate to. Culture shock is a very real thing. It's difficult to reconcile being in a place where a one-room house with a cement floor and a tin roof, no electricity and no running water is considered nice house, with coming back to a ridiculously luxurious home, a consumptive and decadent American lifestyle. My head is still kind of spinning. And my belly.

Also, I lost two people who were very dear to me while I was gone. Missed the passing of and funerals for a great aunt and a former roommate. Tough stuff to deal with on top of everything else.

Regardless of all those things, I'm glad I went on such a difficult but wonderful trip. Travel is always worth it to me, to experience another way of life, another environment. I was simultaneously inspired and dumbfounded by the people and the things I encountered; it's amazing that I find words for any of it right now.

I spent two-and-a-half weeks surrounded by Christians and emerged the same heathen that I've always been. The most emotionally difficult thing was a total lack of personal time. For that, I woke an hour earlier than most, every day at 5:30 or 5:45, to sit on the front porch drinking coffee and writing in my journal, watching the day begin again under the huge Ghanaian sky.








About the Author(s)

Jesica Davis is back home at

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