Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa

Hee-Haw

After reading yesterday’s post, you can probably guess that I haven’t made very many Ghanaian friends here.  I chat with my coworkers and host-family, but that’s it.

Is this a failure on my part?  I could be more outgoing and tolerant of the cultural differences, but it’s especially difficult in Tamale because women don’t go out at night.

I don’t only mean to bars and clubs, but just out.  They’re expected to stay home.  One of my host-sisters often doesn’t come home at night or arrives after 9pm and her father yells about it to the rest of the family.

After work, I always try to be home by 6pm before it gets dark.  After that, my choices are to hang out with my host-family or hang out with other expats.  Not only is it dangerous to travel in the dark, but women live with their families so they have responsibilities in the evening besides hosting their new friends.

This sounds horrible, but I don’t want to be too friendly with Ghanaian men.  The culture is so different here: if I “hang out” with a man, it’s basically seen as “courting.”

Other EWBers in different cities have been more successful at making friends.  Southern Ghana is much more liberal than northern Ghana.

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