Saturday, July 29, 2017

Ghana 2017 - Day 11. A slightly more productive day

I am still having problems connecting to the internet, which to me has become an addiction. Therefore I packed my things and headed for the International House to use their computers. I had a bunch of things I wanted to check or research, so I did a lot of file swapping between computers (but of course I forgot a couple of things that I discovered only afterwards). While I was there I had the company of the four Ghanaian students that work for USAC and serve as buddies for the foreign students. They are really attentive so I managed to get a cup of coffee and all sorts of free advice on how to best access the internet. But they are young adults with contrasting personalities and easily get into arguments, which they conduct in a rapid-fire mixture of Tui and English. I think they are bored, so I have decided that my present to them is going to be some sort of trivia game that they can use to vent their competitive spirits.

Around 11 am I decided that I had the responsibility of being a tourist, so I headed for the trotro stop and headed for downtown. I was intent on visiting the National Museum of Ghana, which for some reason had not been included in our intro tour. I navigated unerringly through trotro and streets to the site of the museum, but was disappointed when the man in front informed me that the museum was closed for renovation (from the look of it they have been in “renovation” for years). Nearby I found the Museum of Science and Technology, which had precious little about science or technology, but was currently occupied by a modern art exhibit. That is OK, I can do modern art. Alas, it was a bit disappointing. Many of the exhibits seemed to be random collections of junk collected at the Lavender Hills dump. Some of the paintings were amazingly good, however, so the visit was not a complete disappointment.

I am beginning to crack the mysteries of Ghanaian food. First of all, the paste that I have had served with my thick or light soup is called fufu (before I had thought that was the name for what is otherwise called light soup; no wonder that cooks looked at me with the same puzzled look that we would give to someone who asked for tortillas for lunch). Fufu is done out of casaba, yams, plantains or any other type of tuber that can be pounded into meal, and then is reconstituted as either a soft or dense dough. What kind of fufu you get has something to do with the innate sense of universal balance of the cook. A dense fufu is the best accompaniment for a light soup, whereas a soft fufu should accompany a heavier soup. Speaking of soup, Ghanaians love soup, and a meal would not be complete if it does not include soup (normally after the main dish). My Mom and my daughter would be perfect Ghanaians! As I mentioned before, soup can be light, like a broth, or heavy like a stew, but in all cases should include some meat chosen from the basic four: goat, beef, chicken, or fish. It should also have onion and pepper. An easy way to turn a light soup into a heavy soup is to add okra to the former, but you can also do it by adding cut yams or tomatoes to the pot.

I came back home around 3 pm and got busy working on my paper, and only stopped when I saw night had fallen. Tomorrow will be a better day because I have class and at least will have a chance to talk with my students.

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