There’s turmoil in the house. My roommates, Hannah, Philippa and Sarah, scream they’ve been hoodwinked by the director of the program, Prince. The scoundrel’s been keeping the money we’ve paid him for himself instead of giving it to Cephas, the head of our host family and the orphanage. This has made the girls feel guilty about staying at the orphanage and eating the food intended for the children. I’ve tried to quell their fury by reminding them that regardless of the program’s politics, their intentions are what really matter, and the children who Hannah and Philippa teach love them. Later today though, we’re having a conference with Prince to convince him to hand over the money to Cephas. Besides this emotional speed-bump (early tears of concern have been shed by some), we had an awesome time out last night. We went to the Irish house in Osu, a town in Accra that’s sort of an after-hours red light district in Ghana. At the House, I mimicked the locals on the dance floor, swiveling my hips and contorting my body to the traditional Ghanaian beats played by the house band, which consisted of saxophonists, trumpeteers, tribal drummers, keyboardists, and multiple singers. A Guinness in one hand and a whiskey soda in the other, it was great fun, despite the sex-trade seeking Euro tourists crowding the bar and dance floor with awkard shuffles that imitated dance moves. I wore my uber-ethnic black and white pearl necklace and my sleeveless polk-a-dot dress top, but the Ghanaian men I danced with still pegged me as a foreigner. I beamed when one said I danced just like a native.
My first day at work started yesterday. I have been re-assigned to the Spectator, a weekly weekend publication associated with New Times Corporation, for the first two weeks of my stay. After this tenure, I will transfer to the Times, which is also owned by New Times Co. Apparently, before my arrival, someone from the program told the Times’ editor that I solely covered sports stories. This bold lie nearly cost me the enire internship. I had to make a deal with the editor to even get on the staff: write two investigative stories for the Spectator, then if they measure up, I’ll be moved to the Times’ daily roster. My first story will cover the Lebanese refugees living in squalor in Circle, another town in Accra that ‘s a broad, bustling hotspot for merchants of every stripe. The Lebanese Muslim-garbed women with their begging children in tow are rumored to be the product of old-fashioned laziness. “They think because of the color of their skin they don’t have to work, so their fathers send their children out to beg,” my editor speculated. I’ll get to the bottom of it. Arnaud, a French volunteer at the orphanage, has agreed to be my interpreter on this beat. This could be the story that earns me my stripes.
And now, pictures from the the Makola Shopping Mall in Accra. This place puts downtown LA to shame:
I’m no mall rat though, so let’s move on…