As an obroni, we are often approached and asked all sorts of questions. Of those conversations that I have witnessed, I wanted to share a few of my favorites.
1. One day I was walking to class all by myself and someone approached me and asked me a few questions. Our conversation went a little like this:
Gentleman: Are you American?
Gentleman: I knew it. I could tell by the special color of your skin.
Me: (confused because I could easily be European based on the color of my skin)
Gentleman: I have always wondered why it is so difficult to become friends with Americans. I have friends that are German and Norwegian, but not American.
Me: Well, a lot of times Americans aren’t used to having people we don’t know approach us and ask us for our phone numbers. Its just not something we do in America, we’re a little more reserved in that respect.
Gentleman: Well, why not?
Me: We don’t always think that the friendship is genuine when you immediately ask for our number. A lot of people ask us to give them things [once they have our contact information] and so it makes us not want to give out our numbers to anyone.
Gentleman: Well, it is nice to give alms.
Me: (To myself: And that’s exactly why you don’t have American friends.)
I ignore this response and luckily he brings up something about American politics and President Obama. President Obama is very popular here in Ghana and so I say something that indicates that I like him.
Gentleman: Why wouldn’t you want to vote for your fellow American for president?
Me: (shocked) What do you mean?
Gentleman: Well, President Obama isn’t American.
Me: President Obama was born in America so he is an American.
Gentleman: But his father is African.
Me: But that’s what America is, people come from all over the world to live in America.
At this point, I continue to try to explain that America is a country of immigrants, but then he has reached his class, so we part. I think this conversation just really took me off guard, but that it was too interesting not to share.
2. In our adventure to try to find the Benin and Togo embassies and square away our visas for an upcoming trip, we met a couple of interesting characters.
On our way out to the embassies, one Ghanaian shouted to our guy friend who was accompanying us, “Why do you have three women? That is too many for you!”
Equally entertaining was the conversation between our guy friend and a gentleman with whom we shared a taxi:
Ghanaian: Why do you eat candy? Men don’t eat candy.
Friend: Maybe I don’t want to be a man then. Maybe I’ll just stay a boy.
Ghanaian: If you are a boy, the women (indicating to us who are sitting behind them) will beat you up.
Friend: They already do.
3. One night a girl in my group introduced me to one of her Ghanaian friends who took us to one of the dorm lounges on campus. There we shared a very interesting conversation, but I’ll just give some highlights:
A. When comparing accents, apparently one appears more intellectual if they have a British accent, but they are infinitely more cool if they have an American accent.
B. By sitting with him at this central spot on campus(2 obroni girls), we were making his dream come true. Apparently when he was a kid and would come to the university, he thought that it was the coolest thing for Ghanaian guys to be sitting at this cafe with obroni girls and always wanted to be like them.
4. During one of my study sessions, I was met by one of the Ghanaian gentleman that lives on my floor. Somehow we got into a conversation about dating and values. He had a couple of great one-liners:
Ghanaian: I can’t figure out if you are a good girl or someone who just appears to be good.
We chat and later on it comes out that I haven’t really dated anyone.
Ghanaian: (After a while) Do you repulse guys?
Me: (holding back laughter) Do I repulse you?
Ghanaian: No, I think you are nice.
Me: (Not even sure what to say at this point) Well, thank you. Yeah, I’m sure I repulse guys then.
5. Needing some obroni-ness in our lives we decide to go to the obroni hub located in Osu called Ryan’s Pub. While the night was full of many interesting moments, my favorite had to be when we met up with some interesting characters. I don’t know we got introduced to these guys, but somehow we had this conversation (One guy said the next day, “You mean this really happened? I thought I just dreamed that.”):
Characters: From now on, when we see you in Accra, we will call you Donkey Kong (indicating to our guy friend) and you Crispy Cockroach (indicating to my friend) and you Pregnant Fish (indicating to me).
Us: (My guy friend and I are laughing hysterically, but my other friend speaks) I don’t like my name, Crispy Cockroach. I think I should have a new name.
Characters: Fine, we will call you Ninja Lizard.
Me: (Still laughing) Why Pregnant Fish?
Characters: Don’t worry, its a good thing.