Spot the Obruni!

This has been quite an eventful week…I rubbed shoulders with some United Nations reps, made an appearance on the news, and this weekend I’ll be leaving Accra for the first time for a weekend at the beach with a big group of new friends!

The other day I attended a conference held by the United Nations Population Fund, which was launching the 2012 State of the World Population Report. This year’s report focused on reproductive rights and the importance of family planning. It was quite interesting to hear about the how Ghana’s population is rising at a pretty alarming rate- right now, the average Ghanaian woman has five children and the state isn’t necessarily building the infrastructure to support this growing population. To combat this rise in population, the United Nations and various national NGOs are now pushing the government to implement family planning as a human right and to increase the availability of contraceptives and safe abortion sites (which was quite surprising to me given the prevalence of religion here).

There’s been a musical interlude at every conference I’ve been to so far in this country. Love it.

As I entered the conference, I was herded to the second row of chairs just behind the table of speakers. Eventually, an elegant older lady sat beside me and introduced herself- turns out she was the African Region Director of the United Nations Population Fund for seven years and the former chairperson of the National Population Council. Just about every single person that arrived made sure to shake her hand and I was beginning to feel quite, well, unimportant (and rightfully so!). I asked her questions about her time living in New York and her years working with the United Nations and if she enjoyed them (she’s now retired), and she said she wishes everyone could have the experience of working with the United Nations (hello renewed life goal). Eventually, a representative from the United Nations Development Fund and the head of the Ghana AIDS Commission also sat in my row. I felt a tad awkward and out of place but it was awesome to meet such accomplished people.

As an added plus, it turns out I was being filmed by a news crew at the time. As I was heading out to dinner with a few friends the other night, one of my Ghanaian friends ran out of the house after us saying, “Come! You’re on T.V.!”. I missed the segment unfortunately but I’m pretty pumped I made it on the news already! Granted, I was probably only visible because I was one of two obrunis at the whole conference (the other being one of the main speakers from the United Nations Population Fund)…but still.

As for this weekend, I’m heading to Kokrobite Beach on Saturday, which is about 45 minutes West of Accra, and on Sunday I’ll be heading a little further West to meet up with a big expat group at a beach resort for a day of yummy food and beachy times. Yay!

I’m absolutely loving Ghana so far. I know it’s only been a month but I finally have a hang of most things (ie. bartering, figuring out what street vendors are actually selling) and I’m constantly excited to wake up and explore this beautiful city/country. There are the odd annoyances, sure, but nothing I can’t handle just yet. I’m falling in love with this place more and more every day and I’m so glad I have another 11 months here.

Stay tuned!

One Response to “Spot the Obruni!”
  1. Noel & Muriel says:

    Kelsey glad to hear from you…the trip sounds fantastic and so glad your really enjoying it…have fun leave those men alone…God Bless …Noel & Muriel

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