During our last week in Ghana at TIU, I prepared myself for complete immersion in a foreign culture. Being surrounded by completely alien sounds, people, and happenings both excited and frightened me. But as I got caught up in thinking about how strange life in Bedaabour would be, I forgot that the strangest thing of all would be me.
It's easy to forget, especially when your mind is preoccupied with processing so many thoughts and experiences, who the real foreigner is. For every Shared Cultural Experience – pounding fufu, playing dame (a local board game similar to checkers), or going to the cocoa farm – not only am I experiencing something new, but the “sharer” does as well. By virtue of my being a foreigner, everything I do in the community is equally foreign to Bedaabour.
It is a nice reminder of what I have to share. Even though I have come to learn, I have come to teach as well, and sharing is a two-way process. As inquisitive (and clueless) I am of Bedaabour, the opposite is true. Along with my fellow scholars, we have been asked if Americans eat everything out of tins, if we have rain, if Obama will be re-elected, and what race relations are like.
The breadth and depth of Bedaabour's curiosity is amazing. I appreciate the opportunity to respond to another's curiosity as much as I appreciate the opportunity to fuel my own.
(Nathan Bu with the ThinkImpact Ghana Team, second from bottom right)