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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Reaffirmation


I had my first real class where I learned something and took notes today! HOORAY for brain stimulation!  I now see just how very different the things we learn in the states are from what students are taught here.  Social Work 306 – Personality Development and Behavior Disorders showed distinctly that Americans are taught to believe different things than Ghanaians are at this university.  The word “failure” was thrown around a lot when talking about those with personality disorders like OCD, anti-social, and borderline personality disorder.  I, of course, sat and listened to the discussion and took notes, but I found myself shaking my head during the majority of the class.  I wasn’t alone.  A few other Obrunni students I talked to after the class felt the same way.  One striking illustration of this happened when we were talking about single parenting.  Apparently, like homelessness, it doesn’t exist here.  I think the only way (at least our professor) would consider a family to be in a single-parent situation is if the other parent was dead…even then, she might not.  Her rationale behind this was that “…at the end of the day, even if the other parent is lost in space but still sending money, then it isn’t a single parent situation because the two are collaborating and making joint decisions.”  I still don’t understand how that works; I strongly believe that’s not true at all. 

Another part of the lecture that really made me a little irritated was when she was defining personality disorders.

“…Personality disorders don’t disrupt emotional, intellectual, or perceptual functioning.  However, those with personality disorders suffer a life that isn’t positive, productive, or fulfilling.  These disorders are associated with failures to reach potential.”

Gahhhh…there are so many things wrong with that statement, and the real problem is in the second part.  I guess the positive side of this lecture is that it sparked my attention and passion.

On the other hand, Social Work 304 – Social Welfare and Social Policy seems like a very appealing class that I might learn a lot in.  It has a bit of a basis in Ghana, which already in the first lecture, we learned about a lot of the corruption that happens in this country.  Because of it, around $350 million USD is lost each year at the borders of Ghana.  This kind of money is huge for developing countries to be losing out on because of corruption.  More about this later.

Anyway……..

The four of us girls decided to venture out on our own again last night.  We ended up in Osu at a Lebanese restaurant called Venus…after our cab driver had no idea where we were attempting to go and asking for directions about 15 times, we finally made it there.  Met by more inefficiency inside, we settled for the food we got, and then wandered around the streets before heading back home.

I’m feeling a tad apprehensive about going to class on Friday to see Grace.  Grace is a really soft-spoken Christian girl that I met last week in my geography class.  Let’s hope she never reads this.  She had the best of intentions, but the situation was a little awkward and strange to me.  We made eye contact and she told me to come and sit by her in lecture.  I did, and we went through all the formalities including asking if I am a Christian (which is a formality in Ghana).  When I replied, “Yes.” She said, “Please, I want you to come to my church with me on Sunday.”  I was flattered by her offer until I found out what time church was.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Jesus, but I love Him even more when I can sleep in and still partake in Sunday festivities.  6:30 a.m. is a little early even by American standards.  She told me she’d call me Saturday evening to remind me, and she did.  I didn’t quite pick up the phone….whoops.  While still in class, she handed me a pamphlet titled “Walking in Faith” and told me to read it until the lecturer came in.  I did as told while trying not to laugh out loud about how strange this whole situation was.  My favorite thing Grace said all of class was when our professor asked us what we should do if someone’s phone rang during class.  Grace yelled out, “Forgive them!”

My cab driver yesterday turned around halfway through my ride and smiled at me.  We hadn’t really been speaking before that, so I was a little creeped out by it but I smiled back and laughed a little.  Then, almost back to my hostel, he turned around again and proclaimed his love for me.  After laughing quite hard, he said, “I will give you my number and the next time you go out, please call me.”  So if anyone is in need of a friendly black man to hang out with, I’ll give you Ebenezer’s phone number. 

I don’t think I’ll ever be too lonely here.

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