I had hardly made it out of the airport when I learned my first Ghanaian word, "obruni." Let me preface by explaining that there isn't one uniform language in Ghana--there are many tribal languages, and they are spoken according to what region you live in. Obruni, however, is a bit of a universal term, and it essentially translates to "white person." On our first day here, Stesha and I walked around our area, exploring the dirt roads and vacant lots and meandering up through the countryside. The area is a residential area so all the roads and lots are filled with people, selling clothes or food or just hanging out. In general, every lot we passed, I was met by a pack of eyes that followed me as I walked past. This was easy enough to ignore (or even expect, since I'm the only white person around), but it's a bit... louder whenever I run into a group of children. Without fail, children always squeal and giggle when I walk by, usually pointing, and nearly always yelling, "Obruni!" Sometimes, when there are a group of children, they'll yell out a chorus of: "Obruni! Obruni! Obruni!"
Monday we began our project by setting up shop in a little office area at the University of Ghana, just a temporary working place while we set up interviews and research appointments. We secured a couple interviews, and had our first two today and yesterday. On our very first interview, we experienced a great example of what Stesha has begun to affectionately term, "Ghanaian time."
Yesterday morning we met with a representative from the Ministry of Women and Children's affairs. The interview was going really well when the representative abruptly asked if she could step out for a moment to speak with her boss about an unrelated matter. She said it would only take a moment. She didn't return for almost 30 minutes, and Stesha and I were about to get up and leave when she returned, and sat down to continue the interview where we left off. It's nothing that we can't work around, but it's a matter of general habit that has taken some getting used to. For example, if someone says they'll pick us up in "30 minutes," that might turn into 2 or 3 hours. It makes setting appointments occasionally difficult, but at least it gives us leeway if we're running late to a meeting.