Saturday, October 3, 2009


So for a religion major who’s dating a Muslim, I know surprisingly little about Islam. This past weekend was Eid. In Ghana they tend to call it Sallah. I was told that this is the "local name" for Eid but I don't think that's right, because isn't Sallah the five prayers a day thing or something? Anyway, my impression of Sallah is that it’s like a snow day. You know, you have a huge project due the next day, but it’s been snowing, and everyone’s calling each other, do we have school tomorrow or not? You’re excited because if you don’t have school, you have an extra day to do your assignment. But if you do have school tomorrow, it’ll suck because you have stay up late and finish it. And there are rumors everywhere, “yes we have school,” “no I heard teacher so and so say we’ll have off.”

So Saturday night everyone was calling each other, “has anyone seen the moon yet?” If someone sees the moon, fasting is over! If no one sees the moon, then it sucks, because you have to fast for another day. So everyone’s calling each other, and rumors are going around like crazy, yes the moon’s been sighted, no it hasn’t been. And unlike a school district and a snow day, there’s no superintendent to make a definitive decision on Sallah. So what ended up happening is like half the mosques declared Sallah on Sunday, and the others declared Sallah on Monday. Also, I am mentioning the snow day analogy because when I mention it here, no one knows what I’m talking about because they’ve never had a snow day.

Alright so ending fasting was exciting, but otherwise Sallah in Accra is kind of boring, sort of like Easter at Penn. In Rahman’s hometown, Tamale, which is predominantly Muslim, Sallah is a huge deal. But here in Accra it’s nothing. Me and Rahman wore pretty new clothes to mosque in the morning, and afterwards we ended up joining Rahman’s cousin and a friend for breakfast at this chain pizza restaurant that was the only place open on a Sunday. And then we just went home. No Easter eggs or peeps or plastic grass or ham dinners with family. It was good pizza though.

So Sunday or Monday was Sallah depending on which mosque you listened to. And then Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana’s first prez/big independence movement guy/huge pan-Africanist/Penn alum)’s 100th birthday was also on Monday, and so on TV for the past month they’ve been showing all these British documentaries on Ghana from the 1960s. Old documentaries are fun. And Nkrumah has a funny accent.

Let’s see what else. I’m still on the listservs for a bunch of Penn organizations, and promises of free food are really making me hungry.

And multicultural relationships are funny too. Right now I feel like I have both my parents’ short ends of the stick if that makes sense. Similar to my dad, I’m a foreigner in a weird country where I look different, talk different, and don’t really fit in anywhere. But similar to my mom, I’m white/Western/American, and therefore my culture matters less than everyone else’s, because you can’t have white pride. It’s giving me perspective or something.

Also, I tried getting my iron repaired yesterday (it won’t heat anymore) but the guys at the repair shop closed before I came back for it, even though I came back in an hour just like they told me to.