Posted by: mhirdyounger | March 23, 2012

Impressions of Sounds

I am sitting in my room at the Kwadaso Agricultural College in Kumasi listening to the sound of rain pounding on the roof. I thought I was coming into the dry season, but it seems somehow (a common word used here) over. Rain on the roof is such a comforting and cozy sound anywhere in the world. A perfect background for sitting quietly and reflecting.

In the past week, when I think of what has been impressed upon me the most, sounds are the first thing that come to mind…somehow the familiar sounds of West Africa pull at my heartstrings a little with my memories of Burkina.  Animals, music, nature, people, cars…

First thing’s first. Sounds start early…ooh do they ever. I woke up in the dark this morning to the call to prayer from a nearby mosque.   Trying to go back to sleep was pretty hard as pretty soon the roosters started, then the neighbours filling buckets of water, women sweeping out the compound, kids walking to school…have I mentioned that it was not even light out yet? I ended up getting up around 6 and doing an hour of hand-washing my laundry (yes, that’s right Dad, I did get up at 6, and yes, that’s right Mom, I did wash all my laundry by hand myself!).

Throughout the day there are so many more sounds to get used to…everyone greeting me and calling out to me as I walk past, sheep baying as they graze past the classroom door (I’m used to sheep baying back home…just not while I’m sitting in a class), wind whistling through the banana trees in the backyard, the croaking of lizards. On my way to the tailor’s (that’s right, I already have a new dress made! See picture below), I heard a gospel choir singing and children all dictating in unison as I walked past a school.  This afternoon there was also the clucks of the couple of chickens on the front porch that were waiting to go into our rare rare soup for dinner (check out the picture below).

As much as arriving in a new place can be difficult and the transition is always hard for me, I love the openness and vulnerability you feel in everything being new and unsure – you just soak everything in. It’s the best time for hearing these new sounds – before I know it they will all become so familiar that I’ll stop noticing them.

My very favorite sounds so far have been the deafening sound of cheering as I was welcomed by a classful of young agriculturalists, the jokes of the extension agents doing an upgrade of their education in an animal breeding class, the laughter of a group of ladies in the market when I try my best to say Twi words and, best of all, the sound of people now calling me by my Ghanaian name…


Rebecca (who I am transitioning with right now to take over her placement in the agricultural colleges) and Lois (our housemate) are plucking a chicken for our rare rare soup dinner!

My first Ghanaian dress! This will be perfect for the opening ceremonies of the Agricultural College Games next week in Pong Tamale.



  1. Great read, can’t wait to ‘hear’ more!

  2. I love your new dress, your new adventure and your new blog. It certainly brought back many memories of the sights and smells of the markets, the ocean smells of the Takoradi coast and the rare foods and apteshi that I tasted. I”m looking forward to following your posts and adding dimensions to your story and the stories of your co-adventurers in Ghana. All the best from me, sister adjua/Tracey

  3. Reading this makes me feel like I am already there! Thanks for sharing this!

    • Thanks Alanna! I hope you are enjoying your second week here!

  4. I’m just catching up on blogs… And I love this post Mir! Amazing way to capture a taste of Ghana! 🙂

    • Thanks Erino! It was a lot of fun writing…trying to capture all those initial impressions before I stop even noticing them.

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