One of the weird/cool sayings here is, “You are invited.” When you walk by someone who is eating or drinking they will say this to you and it means, “Do you want some?” The reason I find it a bit “weird” is that I can’t imagine being at home in a restaurant, having a stranger walk by my table and invite them to join me for a drink or have some of their food. But really that is very cool too. There is no sense that this food is “mine” but that it is something to be shared. Whatever there is to be eaten is ours, no hoarding for later. And it is true that they will literally buy you a beer (or four…..they are 1L and cost a dollar) if you accept their offer. That being said, I have yet to sit down and dig my hand into somebody’s bowl of banku and stew.
I am also learning to “invite” people to my food, partly because they almost always say no, and partly because before when I wasn’t saying it sometimes people would ask, “Am I invited?” meaning why are you so rude not to share with me. Occasionally someone will respond with a yes and give me peanut butter a try but, strangely enough, they typically can’t stand my food! Letitia, one of the girls in the kitchen, did ask for my last banana one day though and I must admit it was hard to give up, being a Wednesday and all, with no sign of the market for another 4 days.
Tonight, though, all of this changed. I brought my tuna sandwich and mini-bucket of pineapple into the dining hall and was fairly quickly joined by a couple of boys/men. They were too full when I invited them to my tuna sandwich but there was much excitement when I opened the bucket. All three were literally on their feet to see what might be inside. Of course I invited them. The boy/man across from me then picked up my fork, yes MY fork, and started eating. It was one of those surreal experiences where I really didn’t know what to do, especially when he started, or at least tried to, feed me! He was also feeding his buddy, so this was nothing unusual to them, but I just didn’t know what to do. So I became “Ghanaian” washing my hand with my water satchet and eating with my hands as they chowed down using my fork. Bizarre, but not bad.