One of the things that I have found difficult to understand here is the humour. I have always heard before that humour is very culture specific but had not really experienced this so obviously until coming to Ghana. Ghanaians laugh a lot. Very hearty laughter, really the best kind, nothing wrong with that, right? The thing I have found hard is how people can sometimes laugh so hard at an event I would generally find it very inappropriate to laugh about. For example, death is very common in Jirapa but you will often hear loud laughter when a person recounts the story about how so and so died. Or maybe there was an accident. Poverty and tragedy are frequently joked about here in the office. After today I have a better understanding of how a person can laugh at a time like this.
Today and yesterday were not the best days. In fact, they were awful days. I won’t list all of the little mishaps and frustrations in detail. The brief summary goes like this: driver 2 hours late to take us to workshop therefore Sandra 2 hours late for her own workshop; Director very angry at driver but even more angry when Sandra attempts to find her own way to the town she needs to be in; driver very angry with Sandra for getting him in trouble with Director; 18 people show up for the workshop, we only have money to give the 12 who were invited, workshop begins with argument; Sandra sits by and watches as guests are rude to the staff at the guesthouse and treat them very poorly; Sandra spends evening sneaking around the convent to avoid boy who “knew the first minute he saw her that their relationship would last forver;” Sandra insulted (or at least that’s the way it was taken) in her own workshop due to her skin colour and has to leave because she is so hurt; Sandra gets a “loving scolding” from Sister because of a miscommunication with her by others who work in the office. So, yeah, it wasn’t the best.
When I got home I decided I would make some popcorn as a treat to make it all go away. In doing so I may have (okay, I did) tried to do too many things at once and left the pot of oil on the gas stove unattended for a few minutes too long. When I lifted the lid of the pot there was a whoosh of oxygen which resulted in a flaming tower above the pot. It was huuuuuuuge. And then I started to laugh. I laughed and laughed and laughed until I could hardly breathe. And now I understand how Ghanaians can laugh when it seems so inappropriate to do so. You either laugh or you cry.