Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Day at the Pool

Ghana is hot! It is a stark contrast from the snowy pictures we are receiving from our loved ones back home. Currently it is 43 degrees, so we decided to cool off. Past groups have gone to the Volta River Authority pool, so we did too! Our Ghanaian colleagues, Clifford and Francis, took all 18 of us to the pool for a quick dip. Carolyn even got to ride Clifford's motorcycle on the way there! Upon arrival, we quickly noticed that we weren't the only ones with this idea as the pool was full. There was a large and a small pool. There was lots of energy surrounding the pool as there was upbeat music and people dancing.

Jade, Jessica, & Emma at the pool
 Why aren't our pools like this? Even in Canada, a group of 18 women will turn heads and as we were walking into the entrance it was very clear that this was no different. We noticed right away that the pool was predominantly young Ghanaian men in their twenties. We later learned that the women that were there, were girlfriends/wives of the men present and that single women do not usually go there. Clifford and Francis were hesitant of letting us loose into the larger pool as
it was so full, so we decided to go into the
smaller pool. Instantly the kids were intrigued and excited that we were there and they began to show off by splashing around.

Amanda Mc & Andrea with some little kiddos
We all made good connections with the kids by showing them how to swim and by playing games. We were then quickly approached by curious young  men who asked us where we were from, if we liked Tamale, if we were being treated well, where we were going, and what we are doing in Ghana. Their interest was genuine. We were serenaded by a reggae rapper who then offered us salsa and drum lessons at his local studio. As time went on, more and more men came into our pool to ask us questions. A protective Ghanaian mother with her children also came up to us. She appeared upset and asked us to leave multiple times saying "this pool is for kids". Francis spoke to this mom and tried
to explain why we were in the kid pool verses the adult pool, however, the mum continued to voice her concern. As we were gathering our group together, she then said "Africans only". We were caught off guard at first and shocked as we have never experienced this at home. With the recent visit to the Elmina castle the day before, we were trying to understand the mothers perspective and reasoning for her reaction. Being mindful of the colonization history in this country, did she feel as though we were a threat and invading their space? Or, is this just our assumption? These questions allowed us to reflect upon the white privilege that we hold and take for granted. How often does this happen to others at home without our awareness? Have we ever done this unknowingly?

Clifford & Carolyn on a motorbike...no helmet for
Clifford...bad Clifford! 
Clifford and Francis felt badly, they would never want us to feel like we weren't welcomed. We then left the pool with Megan riding off on Clifford's motorcycle! Us being the cultural minority is just the beginning of what we are going to be learning while completing this practicum here in Ghana.

Posted by: Emma Miller, Alishia Huston, Jade Geddes, and Jessica Sherbinin


  1. Well written ladies!!..Its unfortunate the one lady was racist but at least the kids welcomed all off you. I am glad you got a chance to cool off in the pool

  2. Hi Alishia and friends. Great work. Thanks for the update. All the best in the coming weeks!