Living abroad can be a life changing experience. For me, in many ways, it can take you out of your comfort zone and strengthen your ability to grow.
As I alluded to earlier, I tried to come with as few expectations as possible. However, I was warned that I would continuously be acknowledged as a white person and obviously stick out. I really didn’t pay too much attention to these comments, but I quickly learned upon arrival, that it was true. This is when I began life as an obruni!
I have, unfortunately, spent time in the past watching those awful celebrity shows, which follow certain famous people around trying to snap that perfect picture. When I was younger I used to think that being a rock star would be an ideal job, but I thankfully decided against that career move when I realized the constant being watched wouldn’t be something I’d like. Since being in Ghana, I’ve been experiencing my fair share of celebrity status, in that everywhere I (or we, as in the group of girls I am volunteering with) go, we are playfully chided with calls to us obrunis.
In the first few days, and even weeks, this was pretty exciting—particularly when we’d be chased down by little kids, just looking for a chance to hold our hand, give us a high-five, or even just to get a simple wave. Everywhere we went, whether it be to town to grab lunch or on our way to a project out of our host area, this same scenario took (and continues to take) place; young, old, it didn’t matter.
Now that I’m at the halfway point of my project, there are days that this still very much so makes my day and causes me to smile uncontrollably. But, there are days (especially those very hot days) where I want nothing more than to be anonymous amongst the crowds of people. This, obviously, is impossible despite my subtle tan.
So, how do you deal with it? You politely acknowledge the call. It doesn’t take much effort to look up and either half smile or wave. Besides these moments, where you don’t want this attention are quickly forgotten when you’re being chased down a driveway by 30-odd, smiling pre-schoolers, just happy to be in your presence.Add this article to your reading list