My Interactions at the Fishing Village
My interaction with the children at the fishing village was intense and complex
in terms of emotions and reactions. When we approached the fishing market in Cape
Coast I was extremely eager to shop and interact with the local children.
The sight of the beach was beautiful and in the distance the harbor
was full of the brightest boats I had ever seen. In briefings, we were told to stay
in groups of three or more and were advised not give money to anyone, particularly
the children. However, it seemed that as soon as our feet touched the ground those
rules went out of the window. I was one of the last people to get off the bus and
all the groups had already gone. Since I was not in a group I did not want to get
back on the bus and miss the adventure, but I was smart enough to not venture out
on my own too far.
When the first child approached me, I gave her one of the cards that I intended
to give away instead of money and a sea of
children gathered around me each wanting their own. Soon the cards
were gone and they began to ask for money. Quickly, I said no but still continued
to talk to them. One by one they told me that they were selling their various products
to put themselves through school. At first, I did not believe it but as it turned
out, most schools in Ghana were on break.
Regardless of if it was true or not the strings of my heart started to pull. No
child, whether African, American, Asian or any other nationality should have to
work during their precious childhood. Slowly, I began to ask them about their products
and an idea hit me. I had no use for any of the things that they were selling (pineapples,
fruit, popsicles and ice cream) but maybe if I bought items for them, they would
enjoy it and make a buck or two at the same time. So, the auction began! I started
bargaining and asking how much for all of their products. The highest price I had
to pay was 2 cedis (2 dollars). The kids started laughing and grabbing for the products.
I had bought almost every child’s product except for one of the little boys who
was selling bread. Bread to me is no fun. It is not a Popsicle that is super fun
to eat. He was persistent yet polite in asking me to buy his bread. Every time I
bought someones else’s product he looked at me with a puppy dog face and asked “could
you please now buy my bread?” Finally, I gave in and said yes. Now, I had a crowd
of about 15 kids surrounded me.
Although there were a number of kids around, it did not bother me. Unexpectedly,
a man came to the group of kids around me and started to instigate the children
to raise their prices. Since I was aware of the situation, I slowly tried to move
the crowd of kids closer to the bus to counteract anything the man was planning
to do, but I soon became frustrated. The man was intensifying the situation to a
level with which I did not feel comfortable.
Before I could finish my transaction with one of the children in the crowd, Anthony,
the photographer, pulled me away from the children and into the bus without any
regard for my feelings. His intervention caused me to feel disoriented and out of
control. I was confused by his actions and my peer’s reactions to my situation.
Most of peers felt like I was endangered when in fact I felt fine throughout the
chaos. Through the conversations I had on the bus I noticed most of peers were attaching
their own notions of cultural baggage to my situation. To them it seemed like I
did not have control over the situation, but to me I was know that I knew what was
I hated this feeling because no one told me anything. The entire time I was trying
to explain to my peers that I promised the little boy money for his bread and I
wanted to pay for it. I began to argue with my peers and insisted to them that I
was aware of the situation, but no one believed me and I was further ignored after
My most intense interaction in Ghana was not necessarily the interaction with the
children at the fishing market but instead the reactions and perceptions of my peers
to my relationships with the locals in the fishing market.
I could understand their reaction. However, I was hurt and upset because it seemed
like no one could understand my reactions to the fishing village. I truly loved
it, I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with the kids. I was happy to learn about
a small part about their daily life, even if it was a hard to deal with. It was
still a very rewarding experience.
On that day, I decided to buy some products from some kids and I don’t regret it.
As we were leaving the fishing village I happened to look outside my window and
I saw one of the girls that I had encountered that day enjoying a moments rest and
eating one of the oranges that I had bought for her. Will her situation in life
get any better because I sent a few cedis and minutes in the fishing village? I
doubt it. The next day or even later that same day she will have to go back to the
realities of life, but for a few minutes she seemed content to just eat her orange
and that was good enough for me.