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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

FOOD FOR THOUGHT by Rebecca Ashton



Food for Thought


Adapting to the food in Ghana has been a challenge. From taste and portion sizes, to the lack of cutlery, to say the experience of food in Ghana has been ‘different’ would be an understatement.

Traditional evening meals, or ‘supper’ as it is usually called, can consist of Banku (maize dough or cassava dough), Fufu (pounded cassava or pounded yam), TZ (maize flour or millet) or rice balls (rice rolled into a ball) which are all complimented with either a soup or stew. There are also a range of rices, such as Jollof and Wakye. Oh, and not to forget yam, either boiled or fried! These meals are also eaten for lunch, and can sometimes even be eaten for breakfast too! Luckily, I am not given any of these for breakfast, I usually get oats or an omelette - my favourite meal of the day!


Fufu and light soup with guinea fowl
Banku and okro stew



It is common to eat these meals with your right hand in Ghana (it is rude to eat with your left), particularly with foods such as Banku, Fufu and TZ. Although I have tried to eat this way, I find it really strange. I don’t think I could adapt to the hand-eating just yet!

The portion sizes are also extremely big. In the first couple of weeks, I struggled to eat everything on my plate. For example, eating the full ball of Banku, and stew (above) was extremely difficult! But, after 9 weeks I must admit that I am adapting – I definitely seem to be eating more as I can now finish almost all of what is served to me.









The Fish eye

Something that I have noticed differently in Ghana in comparison to the UK is the variation of what is on your plate. A typical Sunday Roast in the UK would consist of meat, potatoes, various vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and gravy. Whereas, I have noticed that in Ghana you generally have your main source of carbohydrates like Fufu and then possibly a soup. So, personally I find the choice limited.
I have also experienced more than I initially thought I would in terms of food, and one is due to my counterpart, Cecil. Whilst eating fried fish one night, (with the fish eyes included, which I was keen to avoid), he told me that the fish eyes were a delicacy in Ghana. I believed him and therefore went ahead and ate one. I told the other volunteers only to find out they are not a delicacy at all! If you have ever watched ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’ in the UK, I can now say that I have completed my first ‘bushtucker trial’.


Being part of the LIFE team which works in partnership with the Community-Based Rehabilitation Centre (CBR) which aims to help those with disabilities. It has come to my attention that employment in general is difficult but even more so for those with a disability. Therefore, some of those with disabilities cannot financially support themselves and struggle to have the recommended 3 meals a day, which is particularly common if they come from a poor background. This is definitely a cause for concern, as no one should have to struggle to buy food or go hungry, especially if they have no source of income due to having a disability. I therefore feel privileged to be on the LIFE team as we are helping to reduce discrimination against those with disabilities.



We have also previously had our first sensitisation on disability at Fumbisi Senior High School. As we all needed lunch, and to spread our VIPs, my host mum made 25 portions of fried rice, with vegetables and meat which tasted amazing and it definitely gave us loads of energy for our presentations. It is a great way to involved host parents in your project work if they are willing to help out!






Although the food is different in comparison to the UK, I am lucky to have someone in my team who was able to use his own initiative to serve us up some beer-battered onion rings and yam fries, which tastes just like potato fries! It was definitely the closest thing that I have eaten to food in the UK whilst being in Ghana.
















   










Although the food is different and has been challenging at times, it has definitely been an interesting part of my experience in Ghana that I will never forget.


 


           

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