Cage match: Monsoon versus Ghanaian hospitality

Yesterday it rained! Suddenly and viciously. In the morning it was sunny, during lunch it was sunny, and then at 1:15 DOOMSDAY! Dark clouds appeared behind the library and the sky poured down buckets of water without pausing. Within three minutes, the street was clear- no people, only a few cars. But I had to get to lab. I had missed it the day before, thinking that it was in the Old Chemistry Block as indicated on the course schedule. Apparently a new building was just finished on Tuesday and lab will be held there.

So I continued on to the Biochemistry department, a walk of about seven minutes that became fifteen minutes as I fought against the insane winds blowing the opposite direction. When I was almost to the new building and just walking past the Biochemistry department building, I heard someone shout, “Ey! Where are you going!” So I stopped and ran towards him.

It turned out that the person who waved me down was the professor teaching the lab! Despite my protests that I was soaking wet and would only flood his chair and floor with rainwater, he ushered me into his office. We talked about the class that I missed the day before and then moved on to more interesting topics like George W. Bush, electricity problems in Ghana, and why students today are so lazy! I checked my watch and realized we were ten minutes late to class, but the professor assured me that it was raining too hard and anyways, he was waiting for his assistant to bring him his lunch. Okay. By this time, a huge puddle had formed around my chair. When his lunch finally arrived, the professor first asked if I had eaten yet (I think Ghanaians always ask that when they’re eating and you are not) and then leisurely lunched while chatting some more with me. Finally, the rain slowed down, so we decided to go- but only after the professor chided his assistant for not bringing enough pepper.

We left his office, and I turned to walk to the new building but I was told, “No! We’ll just take my car.” He overrode my reluctance to get the inside of his car soaked too. So I climbed in, along with a handful of lab TAs. Soon the radio was on and the professor yelled “I love this song!” And all of us did too, so we blasted the radio during our two minute ride out of the parking lot, down the street, and into the next parking lot.

When we got to the lab, we found water dripping everywhere. The new building leaks! So the next half hour was spent wandering around the building looking for a dry place for everyone to sit. As we inspected each classroom, I was amazed by the resilience and teamwork of my Ghanaian classmates. They’d walk into a room and immediately begin cleaning it and trying to fix the extension cords or desks damaged by water. It was like it was their job to make sure that class happens. At home, class would have been canceled if any single one of those things happened- the professor arriving 45 minutes late, the building leaking, the equipment damaged, or general confusion persisting. The hardiness and persistence of the students here is so impressive!

So that was an adventure. As I type this, one day later, the sun is shining and the puddles are disappearing, but there’s still a lot of standing water. The era of the mosquito approacheth!

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